Dogs (and cats)

Dogs have soothed the souls of lonely, bitter men for time immemorial.  Cats have done similar for women, but can their application be easily demarcated and reasoned by gender?

To me, cats fundamentally appear more feminine: flighty, aloof and unpredictable, pretty and confident and choosy; yet not loyal.  They will go anywhere for food or affection.  You could reasonably argue that the latter points apply equally to dogs, although my hunch is they would be more obviously inclined to identify their owner, and stay close.

Dogs’ affection is less calculated than cats, possibly because they are more dumb, trusting and forgiving creatures.  If you have children who mistreat cats and swing them around by their tails, they will leave.  It’s how ours adopted us when I was small; that and my coaxing.  The then villainous toddler is now standing for election as a Liberal Democrat councillor.  Not sure if there’s any connection.

Dogs are stupider than cats, more male and gullible – as anyone who has ever feigned the throw of a stick, whether they have something in their hands or not, will testify.  Cats are less likely to be duped.  The eagerness and willingness to be excited, to look really pleased to see you and wag their tails and grin, yes grin, and not want anything except your attention: that can’t help but be warming.  The unadulterated pleasure, the transparent zest for life, for walks or for food: that cannot help but be partially infectious.

The cat equivalent?  A sprightly approach, a nuzzle, a where’s my food?

For the avoidance of doubt, the dogs I refer to here are proper sized dogs.  Most certainly not yappy little accessory hounds with weird faces, but not massive Dobermans or Rottweilers either.  Mid-size family pets.

Pet allegiances often depend on preferences formed at a young age, according to your strongest bond with a pet.  Mine was to a dog 6 weeks my senior who I’ll never forget.  Since then I’ve hankered for one of my own.  That craving has grown with the years I’ve spent living alone, and more recently working alone from the same place.  Just having a soft furry canine presence on the floor that calmingly mooches about the place, something to look after and walk and nurture, and give reason and structure and routine, a living breathing body to look pleased to see you when you come home; that would be brilliant.

Well, much better than nothing, better than a row of meals for one and that last lonely can of Guinness.

As a mildly pathetic bloke who searches, mostly fruitlessly, for recognition wherever he can get it, having a dog would surely be an easy win for the ego.  LOOK!  SOMEONE LOVES ME!  They require considerably less effort than women.

But owning them can be attractive to females, albeit probably just batshit crazy ones.  You see it in films so it must be true.  It mightn’t offer the level of human validation that wheeling a cute toddler down a high street in a pushchair does, (in that brief spell a few days ago, not a single attractive woman walked past and I wanted a refund of some kind) – yet it does suggest a base-level of responsibility and care.

Sadly, tenancy agreements for those perpetual renters of property, as I am, never allow such luxuries.  Not beyond fish, if you can even call them pets.  Or maybe, at a push, silly halfway pets like rodents or rabbits.  I want a proper dog.


2 Responses to Dogs (and cats)

  1. Blonde says:

    Cats are flighty, I agree – but I like their independence. If I wanted something that was so utterly reliant on me for everything, I’d have a child.

  2. Redbookish says:

    Oh, I’m a dog lover. I still dream about my old Border Collie (and my favourite pony, but that’s another story). My Ladybird was a talker and very intelligent and the epitome of unconditional love. But I do a regular annual cat-sitting gig in DC with an extremely masculine & difficult cat. After three years of looking after him, he does now deign to let me pick him up.

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