Afternoon InquisitionSkepticism

AI: cats and dogs

I used to have this amazing cat, a lilac Burmese named Hodge (named after Samuel Johnson’s cat).

She was beautiful, with short beige fur, orange eyes, dainty paws and an amazing personality. She was very vocal and liked to ‘talk’ with me; she’d creep around my neck and fall asleep, and cuddle into me as I slept. She loved to ambush me from behind furniture, and would retrieve toys like a dog!

I think dogs are cool too, and I’d have both if I could, but overall, I’m more of a cat person…

Are you a cat person or a dog person? Why?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

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  1. Cat person.
    Was raised with cats and dogs and other critters (farms).
    Adore cats, the way they are put together, their attitude, & their ability to keep the rodents at bay.

  2. I’m not really a pet person. I’ve never really felt comfortable having something completely dependent on me. I married four cats, though. At the time I was thinking how long can cats live? Ten years? Twelve maybe? I’ll just wait it out. Hah. Twenty four years! I had no idea. I think they did it out of spite.

    After a very rough start they eventually took to me and I took to them. A couple in particular seemed to prefer me, but I think this is more for my skin temperature and bladder control than my charming personality.

    I think I’ve been successfully converted to catism. I do like the idea of conditional acceptance rather that the slack-jawed, mindless adoration of dogs, and ain’t no way I’m carrying shit around in a bag. That’s just silly. Still, given my druthers, I’d rather cohabitate with beings who do it by choice.

  3. Both. I’ve always been a dog fan, and love their absolute devotion.. but my husband made me see the appeal of cats as well.

    Now I have some of each (four cats, two dogs). They keep me busy. :)

  4. I like both, but I’m definitely more of a cat person. Dogs will make friends with anyone. Cats are more selective.

    And really, I can’t think of a better sound to wake up or fall asleep to than the sound of a cat purring.

  5. I’m a dog person, no question. If I’m feeding, walking, grooming something, I would like my efforts to be appreciated. Dogs tend to be more generous in their affections, and more loyal in defense of their owners.

    A cat will stay put when you move house.

  6. I’m a rock person. I don’t have to clean their hair of my suit, I don’t have to pick their poo out of the back yard, they don’t throw up on the couch or the rug. They don’t claw the furniture or chew the legs on the table. I don’t have to take them to the vet or kennel them on a trip and if I forget them in the move I can probably pick one up in the yard of my new place. Rocks FTW.

  7. When I lived with my parents being a cat person wasn’t an option. My mother loathed cats, so dogs were our pets. Which to be fair, I do like dogs, and the dog I got when I was 13 that my parents still have acts more like a cat than a dog (very prissy, doesn’t like being doted on unless she *wants* to be, does not like strangers until she’s had a chance to warm up to them, etc).

    Now that I’ve moved away from home I’ve been tempted to get a cat, mostly because it’s less likely to need as much attention as a dog, and because I have a small yard, so it’ll need to be an entirely inside animal, which doesn’t work as well with dogs.

    So yeah.

  8. I am definitely a dog person. My husband had a cat when we first got married. I never liked it. It was a long furred cat and it was overweight. As a result it couldn’t clean it’s own rear end and liked to hack up hair balls on my shoes. It also drooled. Basically it was a disgusting animal and I’m glad my mother-in-law offered to take it in. We now have two dogs. I absolutely love them. They may be more work but at least I can take them places, train them to do things and cuddle with them when I want to.

  9. Definitely a cat person. I have two currently, after having been catless for a decade until my allergy-ridden son grew up and moved out [tho’ when he turns up, he grabs his favourite cat, snuggles her and then goes off and washes].

    One cat, Kiriko, is a scaredy-cat: She hides when people she doesn’t know well are in the house, or when my stepson, her vet, visits. After she’d been acting terribly stressed, he put her on Prozac, which seems to help. She’s a lovely silver-grey, beautiful, and thick as a plank. We occasionally refer to her as “the blonde”.

    The other cat, Isadora [Izzy], who looks like, but isn’t, a miniature Maine Coon cat, has no qualms about throwing herself at new people and demanding attention. Loudly. She is also frighteningly smart; it’s difficult to keep her out of certain rooms, because she’s long since figured out sliding doors and doors that just need some pushing. When she couldn’t manage the latter [after the hoomans put magnets on them to hold them closed], she enlisted the much-larger Kiri to push against the doors. If she had opposable thumbs, she’d be dangerous. We have to keep her out of the computer room, because she like to trigger the test button on the printer – over and over and over. Oddly, Kiri likes to sit and watch the printer print, so it does keep both of them occupied.

  10. Cat person. Definitely.

    Probably has something to do with when I was 8, having the neighbour’s Germain shepherd casually saunder up to me, and bite me in the crotch.

    “Oh, he was jut playing,” they said. Yeah… F*ck off.

  11. I suppose it’s obvious that I am a dog person. I love walking the dog first thing in the morning, the fact that she listens to what we tell her to do (kind of), and how ridiculously adorable she is when playing/sleeping/doing anything. It all makes picking up poop, wiping up vomit, vacuuming up hair, etc worth it.

    I’m so allergic to cats that I’ve never really been around one long enough to decide if I liked it.

  12. @Peregrine: Probably has something to do with when I was 8, having the neighbour’s German shepherd casually saunder up to me, and bite me in the crotch.

    I had the same problem with a priest once. I’ll never pet one again.

  13. Iy ‘m with DaveW, I too prefer cats because they are with you because they want to be. I’ve had many cats, some strictly indoor some outdoor and it was these ones that were the most interresting. When “Tiger” wanted out we knew he could be gone anywhere from hours to weeks and sometimes he’d come back with missing fur and such. (the days before auto “fixing” them) It was more like having a roomate than a pet.

  14. Both – and I’m allergic to both. Thank FSM for modern allergy medications.

    I like Burmese cats, too! However, we usually have a Siamese cat and a few “mutt” cats around the house. I love the Siamese’s personality…(Satori and Zen are gorgeous, BTW!)

    As many here already know, we’re also armpit deep in Shelties and Sheltie Rescue. We love most dogs, but especially the herding breeds for some reason. We also have 55 gallons of freshwater fish and would have more if I could swing a few more power filters.

    I was brought up in the Caribbean, where I made pets of damn near anything (including feathered theropods, thank you Skeplit!).

    For some reason I don’t fully understand, animals of most kinds and I have always gotten along well. Most of the times I’ve been bitten, on reflection I’ve realised that it was my own damned fault. I have worked very hard to learn and understand the ways that different species communicate and try to use their ways instead of human ways when dealing with them.

    I swear that animals know how to identify animal rescue people. I’ve had so many stray cats and dogs come up to me out of the blue, give me affection and then wander off. It’s almost like they’re thanking me, but they don’t even know me…

    Links to my pack:
    His Arrogance Banzai I:[email protected]/3982122392/

    Trent:[email protected]/3982121428/

    Ceba:[email protected]/3981362109/

    The Barks Brothers:[email protected]/3865511553/in/set-72157622046750649/

    (Left to Right: Rico, Beagin, Bailey and Dink. All rescues.)

    His Highness says that you are dismissed in peace and may leave His Royal presence:[email protected]/3982122392/

  15. @QuestionAuthority: I grew up with Siamese and fostered cats for Siamese Rescue, so they were my first love, until my husband and I met some Burmese cats and fell hard for them. Banzai has classic meezer attitude! Love it.

    I also have the thing where animals will come up to me, especially dogs who often embarrass their owners by tugging on the leash to get to me (doesn’t bother me in the least). I’m kind of sad that now I walk with a cane, it seems to scare some of them off.

  16. I like my little grey kitty. He’s laid back and likes attention and does what a cat is supposed to do and doesn’t shed much or scratch things.

    I like dogs fine but they are simply not capable of taking care of their own shit and they need too much attention, and most of the outdoor activities I like can not be done with a dog. Not to mention you would need to plant a tree every month to offset the carbon foot print of a big dog.

  17. They each have their plusses and minuses. Out here in the country, they are expected to both be companion and helper. Our dogs help herd while our cats keep the rodent population down. Since they don’t get along, the dogs live in the house and the cats live in the barn.

    Being a dog person, seems to me that this is just how it should be.

  18. I am definitely a cat person. No offense to dogs, but I couldn’t ever own one of them. They require a lot of attention and care. I love to visit with other people’s dogs, and I happily dog-sit for the neighbours when they need me, but cats are where its at. Nothing beats waking up late on a sunday morning surrounded by purring, sleeping kitties. Ahhh…

    There are currently five cats in my house. Four years ago we found a beautiful himalayan, who ended up having three kittens. We kept them all. We’ve picked up one big orange gentleman named Mr. Jones as well. Anyone who follows me on twitter will see pictures of them regularly.

    I’m also known as somewhat of a Cat Whisperer. Stray cats seem to seek me out. I think they can tell I’m a sucker.

  19. I like both, but I feel more comfortable taking care of a cat. I had a dog as a kid, and he was too much for my family to handle. So when I was finally able to have my own pets, I choose cats. Well, my last one choose me.

  20. Definitely a cat person. I really dislike dogs. I don’t want anything bad to happen to them but I wish they’d stay away from me.

    Every time i touch one i feel the need to immediately wash my hands. They smell awful and they’re loud. They’re like children but faster.

  21. I have a professional responsibility to remain neutral in this debate, but I’ve always thought that dogs are like toddlers. They come into the world tabula rasa and you have to teach them where and when to pee, not to put things in their mouths, not to jump on people, not to interrupt…
    Cats are like house guests. You show them where their bed is, where the bathroom is, and where you will be feeding them and they do the rest.

  22. So my previous post was all about disliking dogs. I didn’t mention how much i love my cat. I really miss her but i moved and she stayed with my parents. She’s neurotic. She’d leap out at me and attack my shorts while i’m walking around the house. She’d chase me up the stairs and get my ankles. She’d sleep in my lap and claw my hands while i typed at the computer. She’d have a fit outside my room if the door was closed.

    This lady found her outside our house and brought her to our door hoping she was ours. I told her that we’d find the kitten a new home or take care of her ourselves or something. The woman told me “that’s so Christian of you”. I was too stunned to think up any clever responses to that unfortunately.

    Anyway, i wanted to name the cat Lobster (because it’s fun to say) but my family wouldn’t let me, so we ended up naming her Pahjoe.

    And here’s some video proof of how crazy she is.

  23. I am a cat person because they are darling, independent creatures that provide their fleeting affection on their terms which teaches one to be an adult and because they do not hump my houseguests.

  24. I absolutely adore pussycats – for the cute, the fluffy, the cuddles and the instant feedback – you know exactly when you’re scratching the right spot (or not) and whether they’re in the mood (or not). Just like me – purrrr.

    I’m catless at the moment – still recovering from the death of my chinchilla Merry (as in ‘and Pippin’ – my other, also now deceased, cat) after 20 years of companionship 5 years ago. I’m looking forward to becoming a catmother to a couple of kitties needing a good home once I’m settled in my new place.

    I know this is going to sound weird, but I used to love burying my face in Merry’s fur and inhaling her scent. She always smelt so good. The day I took her to a vet and he buried his nose in her fur and said,”Oh doesn’t she smell good”, I knew 2 things: 1. he was now our vet for life, and 2. I was madly in love (shame he was married).

    I just can’t stand being jumped up on, breathed on (eeeuw the halitosis) and slobbered over by dogs. They have no concept of personal space.

    When you call a dog it comes running. When you call a cat it takes a message and gets back to you

  25. I don’t have any pets, and my house is a bit too disorganised (i.e. messy) to have a pet (the pet would probably love it, I would probably be unable to even find the pet, but just notice the food is being eaten).

    If I were to get a pet though, I’d get a cat. As others have mentioned, both dogs and cats shed hair, so you’ll have to deal with that, but it appears to be easier to teach cats where they can take care of business. With dogs, if you haven’t been able to teach them to hold it up until their daily walk, or to at least get them to let you know when they need to go outside, you’ll come home to a surprise somewhere on the floor pretty much every other day.

    So cats require a tad less cleaning.

    I also hate it when a dog licks my face. Cats don’t do that.

  26. I’m definitely more fond of dogs. Although I love cats, I much prefer large animals that intimidate home invaders. I grew up with a black lab and a Bernese Mountain Dog–they both lived inside with us–so I like relatively big dogs.

    I’d love to get a giant dog, though. One bigger than a person. I’m rather tall, so it’s unfortunately unlikely to be bigger than me, but the idea of living with a massive Irish Wolfhound or Great Dane is really appealing. Just think! Instead of a dog bed, he’d have a real bed! We’d be able to run together! He’d have his own room!

    @exarch My dogs never licked people. One was a guide dog–so, he was trained not to–but my first simply wasn’t fond of it. Until she was too old, she’d always jump on people and such, but licking was never really a problem. Chewing furniture and rugs, on the other hand…

  27. @femmebieninformee: I’m with you on the nice-smelling fur. Our lesbian kitties groom each other so much that they’re almost always wonderfully clean and soft. Even my husband, who is allergic, can’t resist burying his face in their fur sometimes. I think Zen smells like milk chocolate and Satori smells like bittersweet. Srsly.

    Okay, so it’s kinda late here…

  28. I grew up with dogs in the family, 3 of them at the minimum, more (temporarily) when they had puppies. I miss having dogs very much, but having grown up, moved out of home and lived independently for a good few years, I’m no longer sure how I’d cope with having pets. I miss the relationship that you develop with a pet as intelligent as your average cat or dog, but they also seem to come with so much mess! And I’ve got my work cut out for me just cleaning up after the other half.

    I think my current lifestyle would be more suited to a cat, but it bothers me that they are nimble enough to jump up on kitchen work surfaces. It’s so Ick. Also, I don’t like the idea of having an outside, free range cat, as the wildlife usually suffers. On the other hand, is it fair to keep a cat inside at all time? Urgh, decision making isn’t one of my strong points!

    Maybe in a few years, when I’ve picked whether to live in Australia or the UK, I’ll settle down, get a house and will have room for a outdoor dog or two. I think dogs are much happier, and less dependant, when they’ve got canine companionship.

  29. I have cats (two). But I love dogs, too. I can’t choose! Cats are just far easier to take care of in a small apartment, and I don’t have to be home all the time. They are pretty self-sufficient.

    But I grew up with dogs. There was George, the Dalmatian/Lab mix, who people still remember, though he died over a decade ago. And then there’s Molly, the beagle who ended up blind and with diabetes and lived 5 years over what had been predicted. And of course, Elmer, the huge Grate Dane we took care of the last few years of his life when his family had to move suddenly.

    My friends have a great dog — a German Sheppard/Black Lab mix. His name is Zeus and he’s great. Whenever I need a dog fix, I go visit him. :) They also have 4 cats, and he is best friends with one of their bengels, it’s pretty hilarious and adorable.

  30. I grew up with dogs, and am VERY allergic to cats. Medicine treats that nicely though.


    I have three cats at the moment, and I used to live with four. To those who say that cats don’t love you, have never owned a cat. My cats are deeply affectionate, loyal creatures.

    Ozzie follows me around the house, runs to the door when I come home, and sleeps at my feet every night. The happiest he can be is when he’s asleep near me. I don’t even have to pet him for him to start purring.

    Eppi Grendel is a lovable fat orange cat who immediately jumps into my lap when I sit in front of the TV. She “talks” to me as well when I feed her, and absolutely loves to be groomed.

    Cicero is my roommate’s cat, and he’s pretty cool too. Not as affectionate to me, but he’s intensely loyal to her.

    As far as dogs go, while I like them, they are far too much work. I don’t want to schedule my life around a pet, and that’s really the rub.

    Dogs rob one of freedom to travel, be out late, wake up late, and are too much like children to really be worth it. If I had kids and my life was tied to a schedule anyway, then I’d consider one. Since I don’t have kids, and am unlikely to ever have them, I don’t want a simulation of them.

    I actually broke up with a woman over her dogs once. 80 pound dogs don’t belong in the bed with people. It’s obnoxious as far as I’m concerned, and ruins intimacy. Smaller dogs and cats are OK in that regard, but not something that galumphs in and wants to stick its nose in places. If I’d wanted a three-way, I’d have paid for one.

  31. @exarch: I also hate it when a dog licks my face. Cats don’t do that.

    Au contraire. I’ve met a few face lickers and head lickers. I think it’s a grooming thing (a high compliment if true) because they prefer licking the hairy bits. Believe me when your upper lip gets licked by that sandpaper tongue in the morning, regardless of the hour, you are irretrievably awake.

  32. I’m with Gabrielbrawley – no pets. I did grow up with pets – my whole childhood we always had at least one dog and several cats, so it’s not that I don’t understand what it’s like to have an animal. But you have to take care of them, they smell, they make a mess. I hate eating in a place where I know animals have been all over everything. And I’m not even a germ- or neat- freak.

    Even if you have a kid, pets are still a hassle. Kids are easy to take with you for a weekend or longer.

    I asked my wife long ago (before we got married) to choose either a kid or a pet, not both. She chose kid.

    But I guess I should remind him – his mother expects him to fulfill both roles.

  33. Dog person here, owner of two Beagle/Basset Hound crosses.

    What I love about them, other than their individual personalities, is the way they take so much joy in just being alive, in the simplest pleasures. Seeing them jump for joy over a squeaky toy or a bit of steak makes me think that maybe I should just calm the fuck down and enjoy life a little more.

    They’re also a lot of fun and very affectionate. Yeah, you have to clean up the poo and puke, but it’s worth it.

  34. Cats–can’t stand ’em!

    Just kidding. I’m a cat person more than a dog person. Dogs, the eternal toddlers, require more care than my lifestyle can provide. And more bathing–cats are self-cleaning.

    I don’t want to be the center of any being’s universe, so I’m drawn more to cats than dogs. I love their independence. Though, a couple of our cats are a bit needy. And some of them are face lickers. One is an armpit licker, and another is a beard licker. Another likes to nom toes, which is a bit annoying.

    Right now there are an even dozen cats in my house. Seven are ours, and there are also 5 cats being rehabbed for a Trap-Neuter-Return group for which my sweetie and I both volunteer. They should be going back to their respective cat colonies later this week.

    And thanks to everyone for the pictures.

    Dogs provide unconditional love, and they travel much better than cats. (Except we’ve got one cat that travels just fine–I’ve even taken him to work a few times.) I’ve got a pickup truck, and it would be so much more fun to ride around with a dog hanging its head out the window. My cats won’t. Silly fools would just run away–they don’t realize how good they have it.

  35. Well, obviously I’m a cat person. I like dogs, but I can live without them. However, I plan to always have at least one cat as a pet. There are a few reasons why I prefer cats:

    1) Dogs don’t purr. Purring is so pleasant that it really makes cats better.

    2) I don’t like dogs licking me.

    3) Cats poop in a litter box, which I can clean out every few days after the poop is dry. With a dog, I would have to either clean it up of the sidewalk while it’s still warm, or let them contaminate my entire yard. For someone whose biggest OCD symptom is a poop phobia, this point is an important one.

    I like dogs and I’m willing to get another one if I have a husband or kid to clean up its waste. However, when people say the thing like most in a dog is unconditional worship and obedience, it makes me wonder about that person. That’s not something I find particularly admirable or desirable.

  36. @catgirl: Unconditional love, yes. Worship or obedience, no. I look on my pets as friends, not as worshippers – a kind of mutual respect. I agree with KristinMH about the lack of self-consciousness, enjoyment of life and ability to be in the present that dogs seem to display.

    Actually, we use a pooper scoooper daily. You shouldn’t leave dog poop in your yard for long anyway.

    Re: “outdoor dogs.” Dogs are social animals. They NEED to be near their people. Seperating a dog from humans for a long period is essentially torturing the dog with loneliness. That’s why so many dogs howl or bark when left outside alone.

    Dogs that smell or have bad breath need either more frequent bathing or dental care. Dogs should NEVER have bad breath. That is a red flag that the dog has serious dental disease that may have infiltrated the bloodstream. That can cause kidney, liver and other organ failures.

    A clean dog should smell much like a cat. Most dogs need a monthly bath, depending on coat type. A dog that smells bad when thoroughly dry is a literally dirty dog.

  37. @JennyCanuck: “Cats…they poop in a box.”

    Dogs…they poop outside!

    I wonder if there’s a preference based on gender. (Not sure about gender on some of the names listed.)

  38. I love cats. I bonded with a cat before I ever learned to bond with people.
    I have a cat who turns 13 this year, she still cuddles with me every night and tears around the house when she gets hyper. I had another cat until February of this year when he died suddenly (heart failure I think). I still miss him.
    I never used to be much of a dog person, I liked them well enough but meh. Now I want a dog. I don’t want to give up cats, but I would also like to live with just the right kind of dog. Need a house for that, though.
    Xerxes (the 13 year old)
    Zippy, RIP

  39. @catgirl:
    However, when people say the thing like most in a dog is unconditional worship and obedience, it makes me wonder about that person. That’s not something I find particularly admirable or desirable.

    Hmm, I suppose the kind of person who’d get a cat is the person who’s OK with performing the worship and obedience part (’cause cats wouldn’t have it any other way).

  40. @Amanda:

    Dogs are also grosser and more likely to eat your face or hump your leg.

    Amanda, Amanda, Amanda…

    Dogs are more likely to succeed at eating your face if they try, but they hardly ever try. All cats want to eat your face, but can’t do it. If they try, their owners’ Stockholm Syndrome kicks in and thinks it’s cute.

    Then that poor cat victim staggers into work or school, weak from blood loss, face looking like they used it to stop the car on a gravel road, saying something like “Mrs. Flufferkins was so cute this morning!” Everyone just nods, instead of doing the moral thing: calling the authorities.

    If Maria walked into work with a black eye from slipping in the shower, people would wonder if I hit her. If I attacked Maria with a broken bottle, those same people would assume we had a cat who was just a little “playful” or “frisky.”

    I’ll grant you the leg humping thing, but that’s easily curable. What is not curable is a cat that belongs to some friends here — the thing will get on your lap, purr, and knead your leg, but if you reach out to touch it, it’ll hiss like an asthmatic clearing his throat and take a swipe with it’s claws. Why? “She likes people, she just doesn’t like to be touched.” (Anyone think this is unusual cat behavior? Me neither.)

    Fortunately, the little monster is declawed, probably because it’s so hard to get blood out of upholstery.

    Dogs 4 evah.


  41. It’s a well-known fact that I loves mah puppies. Because they’za GOO’PUPPIES YES THEY ARE WHOOSA GOO’BOY DEN?


    Also, our friends that @phlebas references above actually say the cat “loves to be petted, but doesn’t like to be touched.”

    Not kidding.

  42. @phlebas: Okay, people like that ARE crazy. Psycho kitties need to be kept away from guests, not allowed to shred them. Well, unless you’re trying to send a subtle face-shredding message to said guests.

    In the same vein that the damn dog that weighs as much as I do needs to be kept the hell away from me instead of being allowed to carry out its obsession with sticking its nose into my crotch.

  43. @Amanda: But how do I know you DON’T want my dog to stick his nose into your crotch without experimenting? I am a man of science. I need to do some double-blind testing.

    Hmmm… I was about to ask why you never come down here to visit, but I may have answered my own question.

    But, yeah, I think if I was a small-ish person, I might have a different view of dogs. There aren’t many individual dogs I’ve met that I’ve ever considered physically intimidating, and most of those were oversized lap dogs no more threatening than a throw pillow.

    That said, I’ll take Dog Dependibility over Cat Disdain any day.

    If you get two dogs of the same litter, raise them the same way, treat them well, etc, you will normally end up with two sociable dogs with behavior inside the norm for their breed. There are always exceptions, of course, but in general. All you need to do is research the right dog for your life — no Bull Mastiffs in an efficiency apartment, etc.

    With cats, you can get two kittens from the same litter, raise them the same, treat them well, etc, and it is a FRAKKIN’ CRAP SHOOT what sort of cats you will get. Cuddly little purr factory? Maybe. Aloof roommate that glares at you when it wants food? Sure. Hissing, spitting Ginsu Knife display case making a beeline for your jugular? Could be. All three in the same cat? You betcha!


    Maybe we should reintroduce the Pet Rock.

  44. @Amanda:
    In the same vein that the damn dog that weighs as much as I do needs to be kept the hell away from me instead of being allowed to carry out its obsession with sticking its nose into my crotch.

    Exactly. Cats that size are usually referred to as “Lions” or “Tigers”, and most people don’t have those as pets anyway.
    So a pet cat is a certain average size.

    Pet dogs range from the size of a small rat to the size of a small elephant, and pretty much all of them bark, ranging from annoying, incessant high pitched yapping to growling and excessively loud dogs keeping all the neighbours in a three blocks radius awake at night.

  45. With cats, you can get two kittens from the same litter, raise them the same, treat them well, etc, and it is a FRAKKIN’ CRAP SHOOT what sort of cats you will get. Cuddly little purr factory? Maybe. Aloof roommate that glares at you when it wants food? Sure. Hissing, spitting Ginsu Knife display case making a beeline for your jugular? Could be. All three in the same cat? You betcha!


  46. @phlebas: It’s not so much Stockholm Syndrome as masochism, I think.

    I like a pet that looks at me and thinks, “Meh, I could do better.” Keeps you humble. Or, you can fight back by bringing out a toy mousie on a string so that all the cat’s dignity goes right out the window.

    @exarch: Exactly. Little dogs usually need a dose of Prozac and/or anger management therapy and big dogs set off my, “Ah! It’s gonna eat your face!” primal instinct.

  47. I’m more of a cat person. I have never really had a dog, but my aunts and grandpap have always had big dogs that would knock me down everytime i came to visit. I was only about 1 or 2 when i got knocked down and hurt (not badly) by a big dog. I don’t dislike dogs, but i don’t have very good memories with them. I tend to like cats more because they don’t drool all over the place, bark, and they aren’t as aggressive as dogs.

  48. @Amanda: I could live with a cat that just looked at me and went “eh… whatev… feed me, dumbass.”

    What unsettles me is that any of those cats can go from “eh” to “OMG YOU DIE NOW FUGGER” in less than a heartbeat because you did something horrible, like try to get it off the curtains.

    I have known decent cats. My mom had a Himalayan named Ming who was wicked cool. But a cat that cool is always a surprise. Most of the rest are of the “don’t make eye contact, and don’t step over him, and only approach from the left side unless he’s sleeping in a sunbeam, in which case you must chant softly and burn some mint-scented potpourri and OH CHRIST DO NOT TOUCH HIS SQUEAKY WEAKY MOUSEY WOUSEY!” type.

    This is why I don’t trust testimony from cat owners — if it’s not Stockholm Syndrome, it’s old-fashioned fear. As I read some of the posts from cat lovers, I imagine them furiously blinking SOS in morse code while they are typing.

    I think it’s because people have started giving them two names. I’m looking at you, Zapski!

  49. @phlebas: Ozzie Saint Joe sez “Awl kittehs haz moar than 1 names.”

    In fact my cats, the aforementioned Eppi Grendel and Ozzie Saint Joe, also go by “Cutie-Booty” “Fuzzy-Butt” and “Goddammitcat!”

  50. Some of my favorite cat quotes:

    From Neil Gaiman’s Coraline (for @Zapski):
    The cat yawned slowly, carefully, revealing a mouth and tongue of astounding pinkness. “Cats don’t have names,” it said.

    “No?” said Coraline.

    “No,” said the cat. “Now, you people have names. That’s because you don’t know who you are. We know who we are, so we don’t need names.”

    And from Terry Pratchett’s Lords and Ladies:
    Terry Pratchett:

    “If cats looked like frogs we’d realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are. Style. That’s what people remember.”


  51. @Zapski:

    I am going to blame T.S. Eliot for some of this. He took normal cat worship and elevated it into what passes (for some) as high art, and then got rendered as a generally unwatchable musical. (I do like Elaine Paige’s original version of “Memory” though.)

    Cats aren’t going to come when you call them, so naming them is useful only for identifying them for the vet. Calling a cat something like “Lady Isabella Meowington-Smythe” does not make the cat seem regal, it makes the cat’s owner seem demented. To everyone else, its name is “Stop Clawing My Leg You Stupid Fucking Cat”!

    Dogs at least react to their names. They may not stop humping your until-recently good loafer, but they might at least look at you to see what you want.

  52. @phlebas: My cat comes when called. Everytime. Comes running. Just like a dog. The only cat I have ever seen that was smart enough to know it’s own name. Most are just much too stupid to learn them. They are only slightly more intelligent than lizards.

  53. @phlebas: Yeah, I’m not a fan of the musical Cats either, and the TS Elliot stuff is moderately amusing at best.

    No, mine have multiple names for other reasons. Eppi Grendel was originally just Grendel, but my Mom insisted that she have a prettier name, thus Eppi. Most of the time she’s only Eppi, but I keep the Grendel for my own amusement.

    Ozzie Saint Joe has a longer and more uninteresting story. Suffice it to say that he started out as just Ozzie.

    And all cats are named some variant of Goddamitcat at some point, just as all dogs are at some point named Baddogbad.

    In any event, none of the four cats I have lived with (all at the same time) have done anything worse than claw a carpet, and that was easily dealt with. They’re never mean to people, and only hiss at each other.

    The sad thing is that when you’re a bachelor, one cat is OK. Two cats are fine too, since they’re friends, right? Three cats and you start to be “That guy with all the cats.”

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