Cats Versus Dogs

Our amusing annual fund raising program on public radio made hilarious assertions in regard to the real and imagined virtues of cats and dogs. Here is my recount of some, in part shamelessly plagiarized points, as well as some reflections of my own:

My cat, sought out the proper towel after first heading to the bathroom  in order to throw up, only after first having given me a proper warning. Now no dog can top that and this is real and happened only this morning and two times in the middle of the night prior to this week. While my Isabella-girl, bless her heart and stomach, has not thrown up in a good long while, but used to do so frequently and sometimes would barely bother to move off her bed in the middle of the night, but simply would go back to sleep, yuck.

My cat needs not to learn 1200 words or more, he knows intuitively exactly what I am wanting to communicate. The first day in my home, he was about to nibble on some plants, I told him no with a disapproving sound from across the room, he checked in with me, looked, and never did nibble on that plant ever again. He did sample some grasses on occasion though, but none of my flowering plants. My dogs on the other hand ate a whole freshly planted whiskey barrel full of pretty colored purple and pink flowers worth thirty bucks in the time it took for me to go out for a cup of coffee, having celebrated what I thought was a job well done. Oh, was I furious and did I chastise them and never ever again have I given them another opportunity to attempt another coup like that I suspect Sumo was the instigator in this case. Not one flower was left. Neither did I see any color come out of their behinds? They must not have been toxic as both pups survived, even thrived.
Encounter with another kind
 Isabella and Sumo encounter a cat inside their home for their first time. 
When I took my new kitty to the vet for the first time, only just rescued, he complained non-stop about having to ride in the van inside a crate. Oh was he unhappy. But, having watched us, me and my pups come home in that same van, over and over, the moment I invited him in to check out our mobile home, he did so with no hesitation. He needed no commands, no learning of any kind. He knew he was invited, and I could tell he was curious. So in he jumped, checked it out and that was that. He now does so only when invited with the slightest nod of my head and only when he feels like it. That is a kind of communication that goes way beyond training.

The capacity for training dogs so they can serve us people was used as an argument for, and I think successfully against dogs. I can relate to cats autonomous state of being that needs no approval, that needs not be of service to others, and does not desire to be useful in any particular way. With such comes a spiritual depth that can arise only from the freedom to be. This allows cats to show their true love and their true selves, on their own terms.

Surely cats would be Independents if they belonged to any political party. And dogs, might they belong to the Socialist party? They do share among themselves, at least mine do. Sumo ate from Isabella's bowl this morning having rejected his own and does not mind at all digging in to the cat's bowl either.

I did hear of one cat, and I bet there are more like it, that kept vigil on the bed of any dying nursing home patient. The service is of the cat's choosing and must be of great comfort to the patient I imagine. Cats are frequently found living at nursing homes, while dogs are only allowed in for short visits.

Assistance dogs are a wonder to behold. We hear how they help kids learn to read. We can see how they guide the blind. How they accomplish amazing feats like pawing 911 in an emergency. They can open dryers and pull out clothes and bring them to the human and in turn pull socks off human legs. They can alert us to seizures, cancer, and toxic chemicals or bombs. Yes, dogs can be very useful. But always I am reminded of the Taoists warning us to avoid becoming too useful as surely being abused is only the next step. Straight tall trees will be felled while those that bend have a much better chance of survival and who can compete with a cat's flexibility? They can bend alright, that is why we have the cat bow in yoga.

While dogs will eat just about everything, cats exercise some discernment. Yes, they are outright finicky. Their super sensitive olfactory sense is to blame, they can tell when something has gone rancid. I sure wish my pups had that kind of a discriminatory good sense. Instead my Sumo-boy ended up at the vet, sick to death from taking a chance on a discarded piece of baloney in a sandwich snatched off the street. So praise those cats and their finicky appetites, vets are way too expensive.

Considering sense, I just learned that cats have no sense of sweetness! How wonderful is that. They must not be in danger of developing a sugar addiction, although did I not hear of cats suffering from Diabetes? Meanwhile my Isabella-girl did not hesitate to grab my chocolate bar out from my grocery bag to swallow whole and to never show any sign of remorse, yet was never off the worse for it either. I made a point though to never again leave my grocery bags unattended with any of my dogs. But read those darn labels off those commercial pet treats where sugar and salt is a common additive, why oh why? Well, we know why of course, always those idiocies serve the purpose of making money for a few with no regard to common sense, or the health and well being of others.

While cats and dogs give off delicious heat and serve as great bed warmers, my cat most definitely gives off more warmth, even though he is the smallest of the three, weighing a consistent 11 pounds only.

Cats are clean, they lick themselves. Mine after my repeated complaints about him coming home dirty from rolling in sand, has recently started to lick himself outside on the doormat, even refused to come in until he was done, I swear, I am telling the truth. My Sumo-boy licks himself too, but he may have picked up the habit from his prior household he shared with an elderly cat. He does a good job at it, which I can not say of Isabella-girl, but no need to get in to her delight in rolling in shit, is there? Twice she found cow dung out in the woods with no running water in sight. And how proud she was of herself. Who says we humans have evolved with dogs? There are some major differences, certainly in what we find pleasurable, much less acceptable. Rolling in, and eating shit are not acceptable to me although I recognize they are perfectly fine to my bitch. And life can surely feel like a bitch dealing with the after effects.

One major drawback for me living with dogs downtown is that they need to be walked - on lead. not occasionally, but supposedly regularly. Having to go out when I have no desire to do so is one royal pain in the ass (yes, that is what it is and since this is my blog I can name the thing for what it is.) Having to go out in the cold adds another level of misery. But then having to hold on to that darn lead can kill, literally, I am afraid it might kill me.
Who Leads Whom?

And it takes not much weight and strength to get me to fall flat on my back as I did recently with Sumo as he raced across the slippery train tracks. Or with Isabella,  when my nose fell hard on asphalt as she dodged under, while I attempted to step over a rope. On that later one there was pain, bright red blood was streaming down my face and along my white hair. I was afraid my nose was broken and my face permanently disfigured. I got lucky, I was alright with the help of my favorite bodyworker who practiced Craniopathy for 2 1/2 hours on my battered self. He held my ears alone for at least 25 minutes straight with reverberations felt from the tip of my head down in to my toes.

But back to dogs and the sensible need for leashes in urban 'hoods. Both of my terriers are now 5 years old and still I struggle with them not pulling and dragging me every which way. And yes, I studied the Dog Whisperer and they can walk on proper heel, but ... they are Terriers and I am my variable me. I am so relieved my cat does not require my walking her. Not that I did not try. In the beginning I put Sumo's harness on him and it was funny to see him crawl along the ground in utter befuddlement.
Lost and Found Black Cat with lively tail
The Pretty Kitty in Sumo's harness in his first days with us.
Soon enough though I learned that he had chosen us, or rather my pups for his home and while he would wander out and would stake his territory he would always come back, so there really was no need for a lead. In fact he will accompany us for a few blocks and tease the pups to follow him up a tree so as to demonstrate his freedom and therefor superiority.

Back again to having to walk dogs as it is really a major issue for me. Big enough  of a sore spot that I found an athlete that takes my pups out for not hikes, but runs, 12 miles, up in the mountains, these days in snow. Yet, they come home, rest for a bit and an hour later - their eyes are glued to me: Are we going out, now? No, I want to scream. I just payed an equivalent of sixty bucks for someone else to take you all out for a whole half a day. No! But after two, three hours of being stared at and made faces of discontent to, who can take it? Begrudgingly I do take them out again.

There are those that claim those walks serve them as moments of reflections. Not me. Not one single useful thought ever. Impossible to think with one or two pups on lead, certainly for me. Even off-lead at the dog park, no useful thoughts or depth of contemplation for me. The best I can do is take occasional snapshots with my camera and they have learned to sit still until I am ready to move on.

One more last point is in regard to vocalization. My cat does a most astonishing kind of yodel - before he pukes. The range his vocal cords manage to produce are truly amazing, but hard to describe. But there are also those sounds of demanding, displeasure, pleasure, pleading and maybe distress. As of late he vocalizes when trying to do his business, yes in to his box. While my terriers are not hounds, they do not howl and give relative few vocal cues. Sumo is the one whose job it is to announce any irregularities happening outside our home, any comings and goings. Sure there are different levels of excitement, but the barks stay more or less the same and they do grate on my fragile nerves. Yes, there are dogs that can learn to sing, howl on cue and dance. Those poor slobs will demean themselves in any which way to please those two-legged ones.

This is it for now, maybe more will come to mind in bits and pieces. Thanks for reading and please add your own two cents or more to this ages old silly question on the difference of cats and dogs. I sure have come to love them all.
Dog Tired

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