Dogs v Cats: Who pets it better?


Eight months ago, I moved houses to rent with a friend. My flatmate, E, happens to be cat sitting two sibling cats: Osiris and Odin. Come November, the two cats will move back in with their owner. I consider myself lucky: I have lived with cats in Auckland and a dog in Mumbai.

This made me wonder, between dogs and cats which is my ideal pet?

So in this essay I will compare my life with the two animals and their characteristics.

Also, this post is based solely on my experiences. All of the points listed in this post are subjective and nothing is set in stone. You are welcome to disagree with me.

I would be comparing the two cats: Odin and Osiris with my dog Jimmy. Jimmy is about 10 years old now, and I have not lived with him for the last three years. So, I will be comparing the younger version of Jimmy with the cats.

Side-note, currently in Mumbai, my mom has adopted another dog Snowy. She is vastly different from Jimmy but I have not spent a large amount of time with her, I will not try to compare her. Snowy is adorable though.

Happiness:

There is probably no contest between Jimmy and the cats on who is better at expressing their happiness. Jimmy had a habit of running around (when he was younger), jumping and wagging his tail whenever someone comes home.

He had this habit of standing on his back legs and grabbing something from my hand, run back and sit on the couch or bed opposite the door. He would wait there, wagging his tail for me to come and take my stuff back and pet him. I always loved that routine.

Just seeing his picture makes me happy. My brother and I brought him home. We fed him, watched him grow from an adorable puppy to a grumpy old dog.

I never knew the cats when they were young, didn’t have a lot of memories with them. However, I knew I was a cat person before I moved in with E.

The cats are lovely. They are tiny, their skulls smaller than my palm, weighing about two kilos. The first time they sat on my lap, I was astonished. Now, I write this post with Odin sitting on my left arm.

The cats rub their bodies against my shin. They headbutt, purr and meow. Their presence induces a more calm energy. They wait by the door as I unlock the door and scatter as I enter the house. Then they strut back towards me as I call them, stretch and lay on the floor just beyond my reach. I have to go towards them and pet them.

Jimmy loved to stand on his hind legs and look out of the window down at the world beyond. He would bark when he would see another dog, howl when he would identify one of the family walking away from him. Odin sits at the front door window, curious about the world beyond the door even though he can go out anytime he want to via the cat door.

Osiris just like to sleep. As close to me or E as possible. He would jump on the bed, slide his way into the duvet and just cuddle with me. He would place his head into my armpit, the inner side of my elbow, against my throat or just curl against my chest and fall asleep. Every day, at around 7am he would come into my bed and cuddle. I am always glad he does that.

Jimmy was never a dog who loved cuddles. He would be happily asleep against my brother but not with anyone else. He would gladly take everyone else’s bed and fall asleep but he preferred to have his own space.

Scratches?

There is this popular Instagram post telling the difference the spots where one can scratch the cat and the dog.

It is mostly accurate but not completely.

Jimmy loves head scratches & neck scratches. He would stretch his neck when I found that perfect spot when scratching him. He enjoys belly rubs but its the neck that he enjoys most. Additionally, while being Jimmy, he would start scratching in the air with his hind legs. It is hilarious.

Osiris and Odin: they love scratches. They will headbutt me, meow loudly and sit on my chest as I work on my laptop to get me to give them scratches. As I scratch them, they purr.

I have never heard cats purr this loud before, they sound like a car engine on idle. When they sit on my chest and purr, I can feel the intensity.

Maintenance:

Jimmy got increasingly picky he grew older. He would only eat meat and anything which tasted like meat. Food had to be prepared specially so that he could smell chicken. If he doesn’t like it, he wouldn’t eat it. He would walk away from the food bowl with a look of disappointment.

The cats aren’t picky eaters. They need their dry food bowl full at all times. They need their wet food to be served at a fixed time otherwise they will start meowing at me to remind me.

Jimmy never liked being washed. He hated it, would slump every time I would try to get him into the bathroom. He would whimper and bark whenever I cleaned him up.

The cats on the other hand, they don’t have to ever be washed. They clean themselves. E only has to brush them. They hate it. They whine, sometimes hiss at her but since she is holding them by the nape of their necks, they can’t do anything. After E is done, there is handful of fur collected and disposed off.

Jimmy has to be walked regularly. We never got him trained enough to let him off the leash: partly because we were always afraid that he would get run over. Living in India, we had seen enough dogs be run over that we could never risk it with Jimmy.

I can let the cats out of the house. If we don’t, they just use the cat door. Usually I would find them lounging on our porch or underneath my bird feeder staring at all the sparrows.

I (usually E) just have to clean out their litter box whenever they use.

Damages:

Jimmy. Hands down.

He has chewed my jeans, home furniture, wires, TV remotes, LAN cables, a mobile phone and a couple of jandals/slippers. And every time I would tell him no, he would find something else to chew.

As the years went on, his incidences decreased as well.

Cats on the other hand, just want to sit on my lap. Press all of the keys on my laptop. Play with the power cable.

Conclusion

Jimmy is definitely more work. But his ability to express joy on meeting me is unparalleled.

The warmth from cuddling Osiris and a purring Odin is unparalleled.

Jimmy required long walks and heaps of play time. Cats are easy, perfect pets for someone renting houses.

However, after Novemeber, I am sure I am going to miss Osiris and Odin, just as I miss Jimmy.

I think this comic sums up this post perfectly:

Walking My Dog is Heartbreaking


That’s Jimmy, we brought him home in April five years ago. We still don’t know when he was born, we adopted him from the street. This morning when I walked him I couldn’t do it without tears in my eyes.

Walking Jimmy has always been an important task of the day for me, I trained him so I walked him most of the times and not my elder brother. Parents hardly walk him because then Jimmy is the one in control and he is a total brat with my parents. I love walking him, I have used walking him as an excuse to walk away from family when I am angry or sad, I walked him so that I can forget about a girl or I wanted to think things over. He is the perfect companion, always laughing. Sometimes I seriously wonder if he knows my mood and his demeanour changes accordingly, if it does then I don’t know how he does it.

Last couple of days he has taken ill, he doesn’t eat and there is a sprain or muscle injury in right hind leg. He limps. Back when he was healthy, coming home I would be greeted by his sloppy kisses, the thumping of his wagging tail and infinite energy. It was either that reaction to my homecoming or he would fall down asleep because he is too sleepy and my coming home had disturbed his sleep.

But I know he was happy to see me. He looked cute, peaceful in his sleep. I have previously written about him here.

In the last two days, things have changed. Now he wouldn’t get up from the corner of the room that he has occupied. No wagging tails, no drooling tongue and no grinning welcome. He doesn’t even lift his head. My mom cries helpless looking at him. I sit next to him and comb his fur. He had lost weight I can see, his fur is thinning out. The light in his eyes is not the same, he looks in agony.

He is no longer happy to see me.

I took him to the vet and got him checked up. Vet suggested that I would let him rest and if he doesn’t start eating then I should bring him in again today evening. I was glad that mom didn’t come along too, she wouldn’t have kept her cool if she saw him wailing in pain.

He is eating but only sparingly, not with the same viciousness that he used to devour food. I kept my worries in check, kept my emotions in check because only I will be taking him to the vet, only I can stand by and not cry while he wails when injected. But it is so difficult not to.

Today I took him to walk. Usually he is full of energy, he would be the one to lead and I would be the one who is pulled by him. Today his trot was slower, clearly favoring his right leg. Head and tail drooped, he looked so old today. He was already past his energetic days, but today he looked frail.

Frail but stubborn because he still walked his usual long route. I tried to make him walk for less distance, give him rest but he wouldn’t. The whole twenty-five minutes this morning I looked at him walking and it hurt.

I still can’t stop the tears from welling up in my eyes, three hours after. He walked cautiously then suddenly decided he has to lead and try to canter, stop before he would hurt himself. While returning home, he took two steps and stopped, this happened a lot of times. I tried to carry him but he would wiggle out of my hands, he didn’t want to be carried. The bastard has his pride, he has to walk the same distance and he will walk back without my aid.

I tried to encourage him, telling him thoda dur (just a little far) but my throat clenched up in a try or two. All I could do was to touch his back and hope he gets the message. He always sits downstairs in the building compound and today he made no exception. He  sat on his hunches, ignoring my pull and stared at every passer-by. I know he was in pain, otherwise he would be grinning. Uncomfortable but he still was unwilling to drop his routine for some comfort. He sat on his hunches and he looked more proud today that on any other day.

Somehow we managed to climb to the third floor, he could barely walk now. I could barely watch. Inside the house he went back to occupy his new customary corner while I sat facepalmed telling myself that Jimmy would be alright

He will be alright.

Jimmy