Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Animal People

Am I, could I be, (gasp) a "cat person?"
I can't believe I'm even writing this post because I really hate stereotypes of "if you like X, then you must not like Y."  In this case, the stereotype being you're either a "cat person" or a "dog person." 

(And for the record, what about "bird people," "fish people," "ferret people" etc.?  Whatever.)

So, fact: Ben the Cat (sweet, sweet BenCat, RIP) was my first really cool pet.  I never had a dog or cat growing up.  We had fish and two hamsters. 

Ben was my little guy.  He was a cool cat.  He did things like wait for me at the door when I got home, follow me around the house, snuggle with me on the couch (he slept with me for awhile, until I realized I wasn't sleeping that well).  But he was never obnoxious.  He'd follow me around the house, but it wasn't like he was running between my legs, trying to get my attention.  He'd follow me into the kitchen, for example, and then he'd just lay down behind me and watch what was going on.  Then when I left the kitchen, he'd leave too.  Also, he could handle distance.  So, if I was laying on the couch & didn't want him laying with me, he'd just go sit on the other couch, no big deal, no hurt feelings.  When guests came over, he was interested in them, ie, he never went to hide in another room.

The way he acted led a lot of people to say, "wow, he's a lot like a dog."

But I'm not sure this is 100% correct.  Because, I'm sorry to say, Ben was a lot cooler than a lot of dogs I know.

Fact: I like dogs.  My dad & stepmom have two (well, one now, RIP Sadie girl).  My cousin Dianne has always had golden retrievers that I've loved - like, can't unattach myself from them when we're visiting her.  When I was growing up, we used to dogsit a Bishon named Rambo that I loved to walk & hang out with.  I like dogs.

But also, sometimes dogs are annoying.  They jump on you, they jump on your guests, they get so! excited! when people are around.  Their tails knock stuff over sometimes.  They follow you around the house, but not in a cool, let's hang out sort of way.  They slobber.  Sometimes they pee when they get overexcited.

(It's funny for me to imagine animal language if Ben had ever been around one of those crazy, hyper, barking/peeing dogs.  I think he would've rolled his eyes and said, "get a grip, man.")

So maybe I'm not necessarily a "dog person" or "cat person" exclusively, maybe I just like the coolest version of each animal.  But one thing about cats is that since I've had one as a pet, I feel like I know how to handle them.  Like, I know how they like to be petted (& how they don't), where to scratch them, how to coo at them.  With dogs, I have a general idea, but it doesn't feel as personal as it does when I encounter a random cat.

I think cats get a bad rep, though.  Because there are some Powder cough who aren't as cool and social as others.  But dogs?  They don't ever get a bad rep unless they're mean.  Everyone, it seems, loves dogs.  Which is great, but do people other than me not see how annoying they can be sometimes?  It's annoying if you can't control your dog.  And it's annoying how every single dog owner thinks their own dog is the cutest/coolest/best dog in the World - such that even if he's jumping on top of a stranger slobbering on them, it's ok because he's the cutest/coolest/best dog in the World.

And I know, some cats really suck.  And some cats are vindictive - like, if the owner pisses them off, the cat is going to get back at him (hello peeing in weird places, scratching upholstery, tearing up stuff).  But a lot aren't.  Yet, good cats continually get classified with the bad ones.

My aunt Natel had this long series of poodles (all named "Napolean," fun fact) who were awful.  They were the meanest, least cool animals you could possibly imagine.  And there were 4-5 of them in a row - all really mean.  But that didn't taint my view of dogs in general.  Hardly.  So it bothers me when people say "I don't like cats, I like dogs" because they've met one or two bad cats.  (And for the record, it's not an all-or-nothing thing.  If you like dogs better, it doesn't mean you don't like cats.)

Cats are suuuuuuper easy pets to have, as well.  They make great companions, but don't need to be let out or walked multiple times a day.  They can also stay by themselves at the house if you go away for a vacation.  They wash themselves.

Sadly, though, I'll probably not ever have another cat.  My mom has one of those really, really bad allergies that makes her throat close when she's around them.  I'd like to get a dog at some point, though.  But preferably one on the chill side of dogs.  And preferably one who will get intense obedience training so I don't become one of those obnoxious owners who lets him jump around crazily.

Anyway - what about you guys?  Do you prefer one animal to another?


b|rad said...

I hate cats. I often wonder if I weren't so allergic to them if I'd like them more. It's not really their fault but because I cannot seem to be in the same room with their dander without flaring up, I cannot stand them.

I'm a dog person. For life.

Tippy said...

Although I am a "dog person", I completely agree with how annoying dogs and dog owners can be. My dog for instance is very annoying to other dogs - growling, squealing, yelping, etc. It is EXTREMELY embarrassing for me. And awkward with a capital A.

So I'm hoping for a calm dog next time. ;) Because clearly I had no impact on her behavior/development.