I grew up with dogs. As kids, we went everywhere with a dog. Either our dog or one of the neighbouring kids’ dogs. In my pre-teens we had a Rhodesian Ridgeback that went everywhere with us. His name was ‘Kaptein’ and he was our protector when we explored the nearby wetlands or hunted snakes in the local forest or caught scorpions in the bushes behind our house. It didn’t matter that he’d taken a chunk out of my younger brother’s arm, he was still ‘our’ dog. He didn’t belong to us, he belonged to the neighbour. But he was ‘ours’.
In my teens, we had a sausage dog. She wasn’t pure-bred, more of a pavement special. She wasn’t that long and her legs were a bit taller than a regular daschund. She used to waddle down the stairs with her tail swinging from side to side. She was quite agile though – she used to jump over the stable door that was our back door and sometimes she used to go over the 5 foot high gate by jumping half way up and then catapulting herself over the rest of the gate! Amazing feat to see!
More importantly, she was always excited to see us. When we came home from school, she’d be there. Going nuts by the front door. Charging up and down the stairs in excitement! If the sliding door was open, she’d race outside, do a lap of the pool and then race back inside and jump up on you. She ended up in the pool more than once too! She’d yelp and bark until you gave her some attention.
Now we have a cat. Well, a 5 month old kitten. She doesn’t get excited when we come home. When she hears the car, she comes to the front window, looks out and has a big stretch. That’s if she comes to the front window at all. When you open the front door, she makes for the great outdoors. She’s not interested in us, she just wants out. If you manage to keep her inside, she heads straight for her food bowl and starts to meow: “Food please” is the message she seems to be conveying. Not “hello” or “play with me” but “feed me”.
This is the difference (or should that be indifference) between a cat and a dog. Man’s best friend vs man’s “it’s all about me” pet.
PS: I still love my kitten, even if she only loves me when I tickle her tummy or feed her!