My neighbor’s cat hunts my dog. It’s serious. I’ll be walking Ripley in the apartment building courtyard; I’ll turn around and see Nugget. And I didn’t even notice she was outside a moment before. Nugget is that good at what she does. She’s young—probably about seven or eight months. A gray tabby cat with bright green eyes, and I swear her markings blend into the green grass like camouflage.
Ripley has tried to investigate this blood-thirsty feline beast, and I quite enjoy it, because most of the time, my dog annoys me. And Nugget kicks her ass. First, the cat goes into what my friend, Jenny, calls “Hallowee-ee-een cat pose.” She curves her spine up, stands on her toes, and her tail puffs up like a dang porcupine. Then, with perfect balance (Nugget must do yoga), the cat raises one paw and holds it—poised above Ripley’s protruding black nose—and then, smack, smACK, SMACK!!! She smacks my dog in the face.
I love it, because as I’ve always known, I am partial to cats, not dogs. Actually owning a dog has further proved this point. Don’t get me wrong: I love Ripley, most of the time. Then, when I’m desperately behind on a deadline, and she wants to eat everything she’s NOT SUPPOSED TO EAT, I start crying and consider cracking open a beer at, say, ten AM. I’m not maternal, and having a puppy that refuses to behave stresses me out. Ask Jake—poor guy. I’ve been largely mean and angry for the past two weeks.
Then, I see Nugget, and I think, “Now that’s a good pet.”
I don’t think this comes down to a simple cats are cuter than dogs scenario, because they’re all cute in their own ways. It comes down to their personalities. It is the general consensus that dogs have better personalities than cats. This may be true, but here’s my hypothesis—the reason why I have always been a cat person and not a dog person …
Cats are like women; dogs are like men. This is a generalization, but it’s a generalization I can easily use to sum up Jake and me.
Jake is cheerful, loving, dedicated, intelligent, playful … the list goes on. It is very difficult to bring this guy down. He’s an optimist. He is humble. He takes criticism well, and he learns from his mistakes. Thankfully, he is also patient, and he is comfortable peeing outside.
I, on the other hand, can sometimes be overwhelmingly bitchy, moody, and negative. I get angry about stupid things, and I will attack if provoked. I am impatient, terrible at taking criticism, and have a nasty evil eye. I love sleeping, and I don’t like little children. Are you beginning to see the parallels??
Jake is a dog; I am a cat. This gives new meaning to the whole men-and-women-are-from-different-planets thing. We’re completely different species! I suppose this is why Jake is so good with Ripley, and I am so not good with Ripley. Jake understands her, whereas I have invented new cuss words, just for my sweet puppy.
I suppose having a dog is a test for someone with my volatile personality. My mother went to this women’s ministry event at my old church in Ohio last weekend, and she called me afterwards. She said, “Everything happens for a reason, and maybe God put Ripley in your life so that you can learn something.” My response was, “God wanted me to learn that I don’t want kids?” This was not what she wanted to hear.
Nugget and I have a lot in common. She’s sneaky, and she likes to keep her coat pretty and clean. However, I’m beginning to think I could become more like Ripley, with a lot of work. I do want to be more patient, humble, and loving. I guess as Ripley grows into a more responsible and dependable critter, I will, too. Maybe.