For thousands of years we, the human species, have had pets of one sort or another and in this modern world thereís even more of a diversity of them. We open our homes to dogs, cats, ferrets, parrots, snakes, lizards, anything. Even Homer Simpson had a pet lobster he called Pinchy. Now, although we have tried to domesticate almost anything that walks, crawls or swims, we still have the two most popular species ... dogs and cats.
People have been domesticating cats since the Egyptians, or possibly earlier, and they are defiantly different from other pets, or should I say, indifferent. That appears to be the attitude from them Ö indifference towards everything and every one, except around suppertime. Whenís the last time you saw a cat jumping up and down or rubbing its butt on the carpet because itís so happy to see you. Not them. Not likely. Itís usually the attitude of...ĒOh, were you gone Ö and whereís my food?Ē Some people like that snotty attitude and do everything to get their love or at least a little attention. Not me. I have an air horn for those occasions where cats think that Iím not worthy of their presence. When you let a blast go with the horn you get two reactions. One is vertical, where Fluffy goes straight up and is very wide-eyed and the other is horizontal, when it takes off to hide underneath the bed. When they finally come out itís usually accompanied with a real dirty look, and they are good at giving those. When I get that look, I just reach for the air horn again.
A while back I had a cat by the name of Scotch and he was aptly named. If you looked under trouble in a dictionary youíd see his picture. Perhaps one of his worst bad habits, of which he had many, was the utter ruin of gardens. Personal playgrounds he thought they were. That would have been all right if he confined himself to my garden but he was a wanderer. Eventually a delegation was formed and they showed up at my door, some with photographic evidence of his work and, even worse, pictures of the offender at work. Not wanting an unruly mob I pondered the situation for a while and came up with a solution that pleased everyone. Everyone, but the cat. I bought six Super Soakers and handed them out to my neighbours with end result being intact gardens and one very wet, very angry cat. Problem solved. Thatís grumpy old menís club thinking that is. Hand out the Super Soakers to your kids or grandkids and let them loose when there is a cat in the yard. The kids get exercise and the cat gets a bath. Itís a win-win situation.
Dogs are completely different than any other pet you could have. They crave your attention and will do anything to please you. You canít find another animal that will be so happy to see you when you get home. To that dog youíve been gone 10 years and must now be worshiped as the god youíd like to be. You could go out your door, remember that youíd left something behind, and get greeted like youíve been gone all day the second you open that door again. Us grumpy old men like that. I mean, who wouldnít? Thatís why I have two of them. Two huskies, to be exact. Huskies are great dogs but I havenít seen one yet who isnít an escape artist. How do you find out there is a hole in your fence? The dogs are gone. How do you know if the latch on your gate is loose? The dogs are gone. Once theyíre gone, they get into that running mode and only the promise of a car ride will change their minds. Thatís another thing. How many of us have to spell those two words so as not to set off the dogs? There you go: another big difference between dogs and cats. Dogs will travel for hours and be happy to do so. Throw a cat in the car and you may be wearing him on your face before you get to the end of the driveway.
One other thing makes dogs great pets and companions. I can roll on the ground, act like a complete idiot, look like a complete idiot and the dogs will not only refuse to judge me but would probably end up joining me as well.
Try that with your pet rattlesnake. So there you go; we all have our preferences when it comes to pets but the main thing is to treat them like you would your spouse or significant other Ö as a friend for life. Do that and your life becomes just a little more enjoyable. Especially with an air horn.