HomeopinionA case for cats

A case for cats

“A dog is a man’s best friend.”

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.”

We’ve all grown up hearing these things about dogs. We all know that one person who has several of them, or who’s obsessed with every little thing their puppy does.

Yet as much as society embraces the idea of dogs being man’s best friend, there’s always been a stigma around people who love cats. For men, it’s not very manly. For women, you’re deemed a ‘crazy cat lady.’ If someone has four dogs, it’s pretty normal. A little loud, maybe, but nothing out of the ordinary for a typical white-picket-fence family. But four cats, four cats! Now that’s borderline weird.

But it isn’t.

Cats are almost always viewed as mean, lazy and irritable but cats can make the perfect pet. And while a kitty won’t encourage you to exercise by begging to go out for a hike, research shows the sound of a cat’s purr can lower your blood pressure and reduce stress.

Dr. Dennis Turner, a leading expert on the feline-human bond, explains why he likes cats:

“I appreciate the fact that they’re very sensitive. They are very independent thinkers and independent actors and they’re very elegant and beautiful to watch. I could watch cats for hours.”

Dr. Turner’s research shows that unlike dogs, cats follow their owner’s lead when it comes to how much involvement they have with each other. Some cat owners prefer a lot of interaction with their pet, others don’t have much time to devote or simply prefer less interaction. Kitties are quite adaptable to their humans’ needs in this regard and fall into step easily with the pace the owner sets. They do this without complaint, and their self-sufficient nature helps them get along without a need for the same level of interaction that dogs demand.

Likewise, in a Family Circle article, Andrea Arden, an Animal Planet Pet Expert and professional pet trainer said, “Cats sometimes don’t get the credit they deserve. They are often seen as solitary, aloof creatures.”

But Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views argues “[this] is far from the truth. Cats can thrive in a family with children, and can even learn to play games that are traditionally associated with dogs, such as fetch.

Maybe it’s because I never had a dog growing up. Albeit, all I ever wanted when I was little was a puppy. Every birthday, Christmas, or holiday of the like I wished desperately for a warm, furry puppy. My green-eyed monster came out every time I went to any of my friend’s houses, whenever I saw a family walking their dog down the street, or any time I logged on to my Webkinz account. All I wanted was a dog, a best friend.

As the years passed by and still no red-ribboned puppy never showed up at my door, I began to lose hope of ever experiencing owning a furry friend. But, finally, at 13 my wish was granted (sort of). My family adopted a very rambuctious and very aggressive little kitten, Ollie. I wasn’t too keen on him at first, I’ll admit; his favorite pastime was scratching. My family knew all along we didn’t want just one lonely kitten, however, and only a few months later adopted the sweetest, cutest, orange creamsicle colored kitten named Mollie – and I fell in love. My fervent wishes for a dog soon died down in lieu of two new best friends, and now I even find myself empathizing with my hissing cat whenever a huge dog comes to visit.

Of course, one has to tread lightly on the subject of dogs. One bad comment interpreted as anything close to disklike could warrant a reputation of heartless or cold. But just because I love snuggling up to my kitten more than I do getting a sloppy kiss from a dog doesn’t mean I don’t have a heart! Mine just beats for a different breed of animal.

Besides a personal bias, there’s evidence that supports why owning a cat can be better than a dog:

 

The cost:

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, cats are significantly cheaper animals to own than dogs. If a kid is begging for a pet to play with, a cat is by far the less expensive animal to adopt.

 

The mess:

Cats also leave smaller messes. They’re simple to train, just lay down a litter box. While the occasional hairball may arise, cats clean themselves and contain their messes to a small radius. Dogs require grooming

 

The simplicity:

I will admit that my two cats aren’t the smartest; but that’s what makes their less than intelligent antics so fun to watch. Cats are playful and agile, and will will leap, run, and pounce on just about any toy you give them, which is very amusing to watch.

Cats also can be both completely indoor or outdoor pets and require no walking two to four times a day.

 

The independence:

While cats may not have the same loyalty as a dog can provide, they can be left alone for hours at a time and remain content. While younger kittens can make a mess if left by themselves for too long, cats even just a year old will stay happy with food, water and a litter box.


The reality is, I love dogs. I think they are a great way to teach responsibility and bring love into someone’s life. I just wish more people would be open to the idea that cats can be fun too, even loving if you treat them as an equal to dogs. Dogs are louder and command more attention in every way, so I, on behalf of every crazy cat lady, want to give a voice to the quiet meow of cats everywhere.

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