Be forewarned, this is another “dogs versus cats” post, inspired by the fact that my younger son went and bought yet another puppy (see below – his name is Prince) to keep his first puppy company, obviously. But because my son works a lot (like I don’t), and because I love animals (like I do), I end up puppy-sitting quite a bit, which – although I don’t mind so much, I can’t say the same for my husband – has literally turned my house has into a poop-filled, barf-covered, meowing, barking, growling, hissing nuthouse. As if it wasn’t crazy enough already.
You see, the cats hate the dogs. HATE the dogs. Particularly Lionel. They want them dead. I can see it in their squinted to sliver-sized, golden eyes, and I can hear it in their low, rumbling, thunder-like snarls. Conversely, the dogs might have wanted to play with the cats – in the beginning – but after getting swatted in the face on more than one “holy shit, that hurts” occasion, they have since given up on the possibility, and turned to a life of “let’s see if we can piss these felines off as much as is dogly possible” mayhem, which is a lot, let me tell you.
Also, because the new puppy is the size of a hamster (no joke), he cannot – let me repeat, CANNOT – be put down and left to roam the house alone. A few things could (and would) happen, if we allowed this. He would a) get stepped on, for sure. Seriously, you can barely see him, especially if you are looking down from human height. It’s like he’s a walnut that a someone dropped on the floor. Or a balled up kid’s sock. Or an hors d’oeuvre of some kind, something with bacon.
Which brings me to my next point. If we let Prince (the newer, smaller, hamster-like puppy) run around in the house alone, he would b) get eaten. As I mentioned, he already looks like an hors d’oeuvre, and he is the perfect supper size for the cats, minus the fur and bones, of course. They’d leave that stuff for me to clean up, just like they leave their fur on everything I own.
Lastly, he would no doubt c) get played with a little too hard by his bigger (but still pretty small) brother. He’s delicate, this new addition to the family. I can’t emphasize this enough. For example, we can’t let him jump off things like the couch because he could break all of his itty bitty legs. Weird though that when you try to touch his toys, or move his food bowl, he turns into an alien, from the movie Alien. Little dog syndrome, I think it’s called. We should’ve named him Napoleon. He’s a certified psychopath.
Anyway, I do my best to keep things under control when I’m in charge. Usually though, it takes three of us (humans) to keep the peace. One person to follow around the hamster, because he MUST PLAY AT ALL TIMES. Sleeping? What’s that? One person to occupy Wolfie Junior, because he’s also an energizer bunny that bites feet. And one person to occasionally (when they will allow it) pat the cats, and tell them that we still love them, and that they should stop scowling at us and give us a freakin’ break because how were we supposed to know that dogs could be so barbaric?
Whenever I can, I take Wolfie Junior for a walk too. That’s a good idea, you say. That’s what people with dogs are supposed to do. Thanks, I know. I just didn’t think it meant four to six times a day. And I thought dogs were supposed to sit down and rest sometimes. Silly me.
Anyway, walking Wolfie Junior does a few things (as most of you annoying “I could’ve told you so” dog owners are already aware), it a) gives his baby brother Prince a break from being mauled, which is helpful. I mean, we aren’t trying to kill the little nugget off in the first two weeks of having him, or at all LOL. It b) burns off some of his energy, because he is still a puppy too and yes, puppies ARE like small generators that eat things they shouldn’t (like important receipts – cats don’t do that), and pee on flokati rugs and other household items that are REALLY hard to clean, and c) it keeps those “peeing on the flokati rug” accidents to a minimum.
At this point though, we can’t go for walks as often as we’d like (or should) because of the weather. Out of desperation however, we try. This is what happens, and this is what I’m talking about when I say that dogs might not be quite as smart as cats.
We go out. Wolfie Junior (or as I like to call him “The Wolfer”) starts rushing off down the street. He’s not “running” exactly because he is also slipping and sliding on the snow and ice, stepping into semi-frozen puddles, and stopping to sniff the occasion pee spot (which he himself created) on the ground.
“Don’t go too far,” I say to him like he actually might listen. “It’s cold out here, Wolf. REALLY cold.” But he doesn’t care. He’s a dog. And outside means playtime, and freedom, and fun. And he’s going to get as much of that as he can. Whoo hoo, just watch him go, and try to keep up – you won’t be able to. Isn’t life awesome? Who cares if breathing feels like swallowing swords because the air is so fucking frigid.
Don’t you just love the exuberance, the effervescence, the impetuousness, and the short term memory of a dog?
Yes, it’s winter here in Ottawa, which means, some days, it’s minus thirty-five with the windchill (or colder). And there is snow up to your waist in some places (or higher), and the ground is covered with ice, which means it’s cold on little paws. And if you are running down the street – even with a coat, but no boots, because although your parents bought you some, if you put them on, you suddenly forget how to walk – then there’s a problem. It’s been like this EVERY SINGLE TIME we’ve gone out lately. You’d think he’d remember. Sadly, he doesn’t.
Thus, in about three minutes – after he’s raced past the neighbour’s house – some funny things start to happen. Let me translate – I can speak a bit of “dog”.
It’s like someone is stabbing at my dog feet with tiny knives. So I lift one paw, and try to continue on three legs, but that’s almost an impossible thing to do – especially given the ice. I do it anyway, because I AM a dog, and I don’t give up. A few hobbling steps later, I start to realize that this is just not working. I figure out in my tiny little dog brain that heading too far from home may not have been the best idea – almost as bad as eating those few bits of chocolate that I found on the coffee table at Christmas. It’s too late now though. So what do I do? I do what any intelligent animal would do: I just lay down on the ground to die.
That’s what he does. He just lays down. And he would die if I didn’t pick him up, and bring him home as he shivers and looks up at me pathetically as if to say, How could you let me make such a bad decision?
OK, so the cats cry for me to open the door a hundred times a day because they think they want to go outside. They don’t seem to remember that’s it’s cold out there either. Here’s the difference though: upon sniffing the air and feeling the virtual arctic enter their lungs, they make the wiser decision to go back and lay in front of the fireplace. The dog, not so much. He just goes barreling out headlong into the tundra.
Now, I’m not suggesting that dogs are not smart (or uncoordinated, even though Wolfie Junior has fallen down the stairs and off the bench in the kitchen a few times – cats do NOT fall down stairs or off benches), I’m just saying that they may not have as much forethought as their feline counterparts. They do have their redeeming qualities though…
Say your house is on fire. A dog is more likely to bark to tell you to get out. A cat will probably just escape by any means necessary – leaving you unconscious in your bed. Afterward, they will then live with the neighbours. Tuna is tuna no matter who buys it, right?
A dog can also find a person who has gone missing or who is lost – say on a camping trip or in an avalanche. If given a sniff of the person’s shirt, it’s the canine (not the feline) who would hunt them down even if they are buried under a few feet of snow, or are covered in leaves and branches at the bottom of a ravine. No, the cat wouldn’t do that, but not necessarily because they couldn’t. It just that they are too busy not giving a shit.
All this to say that it’s kind of hard to know which animal is smarter. While dogs DO have some skills, cats seem to have a healthier life attitude. What’s that saying? You can’t love someone else until you love yourself? Well, cats have that down pat. They put themselves first. They are like: “We love ourselves first. Meow. And unless there is food and a warm bed involved, fuck everybody else.” Yes, it might be an over-the-top and seemingly arrogant philosophy to embrace, but you can bet that most cats don’t suffer from as many “do you love me, why don’t you love me?” mental issues as dogs. We’ve all seen the movie He’s Just Not That Into You and that sort of mamby pamby disposition is not a good look.