Thursday, 25 April 2013

Cats & Dogs

Laura Miller, in her essay "Cat People vs. Dog People" provides the following succinct description of the points-of-view of Dog People vs. Cat People.

Dog people profess to be baffled by the cat person's affection for an animal that provides so little active amusement: Cats will not frolic for you in the surf or fetch sticks or point with their noses at a bird for you to shoot. Because cats can't be trained to do the same sorts of tricks that dogs do, they are considered to be less intelligent, and paratively aloof or indifferent to humans. Dog people think cat people are suckers for doting on sneaky, selfish creatures that only pretend to like people in order to get food and other goodies and that will never, say, jump into a raging, flood-swollen river to rescue a small child at the risk of their own lives, as the faithful hound supposedly will.

Cat people heap contempt on dog people for actually thinking a dog's devotion counts for much. A dog's love for its owner is, cat people say, entirely instinctual, indiscriminate and often unearned by it''s object; you are not loved for yourself but for the position you assume in the dog's life--anyone else would do as well. Therefore, dog owners must be so desperate for love as to be nearly undeserving of it. The willingness of dogs to learn tricks is a result not of their intelligence but of their dopey eagerness to please. That cats can't be bothered to sit or heel on command is, their partisans insist, a sign that they are more clever by half. Cats are also self-cleaning, slobber-free, hand when you've got a mouse problem and on't have to be walked.

The rest of Miller's essay is also well worth reading. I wrote something similar--with my cat preference clearly spelled out--back in 2009 in Afrikaans.

Personally, although I have had and loved dogs, I am undeniably a cat person. It is indeed the fact that one has to earn a cat's love, that I like about them. In this regard a relationship with a cat is more on an equal plane, rather than a master-subject relationship as is the case with dogs. But actually, I just find cat's very beautiful. A part of it is that they are hunters, I think. Dogs, like jackal, are mostly scavengers. Yes, dogs do hunt, but when they do it is usually as part of a pack, which reminds me a bit of gangs. Cats, on the other hand, would find the idea of being part of a pack, a gang, a posse, quite distasteful--as do I. I'm guessing that is part of it, isn't it? I don't like groups and am not someone to succumb to peer pressure. With friends I prefer the depth of one-on-one encounters, rather than the superficiality of a party.

I found the following video quite hilarious.

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