Thursday, March 23, 2006

Dogs, Cats, and Rabbits

Got hit with a double shot of I Hate You juice Saturday night - Phoney Friend Jane came over to drop off her mangy cat for the week cause she's tagging along with her parents on a cruise. Wife swears I okayed it, but I had to have been watching LOST or a game and was in "uh-huh, uh-huh, sure, sounds fine" cruise control when that happened.

I’m sure a lot of it has to do with Jane being one of those friends that isn’t really a friend that we all put up with in life.  Known the wife for two decades, but doesn’t call on birthdays or when someone’s in the hospital.  Just shows up occasionally when she wants a favor.  So she sucks.  And having a cat brought into the house was a cathartic moment for me – I got definitive understanding that I would never be the owner of one of these misbegotten creatures again.  

I did have a cat once.  In college, I ran across a perfectly black kitten and unlawfully adopted it via Ted and Curtis, who had a lodge on campus.  Remembering that, Ted got me a replica for Christmas a few years ago, whom I named Azrael for its arch-angelic look and demeanor.  I have some fond memories: the shave and a bath in which I discovered that a wet cat resembled a cobra and would strike like one (nearly lost my thumb), and the fun play wrestling.  If you’re worried about all the past tense, Azrael is still above ground; I had to give her up because my roommate was allergic.  Still, I don’t want to go down that path again.

As much someone may love cats, you can’t argue that you have to put up with a lot: they’re inherently whiney and fussy creatures, their litter odor is a stench that would send homeless out the door, and the claws slice your arm like butter if they’re not removed.  Cats offer their owners ridiculously little in return – your best reward is that they’ll rub on you, even though that’s far more about them getting a massage than saying I love you.  Better have a change of clothes, too, cause you just became a walking hairpiece.    

I’ve been a lifetime dog guy, which probably invalidates this whole argument for all the twisted cat lovers.  Republican and Democrat, Dog and Cat.  Strange, the battles that matter to us.  Anyway, dogs are infinitely superior companions: fiercely loyal, will protect you and yours, understand and obey the words out of your mouth (some more than others), and reserve the barking for either perceived threats or (this is huge!) giving you a let-me-out-before-I-unload-on-the-carpet alert.  They’re thinking about you.  Cats are thinking about them.  Cat lovers cling to the dogs-as-lemmings cry, but hey; I want my pets and my friends to look out for me.  Independent types can feel free to wander the 4 corners like Kwai Chang Caine or David Banner.  (play piano theme)

Another key part of my no-more-cats decision as been my experience as a rabbit owner.  I’m not really a fan of any pet that has to stay encapsulated (fish, hamsters, ants) since they don’t offer much in return, which you may be realizing is a crucial point in my book.  So I was wary of how this would work out, but I’ve been awfully surprised at how nice a pet our rabbit is: litter trained with a bonus of dry odorless poop, no shedding, no barking/meowing or neediness, nothing to endure!  He recognizes us and comes over to be petted, is fine with being picked up, and is semi-playful over on the coach. Best apartment pet I could imagine!  No guilt leaving him in his playpen during the day or even overnight.  

Now I would still go for a dog first and foremost: their plus/minus differential is the greatest of the three, with cats sitting in the red.  Peerless Petability.  But the message here is this: the next time you’re thinking of getting a small apartment companion, walk away from the cat.  As to my personal purgatory, which will last another few days, start taking your bets on when I go Dutch Wagenbach after one too many meows.  Though I got a little bit of satisfaction the other day: the wife, in one of her attempts to get the rabbit and cat on good terms, allowed the cat to wander over to bunny’s pen only for it to get slammed by our rabbit’s front paw pounding attack (Mortal Kombat combo: down-over-left + A, B, R).  Keep that pecking order straight.



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