The dog, by contrast, requires a lot of looking after. You have to train them and even when that goes well you have to walk them twice a day and while you’re out walking them you have to pick up their gooey poop with the ubiquitous plastic bag; this is a legal requirement as far as I’m aware in Britain. There again, taking the dog for a walk is a great way of meeting people (or annoying people!). And a photograph on one of those dating sites, of a man holding a puppy is catnip for a single woman; it shows a woman that he is a sensitive soul in touch with his emotions and ripe for marriage…
…Dogs do have their advantages. You might warm to a dog even if you are a hardline member of CCC. Is it possible to simultaneously be a cat lover and a dog lover? I would say yes it is. Or are you, as mentioned, more a people person? You might even be a person who wants to change over. That is sacrilegious to those of us living in the world of cats. Perhaps, you’ve retired and have more time on your hands. You want to go out for a walk every day. You want a companion on those walks and what better companion then a chirpy little dog who looks up at you with doe eyes. Of course, you’ll have to pick up that sloppy poo but that’s just a minor downside.
You’ll also have to put up with your slippers being chewed through and your kitchen floor looking like a Jackson Pollock painting during his brown era. But you’ll warm to it.
I wonder how many parents are pestered by their kids to get a dog or a cat? Is it the children who decide whether the family has a dog or a cat? What if you’re a cat lover and your daughter insists on adopting a dog and enters into a pact, behind your back, with your wife and together they chip away at you until you give in and adopt a dog. You are cunningly recruited away from the Confederation of Cat Companions to the rival Confederation Of Canine Companions!
If an animal lover wavers between caring for a dog or a cat the decision is often made for practical reasons. If you’re busy and away from home you may believe that keeping a cat is more suitable but you may be wrong. This may be a misconception. Cats miss their human companions just as much as dogs, I believe. The domestic cat is no longer a solitary independent companion animal but sociable.
Perhaps the key practical element in deciding between a cat and a dog is the simple fact that you can take a dog for a walk. You can take your dog outside on a lead as a matter of course. Whereas, exceptionally, this can also be done with a cat, but it is virtually impossible.
In the UK, it is said that a dog bred for low maintenance such as the cockapoo is a midlife status symbol for men. The cockapoo is a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle and bred, as far as I can tell, exclusively for middle-class city dwellers! We are told that this breed of dog does not moult, does not smell, is great with kids and does not need long walks. Lies. You have to employ a dog groomer once a month at £40 a time and when he rolls on the grass while on walks what is she rolling in…
Perhaps the ultimate answer is to look after both a cat and a dog – while at the same time the cat and the dog are best friends. It doesn’t get better. You need to make sure that you have sufficient time to care for them both properly.