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Appreciative, but still not a cat person - Tactical Ninja

Jun. 5th, 2013

09:27 am - Appreciative, but still not a cat person

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Urk. I've been wearing my long black coat these last couple of southerly days, and I just realised that it's made of the perfect worn suede look fabric to replicate the Renegade's Coat. A sensible girl would not cut up her winter coat to make cosplay she'll never wear. A sensible girl would go and try to find something similar in shops, then stomp it around in the mud a bit till it looks worn, right?

Am I a sensible girl?

Sometimes.


Mum Wheel came and took the cats home last night. They seemed somewhat unperturbed by their sudden swooping and depositing into cages, and this time they didn't have to share a cage so they were probably quite a lot happier.

Meanwhile, as a lifelong dog person who's had the occasional cat but never quite so intensively, I thought I'd have a bash at reviewing cats in apartments as pets.

Pros: They are entertaining, especially when you give them drugs. However, dogs don't need drugs to be entertaining, they are generally high on life. I guess the difference is that with cats, you can switch them off quite easily, and because they are basically lazy, they don't require exercise and don't get all annoying and insistent when you just want to sit on your arse. Instead, they will sit on you and enable your own laziness with their furry contentment. They are also warm and soft to stroke and unlike dogs, they don't leave quite the same film of themselves on your skin wherever they touch you. And, having a cat around is kind of like having the smell of coffee or baking bread in your house - it makes it kind of homey.

So that's the good stuff. I'll miss them for this.

Cons: Litter boxes. Ew. Especially ew if you have extra taste buds and thus can't ignore the smell when they take a dump first thing in the morning, just before you get up - so the start of every day is dealing with litter boxes. And then they go "Ooh, clean litter box!" and use it again because it's clean. Picking up dog poo is much drier, more sporadic, and less in-your-face because it's outside. Next on the con list: fur. Frodo as a standard tabby wasn't too bad but Derpy as a Persian appears to grow it twice as fast and shed it twice as fast, and because of his deformed face he can't clean himself properly so it comes out in clumps and gets on everything. Like, in my mouth while I'm sleeping, and on clothes I haven't even pulled out of the wardrobe since they arrived. Add to this that one of my closest friends is allergic and this in itself would be enough for me to veto having cats on a permanent basis. But the fur OMG THE FUR! On EVERYTHING! Did I mention how the fur got on everything? Seriously, starting this evening we will be washing all the cushion covers and blankets and bedding, then having the carpets and upholstery steam cleaned. Because FUR! And general cat miasma. Even us who are not allergic found ourselves with generally stuffier noses this month.

And yes, dogs shed fur too, but I have nearly always had outside dogs, and even when I lived with grist and we had two dogs inside, I could keep First and her excessive undercoat away from my wardrobe, out of my bed and separated from my tonsils. Dog fur doesn't float in the air like cat fur does - it'll get on your clothes if you cuddle them and on the floor and their bed, but not in your dinner.

Another con, which is also a bit of a pro I guess, is their entitlement. I really dislike when animals try to beg food when I'm eating. This stems from having been a shepherd with 6 dogs, and having my cheese sandwich on a hill somewhere with a dozen eyes following my every move and half a dozen mouths drooling incessantly - I learned very quickly to teach them a command that means "Fuck right off over there and don't even look at me till I tell you to." Cats, on the other hand, seem to take my desire not to share my lunch as a personal affront, which requires more insistent behaviour. Frodo in particular thought the had a right to not only see what I'm eating by being up there with me, but to check out my finished plate as well. I taught him not to, but at cost to our relationship. Dogs do not take it personally when you don't let them scarf your food out from under you.

The upside of this is that Frodo at least was talky. He had a vocabulary of about half a dozen different meows, that he'd use to communicate different things, and that was kind of cool.

Finally, scratching. Sure, we could have got them a scratching post, but I've seen how some cats prefer the carpet and the furniture anyway, and it's just something I'd rather not deal with. I think our carpet isn't too badly damaged, but even after several clear explanations of why that behaviour is unacceptable, both cats would blatantly do it in front of us anyway. Little shits. Yes, dogs tend to be diggy, or have other natural tendencies that are frustrating to deal with (for First it was her inborn OCD about watching, which led to tracks being worn wherever she'd pace back and forth). But dogs at least have the decency to look guilty when you catch them at it. Cats are all like "What do you mean stop tearing up the carpet? Why the hell should I?"

Don't get me wrong, I like cats and I will miss our two. They were nice to have around and in the future time I would like to have a cat again - in fact, I would like to have two, because two seem happier and are definitely more entertaining. But it'll be at a time and place where they can go outside, and where I can control how much of my life is filled with their fur. Apartment cats, in my opinion, are lovely to see and touch, but unlovely to hear, smell and taste. Their miasma and general presence is too invasive when you can't get away from it, and I would eventually start to dislike them for something they can't help.

It's also made me think twice about my desire to own a whippet. Whippets are indoor dogs, and I suspect that having any animal as a permanent indoor one would make me resentful eventually. Hmm..


tl;dr: Dog person spends a month living with cats, decides dogs are still better, explains why. I've no doubt lots of people disagree.

Comments:

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From:ferrouswheel
Date:June 4th, 2013 09:40 pm (UTC)
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To be fair, you'd have to live with two dogs in an apartment for an unbiased review.

Not that I'm volunteering we do that. ;-p
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From:tatjna
Date:June 4th, 2013 09:42 pm (UTC)
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Oh come on, where's your sense of adventure? ;-)

And you're right, although I did do that when I lived with grist and found it much easier, but at least one of the dogs was outside at night and the other one didn't go in my room.

My preference is definitely having both cats and dogs, with both having access and relatively large bits of time spent outdoors.
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From:anna_en_route
Date:June 4th, 2013 10:00 pm (UTC)
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Our outdoor cat tends to behave more like a dog...she follows you endlessly wagging her tail and whining for attention (when she's not trying to hunt me for sport).

She scratches quite a lot but fortunately only at our (admittedly ratty and old) furniture.

Basically as long as there's a human nearby who is willing to put up with her, she's lovely.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 4th, 2013 10:03 pm (UTC)
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When I was living with pombagira, her cat liked to scratch the furniture. It was ok until I inherited some nice (and somewhat fragile being made of that velvet stuff) chairs and sofa from Mum. Then suddenly I cared about it, and breaking the habit was a mission. We sellotaped up all the accessible bits and that put her off until she got the hang of the scratching post, but I never trusted her enough to take it off.

The same trick worked with these guys, but they went for the carpet instead. ;-/
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From:t_c_da
Date:June 4th, 2013 10:02 pm (UTC)
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I suspect the cats were too adult to be properly trained for indoors in the time you had them. Our Gingernut(less) was a fur factory, but seemed to only shed it where he lay. At least we didn't notice fur everywhere in the house, nor have we noticed a cleaner house since he relocated to under the ferns a year or so ago, so it's probably a characteristic of the particular feline...

But then we've always had cats that went outside for toilet activities in places where going outside was feasible. Your situation is obviously somewhat different...
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From:tatjna
Date:June 4th, 2013 10:04 pm (UTC)
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Yeah. Not having to deal with a litter box might make the fur less noticeable.

(i make no claim to being completely objective about this)
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From:tatjna
Date:June 4th, 2013 10:06 pm (UTC)
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I think you need to define "shit stirrer" and also "bollocks."

Also:

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From:rivet
Date:June 4th, 2013 10:10 pm (UTC)
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I am a cat person, but I draw the line at litterboxes. Indoor/outdoor cats, or no cats at all (that also gives me something to do with them when I catch them scratching on the furniture). Having lived with longhaired cats, I prefer shorthaired ones for the reasons you cite--on the furniture is one thing, but the long fluff gets EVERYWHERE.

I like other people's dogs well enough, and I love watching the dogs at the dogpark, but dogs seem to involve lots of drool and a higher general level of both chaos and responsibility than I want to tolerate in my daily life. In short, I feel like dogs much the way I do about children.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 4th, 2013 10:14 pm (UTC)
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One thing about dogs and drooling - it's only the ones with floppy jowls that seem to do it. This is why I prefer the pointy-faced variety, they have proper-shaped lips and are able to keep their slobber where it belongs instead of having little spouts on each side of their mouth that they can't control.

I hate drool too.

But yes, I appreciate the reputation for chaos and responsibility that dogs seem to have, and how offputting that is for a lot of people.

I'm actually quite enjoying not having any pets these days, but I doubt that'll last.
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From:pombagira
Date:June 4th, 2013 10:55 pm (UTC)
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a most excellent review.. *beams*

me i like cats and dogs, and bunnies, and sheep and cows and *coughs* its what happens when you are exposed to a lot of David Attenborough, Jane Goodall, and Jacque Cousteau at a young age... you have a hard time picking your favorite beasty *coughs*


*is dorky today*

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From:dragonvyxn
Date:June 5th, 2013 12:04 am (UTC)
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i hear you on litter boxes. cat shit is also worse because it's obligate carnivore shit. the only way around this is to feed raw with bones ground in, which makes their poop much less horrible. cf. my cats. if i could email you a smell, i'd do it. there are still times when they get cat snacks that it's still seriously disgusting. cat pee is actually my worst thing about cats that i very much hate. it's so completely awful if it gets on your stuff... so sooooo awful.

i love having 2 cats, and yes, i think we will have cats in future, but i also love dogs! i understand your various arguments pro/con about cats. with the food thing - they would've gotten over it eventually. mine did :-)
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From:siobhan63
Date:June 5th, 2013 01:48 pm (UTC)
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Try a different brand of litter? We have two huge cats (had 3 at one point) and they never go out so use the litter box. We've tried all sorts of brands and finally came across a Canadian-made one called Odour Buster which claims it kills smells for up to a week, and it actually does. I clean the box twice a week only - the litter is that good.
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From:downwardlashes
Date:June 5th, 2013 03:33 am (UTC)
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My brother-in-law has a hairless cat. It's a really sweet, smart, playful cat. WEIRD looking, but he grows on you pretty much right away because he's all "Hi, I'm going to snuggle up to you now".
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From:tatjna
Date:June 5th, 2013 03:41 am (UTC)
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I think I would like hairless cats. Especially if they also didn't poo.
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From:richaarde
Date:June 5th, 2013 05:22 am (UTC)
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I'd have a cat if I wasn't allergic. I like cats, and I don't mind popping a Chlor-Trimeton tablet when I go over a friend's house, but it would be kind of silly to have to take pills every day just to tolerate owning one.

I like that owning a cat is kind of passive. With a dog, everything they think or do requires your attention.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 5th, 2013 05:24 am (UTC)
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That's not actually true of dogs. I know a lot of people think that, and a lot of people live like that, but dogs really require about the same amount of attention (or a little bit less) than cats. It does require training though, and I think that's where most dog households fall down.
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From:m_danson
Date:June 5th, 2013 02:29 pm (UTC)
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I'm a cat person... but yeah... litter boxes suck.
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From:ms_hecubus
Date:June 5th, 2013 03:19 pm (UTC)
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Even worse than using the litter box is when they get old and start forgetting to use it. :(

I lucked out because even the apartment we used to rent had a basement so I could stick the box downstairs and not have to deal with odor right up in my face all the time. But cat hair is totally worse than dog fur. Unless you have a greyhound. The dog was practically bald and shed enough to sculpt a clone on a daily basis. I don't get how that worked!

I'm a dog person too, but you probably knew that.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 5th, 2013 08:25 pm (UTC)
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Clearly the hairs grew overnight then fell out in the morning! I picture a shower of hairs permanently falling from this dog..
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From:fushia_darkness
Date:June 5th, 2013 05:12 pm (UTC)
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Then, thank god for women that isn't sensible?!

And OMG how can you not be a cat person ;) I totally agree with your pros and cons, very spot on, and THE FUR ON EVERYTHING!!! But still, aww, my heart melt into a gooey puddle of kitty-love whenever I look at my boys... They're home, it's a simple as that.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 5th, 2013 08:30 pm (UTC)
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Cats are beautiful and homey and I like them quite a lot, but the bond you have with them is different from the bond with a dog.

I like nothing better than a head in my lap and a pair of ears I can fondle, and the way they express .. well, everything. Dogs go along with you when you leave the house, and participate in your life in way that cats can't. It's.. just different, and to me, more of a friendship.
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