In the age-old battle of Cats VS Dogs, I have always been on the Dog side for as long as I can remember. That same-named movie did little to reenforce my view that Cats were Evil, despite the quality of the movie. I even managed to raise two German Shepherds, the ultimate Good Boys (and girl, of course) and have been as devote to Mans’ Best Friend as they have to me. When I lost one of my dogs to an illness, I wondered how it was possible to love another creature as much as that.
So when my circumstances changed and I moved into a flat on my own (the dogs are still in the family, don’t worry) I was irritated when everyone’s advice was to get a cat. A cat?! The mother of all Evil? Those cold, calculating, unloving creatures could never equal up to a Dog! I was planning on creating the ideal circumstances to get another dog- a piece of heaven- and I didn’t want to burden myself with a notoriously aloof animal in the meantime.
However, loneliness is hard to live with and I eventually succumbed. One standoffish animal would be better company than nothing, I reasoned, and I had a plan. One cat could avoid me; two had a lesser chance. So, I resolved to go and find two friendly cats- if such a thing were possible.
There were many cats at the Cat’s Protection League shelter- a UK based cat adoption shelter- a few came as pairs and would be sent to new homes that way. But most were taken, despite people’s lack of appetite for ‘two for one’. Except for the two black cats crouched in one ‘cubby hole’, staring obliquely at visitors. No one was interested in Hank and Nemo, the overweight black monster cuddled next to his diminutive wife/sister?
I wasn’t planning on two black cats, to be honest, they looked hard to tell apart and weren’t exactly photogenic, plus I had no idea how to take a cat to fat-camp. But they’ve proved to be a blessing for me: Gus is practically dog-like in his behaviour and is as affectionate (to the point of clinginess) and kind as any canine and Macey is a purring machine. Oh yeah, I changed their names: new names, new start.
And there was more change; I had to move for various reasons and ended up living with my sister and her own German Shepherd (GSD) dog, Khaleesi. The cats have been growling, hissing and waving puffy tails for weeks. Today, they are staring at the TV non-plussed while lying calmly on Leesi’s own bed, while she is demoted to my sister’s feet.
This has given me a new appreciation of cats- after all the hype around them, I never knew that they could be so generous with their own love. They may not be dogs and master’s of their own, but they’re perfectly willing to lend their hearts, provided it’s handled with delicateness.
The female cat (left) is a quieter girl but more than tough enough to stand on her own four paws. She has a delicate meow but can terrify a dog with a single hiss. Macey loves to curl up on you, even lying on my hips when I lie on my side. She has a fondness for pillows, the windowsill, and befriending people. Oh, and she snores louder than any man I’ve known.
Gus is a big softy. Literally. He will trample down anything to eat more than his fair share (and is now dieting henceforth) but is reduced to a sad gaze if he can’t cuddle next to you. He’s a coward who needs moral support from his sister but gives his heart away to the closest fusser. No matter where you are, Gus truly believes he should be too- more a lap-dog than a alley-prowler.
These cats chose love over anger when they had to be rehomed after their elderly owner couldn’t take care of them, and resilience is their strong point. Time and time again, they’ve shown me that they’re not a substitute for a dog; they’re friends in their own right.
So who wins the war? As a once-Dog-only lover, I have to admit in a draw: Dog’s are Man’s Best Friend but I now believe that Cats are their Wingmen.