The other day as I was reenacting scenes from Twin Peaks with my two cats, I thought to myself; “Dog people are so ridiculous”. It happened as I was putting plastic wrap on my boy cat who was portraying Laura Palmer and sleeping at the time. I know, I know... it seems like odd casting for a boy cat, but unfortunately for him he looks a lot more like Laura Palmer than my girl cat, who is a dead ringer for Special Agent Cooper, and was also sleeping at the time.The plastic wrap was what made me think about how dog owners have to follow their dogs around cleaning up their shit. Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs. It’s just that they are so high maintenance. Cats on the other hand sleep about 18 hours a day and can be left alone days, if not months at a time, without ever knowing you were gone.
Pat, despite the fact that he has two cats and no dogs, claims to be a dog person. Why?
Pat: Alright, let’s clear the air on a couple of things first.
I’ve never seen Twin Peaks. The TV show or the movie. Sorry. I know-- how can anyone who claims to be a member of the tail end of Generation X consider himself relevant when he has not experienced the mastery of Lynchian TV? I don’t know, but I haven’t seen it, I was never much into Nirvana (and still aren’t, though by god I’ve tried), and I’ve never experimented with Veganism.
Assuming it’s okay to proceed, I also need to let you know that, though you are correct in describing me as a dog person who happens to own cats, I need to correct one important detail: we did in fact own TWO cats until about two months ago. At that time we learned that one of our cats had been eaten by a coyote. Yes, tragic. Yes, hard for the kids to deal with. Yes, life is a bit easier with one less cat. Yes, I am an insensitive asshole.
Assuming it’s still okay to proceed, I’ll address the dog issue.
Yes, they are high maintenance, but only if you are what I call a “new generation” dog owner, which is the kind I guess groups like PETA and the ASPCA endorse. These are the people who treat their dogs as equal or MORE revered members of their families, such as every pet owner in Boulder, Colorado (heres a link). I am not one of those people.
Yet I still love dogs. For the very selfish reason that dogs love me. Stupidly, without question, and with undying loyalty...dogs love me. Looking at me with excited adoration every time they see me, as though it’s the first time or as though I am rescuing them from certain doom, and longing to cover my face with slobbery licks...dogs love me. More than cats. Or at least more than my cats--excuse me, my CAT-- show me. I need direct, overt love, not the kind of cat-love that requires inference and trust.
Christian: That’s funny. Cats, in general, tend to really love me, which is maybe why I really like them. But actually dogs tend to really love me too, so maybe not. Actually almost all animals seem to really love me. Except fish. They seem rather indifferent.
What I’m basically saying is that cats can love you just as much as dogs can. In fact I don’t think there is anything dogs can do that cats can’t.
Want to go for a walk? Grab that leash...
Want to teach them to do tricks? Go right ahead...
Want to play frisbee? No problem...
So why go with a dog?
Pat: Y’know...you’re right. Dogs might be either overrated or too much of a commitment, what with this new era of responsible pet-ownership. But you know what? I don’t want a cat. Know what I want? A pet OTTER!
Christian: OK, I’m convinced. Sea otter it is. I mean just look how adorable they are. Maybe put a glass of scotch in that last one’s hands instead of beer. It’s like having your own little aquatic butler.
Questions though. How much work are they? I’m cool with filling the kiddie pool out back with some water and pouring some salt in it (kosher salt is fine right?). But do I need to do anything else?
What about when I go on vacation? Of course I’ll leave them with a can of sardines or something but can I leave them at home or do we have to take them with us? Can you take them on board a plane?
Pat: Yeah, that’s the thing. I heard that they are the most expensive animal to keep at our local zoo...even more than elephants and walking sticks and red pandas. Apparently it’s because they are VERY finicky about the freshness of their seafood. Not sure that can of sardines is gonna do the trick.
Planes? Completely not sure.
Leave ‘em at home alone? Sure...why not? This one was left alone and he did just fine:
Christian: OK, so they are incredibly expensive to maintain and may not travel well but they can be left home alone. Sign me up. The ability to be left home alone is actually the most important quality I look for in a pet. That and it must not have any desire to eat me.
Pat: Hey, guess what, man? Since we started this conversation, we’ve acquired two new cats. Kittens, technically, but I know they’re going to turn into cats in due time. Wanna’ know something? Never, EVER, use the words “maybe”, “kittens”, and “for” “your” “birthday” in the same sentence. Especially without consulting the other parent of your children.
Want our old one? He’ll make a GREAT Laura Palmer!
Christian: No thanks. But if you have one that looks like Sheriff Harry S. Truman I’ll take it!