How to Know if You’re a Dog Person or a Cat Person

How to Know if You’re a Dog Person or a Cat Person

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.

My dog Lana, who did not pick this costume but is obviously overjoyed that it makes me happy

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.

“I dislike this moment just as I dislike most moments that involve you, Human. Even though my white whiskers and eyelashes are so adorbs”

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.

Cat wishing she had human thumbs

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.

Yes, it’s the exact same expression from the pirate photo. Bless her heart

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.

Ten Steps to Success: How to Suck at Cat Integration

Ten Steps to Success: How to Suck at Cat Integration

Once upon a time, I moved in with my boyfriend, who is now lucky enough to call himself my husband. I’ve given it a lot of thought, and to protect his privacy, I will call him Ryan Gosling, from this point forward.*

On moving day, I brought with me many useful household contributions, including an impressive amount of knitting gear, several cardigan/skirt combinations, and my two cats. Ryan Gosling had a cat, as well. Author’s note: I do not care about protecting the privacy of these cats; it’s just that their names are irrelevant. And for the record, I wouldn’t care about their privacy even if they asked because they’re all jerks.

Some of the really nice stuff I brought into Ryan Gosling’s house

In the days prior to my moving in with Matt Ryan Gosling, I researched things like “cat integration” and “blending pet families” and “how to reduce cat stress” on the internet. I felt like a real hero to the pet community. How many people would take the time to so carefully consider the feelings of their cats, in this situation? Well, I’ve learned a lot since that fateful day when I unpacked my cardigans and embraced my future. Here are some tips to help you suck at cat integration as much as I did.

  1. Exude confidence in your ability to understand cats, and announce to your boyfriend that he must not meddle in your carefully-researched Cat Integration Plan. Say, “Seriously, you’ll mess it up. Let me handle it” as often as possible.
  2. Live in his house basically all the time for months before you officially move in, to ensure that all cats will be extremely territorial and genuinely confused as to why the other party is in the house.
  3. Go ahead and think things are going well with the gradual integration process, and skip ahead to face-to-face time.
  4. After the cats are finished screaming and spraying rage pee as they bolt through every room of the house, separate them again. Use a very heavy object like a cinderblock to prop the divider door open just a crack, to allow the cats to “hang out,” because everyone knows cats can’t possibly fit through a 1-inch gap.
  5. Be sure to carry out this cinderblock plan at night. This way, once enemy lines have been crossed via the 1-inch gap (I mean, how…?), all three cats will wake you by racing across your unsuspecting sleeping body and gash open your legs while spraying more pee (they will have generated a super fresh batch in the span of a few hours). Pro-tip: Cleaning up is more effective and more fun if your boyfriend has taken Ambien.

    GTFO my house
  6. Embrace a new tactic. Carefully block the open doorway between the cats with several stacked baby gates to facilitate sniffing and encourage visual acclimation, because obviously cats can’t climb baby gates in ten seconds like freaking spider monkeys.
  7. As your boyfriend laughs at your attempt at the baby gate tactic, revisit Step 1. Then prop the several useless baby gates in a corner and eventually throw them away after months of tripping over them. Buy several new baby gates for a house guest who brings her dachshund along. Get annoyed when Amazon suggests that you Subscribe & Save to baby gates.
  8. Spend an entire Saturday constructing a transparent plexiglass door, complete with holes for sniffing, and use industrial-strength Velcro to attach it to the door frame because surely this will work better than the baby gate approach.
  9. Throw away plexiglass door when the cats learn how to open it.
  10. Eventually decide it can’t get much worse than it has been, and choose to “see how they do on their own.” Purchase Nature’s Miracle to clean your leather couch when they spray rage pee all over it. Agree with Amazon’s suggestion to Subscribe & Save to Nature’s Miracle.
  11. BONUS STEP: Wait a couple of years and repeat Step 1.

*If the real Ryan Gosling is reading this…. Ryan, please give me a call. I’d really like you to teach me how to tap dance. And by that I mean “tap dance.”