A few weeks ago my partner and I were having one of those deep, tough discussions between two very different personalities who were trying to harmonize and understand each other as our lives were changing.
As we talked, the subject of our pets came up: How have they been faring as our lives have been evolving?
“The cats are fine.” I said. “It’s Bowser I’m worried about. It’s the difference between cats and dogs.”
And thus the inspiration for this article . . .
Are you a cat-person or dog-person?
Here are some characteristics of cats and dogs and the people who love them, followed by suggestions of how to make it all work!
Cats are independent and low-maintenance. They don’t need to be taken out. All you need to do is keep up with the litterbox, feed them, and clip their nails when they start getting sharp. Cats are touch-and-go, sometimes cozying up to you and sometimes nowhere to be found.
They are sometimes curious about new people, sometimes indifferent, and they don’t ask for attention – they take it! They’ll sit on you, nuzzle you, walk across you, and love on you (or your laptop) – unless they are busy doing something else, of course.
If they haven’t seen you for a long while, they may come and greet you, but they don’t dwell on it. They’re cats.
Cats can be relatively persnickety about cleanliness – but if they’re upset about something, they’ll let you know with an unpleasant mess outside their box.
Cats do things their own way. They may come and sit on your lap — but don’t try to pick them up and put them there yourself — they are not in the mood just now. And if you get up from your chair, expect it to be the cat’s seat when you get back. Cats are easily bored but also easily entertained if you give them access to a window or a box.
They are great hunters but play around with their prey. Cats are also very sensitive and keenly intuitive. When I’m agitated, my cats get agitated and fight each other. When I’m depressed, they tend to come and cuddle. They seem to see and understand things beyond our human capabilities – but the joke is that they may not care enough to do anything about it.
Are you a Cat-Person?
Cats work for me because they are independent and low-maintenance. As long as a person can stand the litterbox, cats are great.
I am not a homebody and like to get out often. I got two cats so that they can keep each other company and don’t need me around.
I like that I can stay out late or leave town for a bit, and the cats will still be calm and content when I return (as long as someone pops in once or twice to clean the litterbox and top off the food and water).
So then one day, I, the cat-person, got a dog . . .
I discovered dogs can be dependent and high-maintenance. I was dismayed to discover that there is a “puppy phase” – there is nothing like that for cats – and that’s when I began to refer to our pup as “your dog” and had nightmares that he would never ever grow up. (Thankfully he eventually did.)
Dogs need to be taken out many times a day. They also need to be fed — and once they get a taste of human food — they will hover around the kitchen and sniff around at your feet, in case some tasty morsel should fall.
Dogs are loyal and loving and feel a need to be around you and know where you are at all times. My dog will follow me up and down the stairs and will bark at me frantically if I walk out the front door and get the mail without him.
Dogs are protectors, barking at anyone who comes within yards of the house and may go absolutely crazy if someone actually approaches the door — until they know for sure that you’ve accepted this person. Dogs may feel abandoned when you leave the house and are ecstatic when you return.
Dogs smell until you bathe them. And then they are quick to get dirty again. But they are incredibly loyal and loving.
They want to please you and will do whatever they can to get in your good graces. They can take a great amount of loving from kids and just want to play with you and love you – always.
If they could, they would sit on your lap — and some actually do, even though they shouldn’t. Dogs may not be as intuitive as cats, but they’re pretty smart, and some have been known to save lives.
Are you a Dog-Person?
Dog-people are content to be home. They like people, but they don’t need to be out and about, and they don’t understand why you would want to be away so much – there’s plenty to do in the house!
Dog-people are caring, empathetic, and loyal. And like dogs, they just want to be around you, even if you’re both doing your own thing, not interacting with each other.
So, how do you keep from fighting like cats and dogs?
It’s easier than you might think!
If you’re living a cat-person, be sure to give your partner some space. The cat-person will want to go out and explore – but will want to cozy up to you, too.
Make sure to plan some exciting things to do together and be prepared for the occasional hijinks and drama. Be sure to give your cat-person attention . . . and be patient.
If you’re living with a dog-person, schedule some regular time together (date night!), and stay in communication about your outside activities as much as possible.
Be sure to show your appreciation for your partner’s loyalty, give positive feedback . . . and be patient!
Featured photo credit: Victor Hanacek via picjumbo.com