Memes and myths abound about the differences in dogs and cats:
- Dogs are faithful companions; cats are aloof.
- Dogs have masters; cats have servants.
- Dogs are forgiving; cats hold a grudge forever.
While some trends may hold true within a species, individual personalities and past experiences influence the way every animal evolves from their species blueprint into themselves as an individual.
- People are kind; humans are barbaric.
- People are nurturing; humans are ruthless.
- People are generous; humans are stingy.
While some trends may hold true within the human species, individual personalities and past experiences influence the way every person evolves from their species blueprint into themselves as an individual.
Even though every animal is an individual, the dog vs cat memes contain a seed of truth about their species personality. So, when we talk about dogs and cats and the way they show their love for us, what’s the difference? It’s a deep subject, but just for fun, here’s what it looks like when we’re wading in the shallows:
Dogs are like our friends who would follow us into a life of crime and sit in jail with us, reminiscing about how much fun we had breaking the law.
Cats are like our friends who would answer the phone in the middle of the night and bail us out of jail, then chew us up and spit us out over our wrongheaded decisions on the car ride home.
Dogs are like our friends who would tell us we look great in the rhinestone-studded flipflops we bought to wear to a black-tie event that cost $1,000 just to walk in the door. (They’d also bite anyone who made fun of us for our inappropriate attire.)
Cats are like our friends who would tackle us and knock us to the pavement before they’d let us go out in public wearing that ridiculous getup. (They’d also scratch anyone who made fun of us for our inappropriate attire.)
Cats understand that tough love is love too. Dogs know that no matter how you slice it, love is love. Maybe we humans can learn from our animal companions that both can be true at the same time.
Dogs may be quick to look the other way when we misbehave or fail to fulfill our obligations. Cats may be more apt to let us know in stark terms that we’re not living up to expectations. But just as any individual dog can be catlike, any individual cat can have a doglike personality.
It’s not a bad idea to ask your animal companions for a report card every now and then. Especially if you notice that they’re acting out of sorts. If your cat’s giving you the cold shoulder, ask, “How am I doing? Is the litter box clean enough for your liking?” If your dog’s being super-needy, ask, “Are you getting enough playtime? Are our walks long enough to suit you?”
Thankfully, if we neglect checking in with our animal family members often enough, they’ll let us know. They will use whatever means they have at their disposal to clue us in when some situation in the multispecies family matrix has gone sideways.
So, the next time someone you love pees on your shoes, instead of yelling, apologize for forcing them to take such drastic action, and ask them if they’re trying to tell you something you really need to hear.