Neutral ground in the world of cats versus dogs

Neutral ground in the world of cats versus dogs

It’s undeniable I spend an awful lot of time doting over my newest best friend Frankie the hound dog, but I should take a moment to acknowledge to the world that I am not a “one and only best friend” kind of guy. My best friend on the feline side of the equation is my 9-year-old cat, Moses.

In a world that seems increasingly obsessed with the choosing of sides, I am firmly in the middle when it comes to naming myself either a “cat guy” or a “dog guy.” Perhaps having grown up with the constant companionship of both, I was never forced to choose between one or the other.

It’s certain dogs are the more pliable of the two. You can work with a dog: train him, teach him and challenge him to do things that are useful, entertaining or even just plain socially acceptable. In the mere nine months Frankie has been with us, we’ve taught him a handful of fun tricks and, even more importantly, a few key behaviors that make him a joy as part of the household. I love him because of his boundless loyalty.

Cats, for all their soft, quiet, maintenance-free existence are not easily trained. While they do come instinctively equipped to take care of the nastiest business of pet life — a blessing which, alongside their unparalleled mousing talent, is likely responsible for their early domestication — instinct and intelligence are two vastly different things.

I doubt you could teach a cat to fetch a stick or sit at a crosswalk until the light turns green. Cats are in it for themselves. If you think your cat loves you, you’re wrong. What he really loves is the way you walk when you’re carrying a can of seafood pate to his food bowl. I don’t mean to crush your dreams. I’m just speaking the truth.

Compared to the achievements of Frankie’s first nine months, Moses the cat has spent 9 years in our household learning absolutely nothing and doing whatever he darn well pleases and not a single bit more. He walks on the counter tops, he eats house plants, he spills Kristin’s paint water on a daily basis and he lays claim to the highest point in any room by noisily knocking off whatever had the audacity to arrive there before him. I love him, of course, because of his fierce independence.

It’s interesting to watch the pair, Moses and Frankie, compete for my favor. Frankie’s got a leg up at this time of year because I’m constantly outdoors putzing around in the yard, picking weeds in the garden, mowing the lawn and washing the car. All of these activities present a wonderful opportunity for man and dog to spend time together.

Bound to the indoors, Moses spends the majority of his summer days stretched out like a safari prize across the top of the sofa or curled in a contented ball upon the cool concrete floor in the basement when the heat is at its zenith. Although he appears to be perfectly content and self-entertained, it’s likely he spends much of this time conniving ways to wedge himself between Frankie and me. And when the opportunity arises, he leaps upon it like, well, a cat. (Be sure to come back next week when Moses makes an unprecedented move.)

Kristin and John Lorson would love to hear from you. Write Drawing Laughter, P.O. Box 170, Fredericksburg, OH 44627, or email John at jlorson@alonovus.com.