Dogs or cats? And what does your choice mean?

Dogs or cats? And what does your choice mean?

Are you a dog person or a cat person?  This question seems to divide animal lovers. A friend has asked a question recently, after I shared a photo of my neighbourhood cat, “But don’t you like dogs?”. I started thinking  – what is it that signals people have to choose one side over the other?

Is it the natural tendency of the animals themselves, with dogs chasing cats when they see one? And cats being indignant at any attempt to do so? And all owners, due to the sense of loyalty (or ownership – we are responsible for those we tamed), taking the side of their pets?

Perhaps this explains why I actually like both, dogs and cats (I do have a softer spot for dogs though). I grew up in a house where a dog and a cat always (almost) peacefully coexisted, eating from each other’s bowls and having their own place in our lives. I love my lion dog, scottish collie (lassi) for his bigness, unbounded joy and eyes that could almost speak. But I loved my cat too, the never-fully-grown Siamese-like blue-eyed beauty, that would be so poised and relaxed, but then would scratch at my door until I let her in and ruffle her fur when while she purred on my knees.

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So I had the best of both, a big dog to play with and a cat to hold. I didn’t have to choose. Most people do though. I feel that there are two different sides of us that either cats or dogs appeal to, and why we sometimes prefer one or the other.

Dogs are the definition of joy and devotion. They accept you as you are, and love you unconditionally. Whether you are good, or bad, sad or happy, your dog are always there for you, ready to rescue you or to asking to play with you. And they don’t ask for much. Throw a ball for them, and they couldn’t be happier chasing it. When you come home, you are you dog’s favourite person in the world – they are so glad to see you, doesn’t matter if it’s been an hour that you were gone, or a year.

Cats, on the other hand, are the picture of unpredictable independence. It’s like in caring for them we seek their approval.  Give them their favourite food, scratch their ears, and maybe  – maybe – they will purr at you instead of scratching and running away. You never know which one it will be this time. But when your cat jumps on the couch next to you, and settles on your knees, and tucks her head into your hands to pet, it’s you who gets so happy.

So perhaps, having a dog is fulfilling the need to be accepted unconditionally; and having a cat relates to our need to seek approval. Which are two sides of the same coin, you could argue. Both needs manifest themselves in our everyday life; so is our pet preference a question of balance?

Or perhaps, speaking metaphorically, for your house to be in order, both cats and dogs should coexist peacefully… Hold that thought next time you hear a question “Are you a cat or a dog person?” 🙂

sima and lord