Monday, September 15, 2008

Dog or Cat Person??

 Is it better to own a cat or a dog?  I have some of each,
and as I'm writing this I am trying to decide which I am
-- a dog person or a cat person. I tend to think that
I am a "both" person.
My very first pet was a cat who literally showed up on
my doorstep in college. Thanks to my Mom, my second
pet was another cat. My third pet was a dog. It was
a big decision to get a dog. They are definitely more
responsibility. In the great debate, I don't think
anyone can argue that it is easier to care for a cat
than a dog.
Cats can go to the bathroom in the house if necessary.
You can leave a big bowl of food for a cat and they
won't make it their mission to eat the whole thing
inside of 5 minutes. Cats don't have to go outside
for exercise. They are perfectly happy to run inside
the house batting things off the counter, off the sink
into the toilet,etc. You just have to forget that the
same feet that are on your kitchen counters and on your
pillow have also stepped into the (no matter
how often you clean it) yucky kitty litter box. In
fairness though, cats are able to entertain and feed
themselves without any help from us, a definite plus
if you are pressed for time or you want to go away
for a weekend. But there's a flip side to this:
After you leave them for several hours or a few days,
they don't seem too thrilled when you return. They
can be downright aloof . When we come home from a
weekend trip, my cats eventually will find me but
I think they just want me to feed them. I am not
convinced that they miss the family too much. I
imagine that while we are away they sleep wherever
they want without dogs bothering them (the dogs come
with us)or my partner throwing them off the bed,
walk on whatever counter they want, eat when they
want to, and drink out of the toilet (the water is
cooler). It's kind of what we were like when we
were first left without a babysitter and our
parents went out (minus the toilet water).
Dogs are definitely higher maintenance. Dogs
necessitate frequent forays outside to do a variety
of tasks. Of course they need to go to the bathroom
but they also require fairly large doses of exercise.
Unless you have a 10-pound dog or less,
you need to let them run around outdoors or
you would be leftwith a constant shadow asking
to "play please" every time you turned around. My
pack of dogs require set times to be
fed. No free feeding at this house. Besides
the battles that would occur if food was left out to
eat, there would be nothing left after 5 minutes. I
have heard of people just leaving their
dogs food out for them to eat as they please,but
in my experience this does not work in multiple-dog
houses. In addition, if you want to leave for the
weekend without your dog(s), it will require
a pretty hefty outlay of cash. Pet sitters can
cost upward of $50-$60 a day depending on the
visits and the number of dogs. Even a one-dog household
can be pricey. There is always the
option of using friends to dog-sit, but this can
get old fast, for the friends.
On the pro side, dogs do like to go out and you can
take them places. I have yet to see someone walking
by my house with a cat on a leash . Dogs are always
glad to see you return. They don't harbor grudges and
always are happy to just hang
out with you. Dogs seem to be able to pick
up on our feelings. What dog owner hasn't
had their dog come over when they are sad, offering
a quick lick on the hand. Basically our dogs adore
us and try to take any opportunity to show us.
In essence I love both my cats and my dogs. Although
if I had to pick a winner, I think I would go with
my dogs. Nothing really beats unconditional love.

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