Cat People vs. Dog People

cute catcute dog

I was thinking the other day about how the world seems to be divided into cat people and dog people! I am basically a cat person myself, but relatives and friends of mine have dogs and i get along really well with the dogs too, when I am with them…..I grew up surrounded by pets at my various relatives houses, almost exclusively dogs, so I guess that is where I got used to dogs….

But then when my parents got 2 cats, lovely Persian long hair cats, i immediately fell in love with cats, I was hooked on cats, and have been a cat person ever since for my whole adult life….I have owned at least a half dozen cats at various points in my life, but never once have I owned a dog….

Part of this is economically driven, since my whole adult life has been lived in various apartments where it is much easier to maintain a cat than a dog…In fact, in most apartments in San Francisco dogs are actually banned outright, so dogs were never really an option for me anyway, but i still prefer the company of cats…

The cats, unlike the dogs, (except for the small yappy dogs like Chihuahuas and Maltese teacup dogs, or tiny lap dogs in general) have the innate advantage of being able to live indoors quite easily, so that house cats are in fact quite common, and I would venture to say indoor cats are predominately the majority…

Although for the record let it be noted that I have also had cats that loved to be outdoor cats and roam the urban environment freely, foraging for food and exploring their surroundings every single day, and then returning to the warmth, security and guaranteed food of the house for the night….

I suppose that is where that old saying, “Curiosity killed the cat” came from, because cats DO love to explore, and even if they are kept exclusively indoors you can be sure that they will explore every nook and cranny of the apartment and find their own private places where they are impossible to find!

I have found this out the hard way, and after searching exhaustively for hours I have given up, accused myself of negligence for letting the cat somehow escape and after I have sunk into the depths of depression and despair, the cat will suddenly magically appear as if nothing had happened!

It is hard to believe that a cat can literally disappear from sight and be impossible to find, even in a one bedroom apartment, but I can verify this truth from experience, after many fruitless searches that bore no fruit….or cat in this analogy!..

I also suppose, truth be told, that if I had ever managed to buy a house I may have gotten a dog as well, because being basically bigger animals, dogs need the open space, the back yards etc much more than cats do, and a house with it’s adjoining property can more easily provide that additional living and roaming space….

So now it comes down to the owners of these seemingly diametrically opposed pets, and I have been told by many dog owners that what they love most about dogs is the open, unabashed loyalty and devotion of dogs over the admittedly sometimes typically aloof cat personality…

The dogs are always extremely demonstrative, ultra glad to see their owners when they come home, they leap up into their owners legs and bark in excitement, they are obviously delighted and overjoyed to see their masters again, and it is more than just knowing they will be fed…

The dogs genuinely ENJOY being with their owners, and demonstrate it in the most obvious fashion….The dogs seem to really, really love the company of their owners, even just hanging out with them, sitting next to them, loving every single stroke when they get petted…

They revel indulging in roughhouse play sessions, and totally get into the routine of their daily walks, fetching tennis balls or sticks and racing around with sheer joy, glee and obvious, open happiness outdoors with their owners…The dog owners thus get a lot of emotional payback from this open display of love, loyalty and devotion from their dogs….

But cat owners, like myself, seem to get the same emotional return on their investments, because while cats can be and are often private, aloof and apparently indifferent most of the time, they too love their owners….They just express their love in a different way…

I have had several cats who just loved to sit on my lap for hours, who really enjoyed it when I came home, and cats who hang out with me while I am watching tv, reading or maybe working on my computer. I have had several cats who follow me around from room to room just to be with me, basking in my attention even while they take their frequent naps…

The cats are just more understated in their show of affection, but when a cat is purring when you pet him he is SO happy there can be no denial of his loyalty and affection….Cats love to be fed, petted until they purr, and then love to snuggle, especially at night when you go to bed…

Maybe it is for the warmth, but my cats always sleep with me at night, and I have to say that being much smaller creatures this is much more comfortable than having a dog try and sleep in your bed, especially if you share a bed with your significant other….

But the psychological and emotional division between cat people and dog people goes much deeper than mere living accommodations, I think….I have found out for instance that most cat people more readily tolerate dogs as well, like myself…BUT that most dog people really do not like cats at all!

I find this rather strange, because there are actually households where the dogs and cats themselves live together quite amicably, especially if they are brought up together…I know this runs contrary to the stereotype of the dogs always chasing cats, but it is true…

dogs and catsarticle-cat-dog-coexisting.ashx

I think the bottom line though is that dog owners, like their pets, are just more sociable in general…Because they have to take their dogs on walks all the time, the dog owners revel in the social contact and bonds they forge with other dog owners walking their dogs, often meeting the same people at the same general time in the same general area day after day…

This is inevitable, the dog owners ALWAYS stop and talk or at least nod and exchange information about each others pets with the other dog owners while their dogs check each other out…

Since cats are basically indoor creatures, and thus there is no compelling need to walk them outside every day, I personally think that cat owners tend to be more aloof and less sociable in general themselves anyway…. So, just like the dogs and their owners, the cats personality matches and mirrors their own owners personalities in a mutually satisfying relationship….

Plus cats are less needy for the overt affection that dogs crave so badly, their constant begging for attention. Oh no, cats are much more independent than that, just like their owners, and less in need of social approval or recognition, so again, both parties are satisfied….

And to me, that is part of their charm….For me, the innate level of independence of the cat will always outweigh the overt dependency needs of the dog, although as I said in the beginning, i can appreciate both dogs and cats for their separate qualities…

But in both cases, the owners and the pets fulfill some basic bond of togetherness, love and sharing that is mutually satisfying, and when all is said and done, if you are a dog lover or a cat lover, isn’t that why we humans need our pets in the first place?

Woof woof, meow!

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