by Elisa Black-Taylor
It's very difficult for me to discuss the dog/cat issue without shocking everyone (dogs vs cats). You see, I'm one of those rare people who believe dogs and cats can live together in total harmony. In fact, I insist on it. I have a very confusing (and loving) family.
None of my observations are scientific. Just what I've learned from many years of dealing with both cats and dogs living under one roof.
First I'd like to get my rescue preference out of the way. My daughter asked me a few days ago why I only rescue cats. My answer was fast and easy. Cats don't BARK! I work swing shifts and sleep is important and necessary. I have three dogs. One of them is what I call a "yapper." She could be ten miles from anything and still find a reason to bark. Most of my cats are a Maine Coon mix. I find them to be very quiet cats. Quiet is important since I sleep during the day.
I have three dogs. I feel safe having my boxer Dreyfuss as a guard dog. He's already proven he will defend me. I do feel safe with my cats. I doubt if an intruder could make it from one end of my house to the other without suffering serious injury from tripping over a cat!
Dogs also require more physical attention than a cat. They have to be walked and they have to be let outside to go to the bathroom. Dreyfuss is the spokes-dog for this duty. Dogs also seem more needy. They want to be petted and reassured more frequently than a cat that they are loved. Dogs are NEEDY. Which is fine if you want needy. If you want to be the center of someone's world, get a DOG. There's a welcome committee awaiting me each night when I arrive home from work. My dogs are saying "how was your day, I missed you, I love you, pat my head, feed me, hold me!"
My dogs are intelligent. Dreyfuss can ask to go out to the bathroom. He can also predict seizures. He can even dip a cup into a dog food bag and bring it out full and serve himself. Cody and Darla both know how to open the bedroom door to go in and out. Dreyfuss, the smartest dog I've ever had, hasn't got a clue on how to open doors. Darla is mean spirited at times and deliberately traps him in my bedroom. She lures him back there and leaves him.
Cats are more independent. My cats are content for me to just to feed them and make them a bed or two around the house. They want to be petted on THEIR schedule-not mine. Clear off the top of the refrigerator and put away your breakable figurines. Everything must be protected from breakage when you have a cat. My cats are all totally different in their personalities. Some are laid back and it's hard to remember they're even there. Mandy is very mouthy. She wants things her way. Lucky is very clingy. He likes to sleep in a lap as much as possible. Jasper and Sammy simply like the warmth a lap provides. It brings me great joy to sit back and have three or more cats asleep on me. Especially the ones who aren't even related to each other. That's REAL love.
Most of the time they don't follow me to bed. They all have their own sleeping spots. Abby is the loner and sleeps in the tub. Gizzy is still hanging out in Laura's room. They're quite happy. They just don't want to join in the action. Here are the links for their rescues:
My dogs are fine with the cats. My yappy little mutt Darla, a Maltese mix, plays chase with them. She is very protective of them. My cats are drawn to my boxer Dreyfuss and he seems to love cats. Cody is my loner dog. She's part husky/shepherd/wolf? She stays in the bedroom a lot sleeping on my bed. The cats may lay by her for a nap, but not for long. She doesn't really love cats and they don't really love her. They each know and accept and respect this. They know each others boundaries.
Here's a funny little clip of the very first time Darla met my cat Lola. I hope you enjoy it. This is how Darla reacts to each new addition.
It's sad there are many out there who love one species and hate the other. I've discussed my pets with friends and found many who love cats hate dogs and vice versa. My dogs and cats are very accepting of each other and within their own species. I've rescued six kittens and cats in the past month. Each has worked it's way into the family structure in it's own way.
If people were as tolerant as my pet family, the world would be a much happier place.
Overall, I would have to say cats rule. They have great telepathic ability. I find myself opening cans of food without my cats uttering a sound. I make cat beds and keep the covers in them clean and fresh and comfortable. I've sacrificed collectibles and given them full run of the kitchen bar as their food court/sleeping quarters. The same goes for the top of the refrigerator. Meals are served up there too for the "penthouse" cats.
Plus they usually allow me to catnap as long as I need to between shifts. I'd never have this kind of quiet if I rescued dogs. Sorry doggies. I really am.
Do any of you have both cats and dogs? Do they get along as well as my gang? I'm curious. Most think I have a very unique family.