Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dogs v. Cats . . . is there really any question?

Last night, my dog and I got into bed and settled in for the night. He was all snuggled up to the pillow on the "reserved" side of the bed and we were both drifting off when we were awakened by what sounded like a cat massacre. First, we heard a cat that sounded as if it was crawling somewhere to die a noisy death, then we heard a screeching cat fight, then silence, and then the sequence repeated itself. Over and over and over. My dog, of course, was up on all fours and trying to look out the window through my headboard. I, on the other hand, covered my head with a pillow and congratulated myself on being smart enough to hate cats.

Seriously - why does anyone own a cat?? I know I'm going to alienate myself from some of y'all but I'm sorry - you might as well know the truth about me sooner rather than later: I'm a dog person. Through and through.

Allow me to review some of the MANY reasons why dogs are better than cats . . .

Dogs don't hiss.
Hissing is by far the most terrifying thing any animal could do. More terrifying than a lion's roar. More terrifying than a wolf's howl. Even more terrifying than a cobra posturing to strike. Every once in a while, I decide that I'm going to get over my hatred of cats - bury the hatchet, if you will - and try to make friends with a cat or two. So I'll go to pet one and, sure enough, it hisses at me. I can't describe the physical reaction my body has at that point. My hand whips back with surprising speed, I lean back at an impressive angle in order to get as far away from the cat as possible without actually moving my feet, my shoulders come up, my chin goes down, and I simultaneously yelp and hold my breath.

And then I usually say a bad word under my breath. Judge me if you must . . .

Dogs don't arch their backs.
I hate it when cats arch their backs. Especially if it's done in conjunction with a hiss . . . that's a terrifying combination. And it paralyzes me. I used to cat sit for a friend of mine and her cat was particularly fond of the back arch. Each morning, I would try to get downstairs quickly before the cat did. Why did I want to beat him to the punch? you ask. Well, you see, if I didn't he would run in front of me, get a few stairs ahead of me, and then he'd stop and arch his back until I pet him. I would stop cold and every muscle in my body would tense up as I sat down to pet him, sweating and holding my breath as if I were petting him at the command of a terrorist who had a gun to my head. I'd put my hand out timidly and he'd arch and hiss and then bat my hand away with his paw. I would try to move down a step and he'd stop me. And then the attempts at petting would begin again. So in addition to being terrifying, it was humiliating - I was thirty years old and being bullied by a cat.

Not a proud moment for me.

Dogs don't have retractable claws.
Do I really need to elaborate on this? Retractable claws??? Terrifying.

Dogs don't purr.
Purring is such an interesting phenomenon. My sister used to cat sit for one of her friends when we were in college and that cat was fond of sleeping on my head. I have no idea why but it was. Every morning I'd wake up with this dang cat purring on my head or my neck.

Have you ever heard a purr? It's like the cat has a piece of machinery in its body. It really doesn't sound like something that originated in the animal kingdom. We think of purring as this really sweet sound that a cat makes but I think it's unnatural and I prefer the good ol' fashioned snoring of my dog. I used to dog sit for a friend of mine who had a great Boxer who LOVED to cuddle up next to me at night. He would put his head on my neck and fall asleep. Of course, then I couldn't fall asleep because I'm not used to trying to sleep with heavy breathing on my neck but that's neither here nor there. The point is that THAT was cute. Weird, mechanical, unnatural purring? Not so much . . .

Dogs can't jump onto counters.
Cats are way too nimble for me and they just appear on counter tops or the backs of couches without a sound. You're sitting there watching television and BAM! there's a cat peeking over your shoulder. It's startling and makes you swear. Again - judge me if you must. When I was in high school, I babysat for a family that had three Siamese cats.

Little tip: if you don't like cats, you should NOT be in a house alone with three Siamese cats.

It was horrible. I tried to be calm, I really did. I sat on the couch to watch TV and take my mind off of the cats staring at and conspiring against me. I started talking to myself: "It's okay, Catherine. Just breathe." and then BAM! two cats appeared on the back of the couch on either side of my head. I let out a stifled scream (after all, the baby I was sitting for was sleeping) and ran to the kitchen. I just needed a moment to think. I needed to just calm down and breathe. I leaned against the island in the middle and tried to gather myself and then BAM! two cats appeared on the island. This time my scream wasn't so stifled. I began to cry - actually CRY - and then did what is hands-down my most dramatic move to date: I put my hands in my hair, put my back against the wall, and slid down. Like a scene out of a horror movie - you know, like where the protagonist has reached her breaking point and she slides down the wall shaking and bawling and begging for the bad guy to just leave her alone. Yep - that was me. And then I called my dad crying and made him talk to me until the parents got home. Another proud moment for me.

Freakin' cats.

Dogs don't cough up hairballs.
The hairball is hands-down the most disgusting thing an animal could do.

Hands. Down.

When we were in college, Erin was cat sitting her friend's cat over the weekend and we had to take her home with us. We didn't have a carrier so she just roamed around the car while we drove. At one point, she came and stood on the arm rest between Erin and me while we drove down Highway 105 toward home. She seemed quite content and, for a moment, I actually thought she was cute. Then something terrible started happening: she started heaving and gagging on something and making this horrible gurgling/gagging sound. With each heave she arched her back, craned her neck forward, and opened her mouth with what can only be described as unhinged jaws. Erin and I began screaming and pushing our bodies against our respective doors. I thought she was perhaps birthing an alien. I had to keep an eye on the road (you know, because I was driving 70 mph) but I couldn't keep my eyes off the gagging, heaving horror show happening on my arm rest. Finally, she had one last long gag and out came this . . . this . . . slimy, hairy, disgusting ball of goop. Erin and I let out blood-curdling screams and began shrieking "WHAT IS THAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT???? WHAT IS THAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT??? [gag] WHAT IS [gag] THAAAAAAAAAAAAAT???" while we each tried to claw our way out of our windows. One of us finally snapped to the fact that it was a hairball (which didn't really make the situation any better) so then we had to figure out what to do with it. Luckily, Erin and I had a filthy car so we picked it up with an old, dirty sock from the back seat and put it in an old McDonald's bag we found under the front seat. Then we vowed to never cat sit again.

I have since had a child's dirty diaper leak all over me and have been the target of projectile vomiting. But the hairball experience is hands down the most disgusting.

Hands. Down.

Seriously . . . why does ANYone own a cat??


Emma said...

AMEN!! Great blog, Catch....I don't even pretend anymore. I can't bring myself to pet one at all.

Unknown said...

o....m...g! CRACKING UP!!! I will never forget that ride home! My favorite part was when you said, "and then something terrible happened." Hilarious and GROSS!!

Phyllis Eddings said...

So what you're really saying, is that you are afraid of cats. Wimp!

And purring is not unnatural. I do it myself sometimes. :-) It's one of the most soothing things in the world to have a cat lie on you and purr.

Unknown said...

Testify, sister! I agree about the cats suddenly appearing noiselessly out of nowhere--completely freaky. And since I'm allergic, it seems that all cats have this innate sense of allergies, so of course, they always come up to me and rub themselves against my legs (what's THAT one about? hello, personal space!).