If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The real truth about cats and dogs

Reading this post, I was struck by how polarised people are by the 'cats and dogs - which is best?' debate.

"I was reminded yet again that anyone who loves dogs and hates cats needs psychiatric help or self esteem classes."


I ought to declare my hand here and say that I love dogs, always have and always will. I never met a dog I didn't like. I had a dog throughout my childhood, which performed much the same service to me (guide, philosopher and friend) that Juliette's cat did for her. When the little mutt got run over when I was 16, I was heartbroken. Circumstances meant that I didn't have a pet of any kind (unless you count a couple of psychotic rabbits when the kids were small) until I moved in with Anna 19 years ago. She had a Springer bitch and two cats, both kittens at the time I moved in. The cats and I had a bit of a stand-off, a kind of armed neutrality, for a long time. I didn't like them much, but I didn't detest them either. I expect they felt the same. The Springer, on the other hand, was delightful.

However, I did get fond of the cats in a weird way, and when the time came for them to be put down (the last one when Anna was in hospital for the heart surgery, thanks cat) I was pretty upset. We got another cat just recently (a long story for another post) and this one is great fun. She's a total nutjob, and screams around the house at top speed just for fun. She's also a good mouser. Although the previous cats managed to catch the mice and keep them out of the house, she has only managed the first part so far. We get about one 'present' a day, and as Anna hates mice like most people hate having burning bamboo splints shoved under their fingernails, it usually falls to me to find, capture and dispose of the little bugger. ('Dispose', to me, means put in the garden as far away as possible. I only kill things I am prepared to eat, or which mean me harm, and mice don't fit well into either category.) So cats and I are getting along much better these days.

But on the dog/cat question, I am still firmly in the dog camp. Dogs, as a rule, are useful, obedient, and love you unconditionally. Cats tend to be remote, selfish and cannot be trained.

Dogs have owners; cats have staff.

There are people who think dog lovers are therefore muppets with low self-esteem, who need a dumb animal to feel wanted and needed. I tend to take the view that, if you are going to spend your hard-earned on feeding an animal, it might as well be one that will do neat stuff and can give you a fight on the living-room carpet when you're bored. These same people say they 'admire' cats for their aloofness and independence. When you start 'admiring' an animal for how low and unimportant it makes you feel, I think it's you that has the self-esteem 'ishoos'.

Yes, dogs are blokey - not too clever, eat anything, easily satisfied, fart a lot. And cats are girly - obsessively clean, self-centred, picky and unreliable. Dogs make you feel good. Cats make you feel uncertain. And that's why this bloke is unashamedly doggy.


  1. Well, it's certainly interesting to read the other point of view on the dog/cat debate!!

    Although I've got nothing against people who prefer dogs, I hasten to add. I just despise people who only like dogs - and who think of cats as little furry demons with the personality of an estate agent :-)

    But I so disagree that cats' aloofness makes one feel low and unimportant - I think they're lovely to have around, because they're so low-maintenance and so un-needy!!

    It's like having a cool, reasonably amiable flatmate who's great company when you're bored - but happy minding their own business the rest of the time :-)

    Unlike your average dog, which is more like sharing your house with Uncle Tom on speed :-)

    But that's just me - and hey, I guess some dogs are cute too. I do like the little fluffy golden-brown ones that look like baby rugs with legs, but please don't tell anyone :-)

    J x

  2. Hey, someone commented! Nice to see you, Juliette, and welcome to my blog. We're going to have to disagree - the only dogs I can't stand are the ones that are 'cute'. Give me a big bozo of a dog, every time. Perhaps it's because I like to feel I'm in like company. But you are right about cats - low-maintenance, independent, clean and self-contained. Just what every guy is looking for in a woman. Which leads neatly back to your original post.

  3. LOL, the sort of dogs I like are the exact sort of dogs that genuine dog lovers hate with a violent passion!!!

    The sort of dogs that really fall into the category of 'honorary cat' - and wouldn't roll in mud if their cute little Burberry dog coat depended on it :-)

    I like the little chihuahuas that live in expensive handbags - and those long-haired shih-tsus are just too cute for words. The tiny ones that look like they've been blow-dried by Charles Worthington (and possibly have).

    Okay, okay, I'll get off here now before the pitchforks and the flaming torches come out :-)

    J x

  4. Jem (see post above) had a great trick with my sister-in-law's immaculate white blow-dried Westie. They would go off into the field and the Westie would come back covered in green cow-dung, while Jem was clean as a whistle. I can just see her: Gwan, dare ya! I'll roll in it if you will! And then suddenly remembering an appointment and walking off, whistling.

    No pitchforks and flaming torches on this blog. It would be a dull old world if we all thought the same. And cute dogs are still dogs, after all. I love 'em all, really.


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