Okay, friends, I know writing about the differences between cats and dogs is a little overdone. But I can’t bring myself to write about the things that actually weigh on my mind just yet. I feel afraid about the state of our country, and I am disgusted anytime I read the news. I become physically nauseated when i realize that a friend or family member is still wholeheartedly supporting The Orange One. But maybe you feel just as hopeless as I do, and maybe you’re considering the adoption of a dog or cat to bring you comfort in these terrifying times. If you are a rational human being who isn’t clinging stubbornly to the crumbling facade of an uneducated vote, then congratulations! I will assume you’ve thought this whole pet thing through, and I can definitely help you decide which type of fur is best for you to cry into. Because I have some of both living in my house. And I spend a lot of time studying both dogs and cats, and taking a lot of photos of them, and attributing them with witty conversational asides that their tiny brains really aren’t capable of creating.
They (They = scientist types) say that dogs have evolved to be our companions over the course of thousands of years, but that keeping house cats is a relatively new phenomenon. Cats just haven’t changed much since they were giant prowly beasts in the wilderness. They’re just… smaller prowly beasts now. They look and act exactly like tiny lions, which is part of what makes them so interesting and insane. Like how we saw a stray cat carrying a squirrel across the street in its mouth the other day. No joke. And cats are a mystery so much of the time. These alleged “cat experts” don’t even know exactly why cats purr. I’m serious. They aren’t sure. (Side note, I feel like if I was a “cat expert” I would make it a point to figure this one out. It’s kind of a big one. I’d be like, there’s a major gap in Cat Knowledge and I’m on it, because you dorks are clearly more interested in Candy Crush than doing your homework.)
Dogs on the other hand are so basic. They don’t even need more than a couple sentences. They certainly require lots of time and attention as you learn to care for them, and some have unique issues that need extra care, but ultimately, they adore their human companions and subsist on giving and receiving love and attention more than anything else. They have evolved to be our best friends. Whereas cats are bizarre exhibits of raw wild animal instinct living in your house. They probably think they’re actually panthers trapped in hellish nightmare in which they are miniature, impotent versions of themselves.
With that, to help you decide which type of pet is best for you, I’d like to list some common household scenarios and explain how a cat might respond, and then how a dog might respond.
When I come home after an absence of several hours
From her position on the arm of the couch, Cat wakes from her nap, opening one eye to appraise me. She is slightly irritated because she does not remember inviting me into her home, but quickly falls back into a deep sleep. She will consider how to punish me at a later time, when she finally gets the opposable thumbs she deserves.
Dog behaves as though this is the best moment of her entire life, and is a wagging, licking, wiggling ball of visible pleasure. She can’t remember ever feeling this many emotions. She wonders how she survived without me for that… ten minutes? Ten days? She is not sure how long I’ve been gone, but it doesn’t matter because her life is complete and she loves me so much and we will surely be together forever.
At every single mealtime
Cat rushes over and examines the freshly-poured kibble, glancing at me skeptically, worried I might touch her. Decides to eat seven pieces. Naps for four hours. Eats nine more pieces and suddenly glimpses a flash of white bowl peeking out from under the remaining 94 kibbles. Panics. Spends the next two hours trying to alert me as to the inevitability of her starvation by bolting over to stand next to her dish anytime I am nearby. Frustrated, she eventually eats four more kibbles to stave off malnutrition, cautiously avoiding any broken pieces, and vows to dispose of me as soon as she figures out how to do so. She woefully reviews the conditions of her will, just in case she doesn’t survive this ordeal. Idiot Humans get nothing. Cat decides that she should really procure some sort of a grateful heir, at her earliest convenience. Updated items in will: 94 kibbles. Box of sand for pooping. Dog. Pile of clean laundry for napping.
Dog looks surprised and pleased that I have blessed her with many Foods again, looks at me adoringly, and immediately eats every bite. Is delighted with the state of her life and is already looking forward to the next Food Time.
When there is a small piece of paper on the floor
Cat, who is on her way to monitor the level of kibble in her dwindling food supply once more, catches sight of a small piece of paper in her peripheral vision. Startled, she freezes mid-stride, eyeing the Potentially Suspicious Item as her pupils dilate until she looks like a Japanese anime cat. She is now obligated to investigate, and drops into a stalking position two inches from the floor, crawling slowly over to the Definitely Suspicious Item. After several tense seconds of virtually imperceptible movement, Cat comes close enough to stretch out one paw and gingerly taptaptap at the Highly Suspicious Item. She thinks maybe it moves a little and flinches dramatically, before tapping at it once more. She watches it carefully. When it does not respond, Cat sniffs it at close range to make sure she has killed it.
Dog sniffs the small piece of paper quickly to make sure it is not a Food, hoping in particular for a Cheese, which would be fabulous, then is indifferent when she realizes it smells exactly like a small piece of paper.
Hopefully this has helped to shed some light on the inherent differences between cats and dogs, for those of you who were uninformed. Please consider adopting one, so I can see fewer sad and lonely animals in my Facebook news feed. A dog is typically a sweet, reliable simpleton. She will tend to make you feel better when you’re sad, whereas a cat might hiss at you for no reason and run away. A cat is good if you want a real emotional challenge, and a dog will gladly give you back what you bring to the relationship. Personally, I recommend living with both beasts. You get so much from each. And let’s be honest. Since you’re not talking to half your family anymore, you have plenty of time to care for a dog AND a cat.