I am a pet person. You could say that I prefer animals to people, but that is not entirely true. I love my children. I have some good friends. My husband makes the list most of the time. But someone said once that “You can’t trust a person that doesn’t like animals.” Or was it “If a dog doesn’t like someone, you shouldn’t, either?” They are both right. It doesn’t matter, because I don’t really want to compare pet people to non-pet people. 

Instead, let’s talk about the pets themselves. I have had both dogs and cats. I have to admit to only two dogs and probably dozens of cats in my life. So I guess I am partial to cats. I think it is because cats have grace and beauty. They can jump really high. But I think the purr is what really sets cats apart. Some scientific study proved that purring is similar to heavy drugs—it lowers blood pressure and stuff. All I know is that purring is bliss. Some people say that having a dog lick one’s face is a similar experience. I have never found saliva to be that comforting. But perhaps I just have higher expectations when it comes to bliss. 

I love dogs. Don’t misunderstand. They have such a propensity for adoration. My late pup never wanted to leave the house without me. She looked back at me beseechingly when someone other than I tried to take her out for a walk. That look could melt anyone’s heart. I think that dogs’ undying loyalty and bravery is undeniable. 

But really, cats are so entertaining. They can turn themselves nearly inside out at will. They have gorgeous, marble-like eyes. And they are so soft. And they chase themselves around the house just for the hell of it. 

The crux of the matter is this: dogs love everybody. If you have bad breath, no internal editing mechanism, and absolutely no sense of humor, your dog will love you, anyway. However, those same attributes will cause any self-respecting cat to spurn you. Cats are very sensitive to things like terrible jokes and halitosis. If you insist on eating all that garlic and using your outside voice, don’t get a cat. It will flee from you at every opportunity. And forget purring altogether. 

I like to think that my cats love me because I am incredibly sensitive, have high aesthetic values, and a big vocabulary. My cats appreciate the fact that I know they hate that canned food with gravy, and so I don’t serve it to them. My cats enjoy crime dramas, and they never watch Downton Abbey, because of the Labrador retriever. My cats prefer their water fresh and with ice. 

Once, my garbage disposal kind of erupted, and sticky black stuff spewed forth. My dog ate it. Then she got diarrhea all over the Persian rug in the living room. Compare and contrast. 

So in conclusion, let me say this: a life without pets is lonely, indeed. If intellectual stimulation is what you crave, get a cat. But if you just want to let it all hang out, eat pizza, and belch at will, your dog will think you are Albert Einstein. 

This is why I keep telling my five cats that we need another dog.

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