I have a cat and a dog. And I love them both. Yet if I had to make a four-legged Sophie’s choice-like decision, I’d pick the cat. I know. It’s not fair. Our dog Simon works so hard to win my love. He lets me know when strangers are near. He wags his tail when I come close. He’s happy and chipper and kind. He’s a pleaser. And yet for the following 6 ridiculous reasons, if I had to choose between the two, I’d pick my cat Rocky…
His body – Rocky’s soft and graceful and walks on his tiptoes. He has a fluffy tail I love to grab. His brown and gray tabby fur feels like sable. When he wants something, he undulates against my leg to get my attention. I love that. I sometimes wonder if snakes were covered in fluffiness instead of scales (and didn’t eat live rodents) would we like them better? It’s something to ponder.
His face — I see a lot in Rocky’s face even though the jury’s out on his intelligence (never ask my husband). I love his almond-shaped eyes, velvety nose, pointy ears, and bristly whiskers. Maybe cat faces are like Rorschach tests. Some people see beauty. Some see indifference. Some people who don’t like cats see large rats, but I love Rocky’s face. It gets me every time.
He’s low-maintenance– Despite his skittish, nervous nature, Rocky’s pretty easy to take care of. He doesn’t need a lot of attention and activity like Simon. In fact, Rocky sleeps 23 ½ hours a day. He doesn’t eat a lot and always uses a litter box (except when he has a UTI and pees all over the house). Yes, he’s a dream pet… most of the time.
He loves solitude, which makes him mysterious — I can feel my husband rolling his eyes. When Rocky wants to disappear it’s hard to find him. There are many times during the day I’ll call his name and although I know he’s not outside (he hasn’t been outdoors in 7 years) I have no idea where he is. While the dog would come bounding from any corner of the universe, the cat never, ever, comes when summoned unless there’s something in it for him. He plays hard to get, which I find intriguing.
He’s independent– I always get the feeling Rocky can take us or leave us. We’ll go on a trip and come back and I don’t think he noticed we were gone. In fact, I’m not even sure he remembers who we are. I have to win back Rocky’s love each and every time, which as I write this makes me sound a little masochistic. (I can feel the dog people nodding).
He climbs on my lap and purrs and kneads — Rocky’s heavy in his senior years and his kneading feels like a clumsy pelvic exam, but when he settles and looks into my face and allows me to scratch his ears, all is right with the world. I’m the only lap Rocky sits on, which makes me feel loved and special. Of course all this ends if I happen to touch him the wrong way and then his ears go back and he bites me.
Yes, cats are the Scarlett O’Hara’s of the animal world. They’re selfish and grasping but that’s kind of what makes them charming and fascinating. I always get the feeling with Rocky I’m only as good as my last feeding or tummy rub. But I think the challenge of keeping a cat’s love is what keeps people coming back.
Maybe it’s about temperament. Extroverts with their outgoing natures identify more with dogs. Neurotic, inward people (like me) identify with the solitary nature of cats. Don’t get me wrong. I love Simon’s sweetness and warmth and kindness. I love living with a dog.
But for reasons that make no sense, I need a cat.
How about you? Which animal do you prefer? Comments are always welcome and sharing is wonderful. Thank you.