Monday, January 5, 2009

Cats - what's the appeal?

According to a survey in November 2008 by Tesco Pet Insurance, the dog was voted the most popular pet in the UK.

Not hugely surprising, although the cat has usurped us from time to time. The cat is still massively popular as a pet and I would like to know – what’s the appeal? I can appreciate the obvious attraction - they don’t take as much looking after as us dogs. I mean, you don’t have to walk a cat every day do you? It’s not as if they’re going to trash your house if they don’t get their daily walk, as some dogs do.

I can understand the appeal as far as aesthetics go too. I’ve never seen an ugly cat – I can’t say the same thing about dogs (French Bulldogs spring to mind). A cat can drape itself on a sofa and make the sofa look as if it had been plucked from the pages of Ideal Home Magazine. Saying that, said sofa will soon be liberally covered in shedded hair and ripped to shreds if said cat is left to its own devices.

I also have to admit that kittens are the cutest thing, but as LEE said once, they have to be. Kittens, puppies, babies have to be cute in order to survive – if they weren’t they’d be dumped on a much more regular basis – there’d be a baby or a pup or a kitten deposited on one’s doorstep more frequently than milk.

I’ve heard folk say that they’re easy to housetrain too. Show a kitten a litter tray and it immediately knows what to do. But there are plenty of anomalies. My mum has a friend whose cat will only use the litter tray once a day; the rest of the time, it goes anywhere it pleases. Being a cat, and therefore rather nimble, she will regularly find his deposits on the top of wardrobes, bookshelves, windowsills and kitchen worktops.
He’s so adorable,” she’d say when mum asked how she put up with his unsavoury antics. “He just looks at me with those big blue eyes and I melt.” In my view, cats tend to look at everyone with utter disdain and contempt, as if the object of their glare is the dirt beneath their feet.

They’re sneaky too. My mum puts birdseed out in the winter for the poor little guys and she used to put it on the top of a low wall that surrounded the patio. She kept finding dead birds and started wondering if the seed she was buying was poor quality until she noticed one day that her neighbour’s black cat was positioning himself in the undergrowth right next to the wall and waiting, unseen, for an unsuspecting little blue-tit to help itself to a sunflower seed or two. The naughty bugger would simply jump and swipe and ‘voila’ one dead birdie. Mum bought a bird-table.

That same black cat always gives me the finger when I go walking with mum. He knows she won’t let me chase stuff. He’s gotten wise. So he always manages to plant himself in a really prominent position whenever we walk past his house. He just sits there sneering and taunting.
Come on little rat face, come and chase me if you dare, dog-breath. But you daren’t dare you? No, because mumsy-wumsy won’t let you. You’re all the same you doggy-woggy thickheads. Under the thumbs of the humans. Trying to please. Pillock brain.”

I tell you he gets my hackles up something chronic.

Then my mum was sent this clip by her cat-loving friend and I must admit, even I thought it was funny and even I could, kind of, see why some folk might think cats are appealing. You may have seen it, but even if you have, it’s still good.


J Cosmo Newbery said...

Cats. Funny people.

Lee said...

We used to have a cat. And a dog too but that is another story. It was always a prickly relationship with the cat. Sometimes we were the best of friends and other times I was his scratching post.

meryl's musings said...

Snickers used to be around (I miss her) and she didn't have any front claws so we would have sniffing/bopping battles -- it was fun. :) KC

meryl's musings said...

Also, check out my landlord's post today -- at the bottom is a picture worth a snicker!

Blu said...

hee hee......Henry that video would put people off having a cat, it is so accurate. We had two pussy cats in the past, but dawgs are my favorite friends.

C Woods said...

Henry --let me educate you about the difference between cats and dogs.

When a person feeds and pampers a dog, the dog thinks that person is a god.

When a person feeds and pampers a cat, the cat thinks it is a god.

I exist only to serve my cat.

LadyFi said...

C Woods has hit the nail on the head!

I'm a dog person myself, Henry... My sister has both. We always call her cats: Pee and Puke - for obvious reasons. They do it all over the house!!

Scabby the cat said...

Cats rule, OK? Get over it or I'll be over your place and you'll be dogmeat. Purrr.

French Fancy said...

I share your lack of cat love Henry. I think they are flea carriers and, much as I think kittens are cute (and Lee is spot on about why) I am first and foremost a dog lover. I think you can tell a lot about people from which they prefer.

By the way on my latest stuff about The Wire, I've now added a link to Charlie Brooker saying a few words about it.

Dogs rule - Cats don't.

Henry the Dog said...

J Cosmo - psychos the lot of them if you ask me

Lee - I bet you were his scratching post more often than his friend;)

KC - a cat without claws sounds like a good idea. I'll be off over to yours to check out that picure in a jiffy:)

Blu - as I said, I'm a dog and still thought it was brill. Mum's always been a dog person too.

C Woods - brilliant! Spot on!

Lady Fi - Pee & Puke, love that. My mum's friend's cat also pees everywhere. He did it on her bed once, AND he has a cat flap as well as a litter tray. I think he has issues.

Scabby - why am I not surprised that you popped over? Believe me, if you came over to my place I'd hide - I ain't proud or brave!

French Fancy - I'm not sure I dare say anything with Scabby breathing down my neck so I'll whisper....
I agree entirely – Dogs do rule! I'll be off to yours to have a look at that link.

Wild Creations said...

Yuck to cats! Give me a dog any time. I've never felt any love from a cat. Doesn't help that I've been bought by a cat HATING (and it really is in capital letters) father.

Irish Gumbo said...

First rule for cats: DO NOT INTERRUPT THE FOOTIE, mangy furballs, (grumble, grumble)

Sometimes I think my cats are giving me the finger just by LOOKING at me.

But other times, they are the sweetest, dopiest cats I've ever known. Excepting the bad manners they exhibit whenever we have bacon for breakfast. They have been know to swat it out of my had while I'm trying to eat it. Perhaps we should get them their own pigs...

Diane said...

Dogs rule, cats drool. Period.

Henry the Dog said...

Wild C - yes my mum can't feel the cat thing either, though she'd never hurt one;)

Irish - well the naughty monkeys swiping your bacon out of your hand like that. Bloody felines. No other animal would get away with such bad behaviour. Perhaps they do because they EXPECT to?

Diane - ha ha ha - yes mum says they drool from time to time, I've never witnessed it and wouldn't want to - yuk!

SSP said...

diane beat me to it, but yeah, cats suck, Henry! I am not just saying this cuz I am deathly allergic to them, but you know they WALK in their litter trays and then they walk on your counters, and crawl in your bed??? ewwwwwww

Jennysmith said...

My dear H, like yourself, cats can bring such joy into people;s lives. (maybe not your's). But that is the fundemental reason people can't be without one.

But yes, they are ungrateful and do not have a trace of remorse. Take mine for instance , the selfish little......... xxxxx

Jane! said...

Oh My! I had a vision of a new baby looking like Ozzy Osbourne.

I believe you should have both - cats AND dogs.

Stubby said...

I have some cat friends that are very cool, but I sure don't want any of them living with me. The litter box thing is kind of gross and forget about the fur balls - yuk!
I can't believe that a cat gives you the finger! I have never been given the finger - at least not to my knowledge. I have never even given anyone the finger either because that is just not what a real gentleman does!

lady jicky said...

There are three kinds of people in the world Boyfriend. People who love cats, people who love dogs and people who don't like animals.
My Mum is a "dog person". Lived her life with cats but could never "get" why her sister , Mum and aunts loved them so. Then she got married and they bought a dog (cairn terrier). It was US that she loves. Woof!
I have a secret to tell you boyfriend and don't tell Oscar I told you but there is a huge cat down the road that boxed Oscars ears one time on a walk and he will not walk on that side of the road incase Rambo comes at him again! I keep my eyes out for him too ! So watch that black cat very carefully - they can be tough!
Kitty Kisses,


cats are a funny animal! so independent. we used to have one and loved him like crazy. since him,'s been all DOGS!

Femin Susan said...

I Think you are a cat loving person. Cats so so funny. but some time i afraid of it.

Profoundly Inarticulate said...

Hi Henry, I wanted to comment on this post, but I was a little scared given the anti-cat atmosphere. Then I realized I had more to say than could fit in a comment, so I wrote a whole blog post in response, in which I link to your post. I hope you don't mind! Your post just inspired me. :-)

Henry the Dog said...

SSP - yeah - I'd never thought about that - walking in the litter tray then walking all over your surfaces. Mmmmm. Not nice.

Jenny - this was never intended to be a I Hate Cats post as I'm sure you can tell - it's a genuine 'What do you see in them?' request and I wanted some response from cat lovers, which I've got. I'm glad they bring joy into yours, but not the fleas:)

Jane - a very balanced response. I guess if mum got one we'd end up getting along, 'cause I tend to get along with everyone. Mum might even 'get' the cat thing eventually too if she had one of her own.

Stubby - I'm a gentleman too but I've been brought up well - as you have, I'm sure. The youth of today have no respect my man.

Rosid - to be dead honest I'm scared of the buggers, they have really sharp claws. I wouldn't want one hooking itself in my nostril. Also, the black one is as big as I am. No, I don't pretend to be a tough dog where cats are concerned - I'd rather hide. Bisous. xxxx

Sandy dog - it's the independence mum doesn't like. I think she likes to feel wanted and appreciated. In my view, they seem to be so aloof, as if you couldn't get close to them no matter what you do. Not like dogs who want to get close to everyone.

Femin Susan - I'm not a cat lover, or a cat hater. I'm kind of ambivalent to be honest. Just interested in what makes them attractive.

Profoundly - have been over to your place and read your post. It was really interesting and has given me more insight into their appeal. Thanks. I also discovered Ruby through you and will keep in touch with her, hopefully.

Ruby Isabella said...

Hi Henry,
As I said, "all animals are created equal." I can't say cats are as equal dogs. No wait a minute I think I said, "no animals are more equal than others." Mmmm, that's a challenge.
Thanks for stopping by,
Ruby Isabella.

French Fancy said...

hello Henry. Well, Mr FF and I decided to begin with The Wire all over again and we watched the first episode of the first series last night. Don't worry that it seems muddled or that there are so many different strands - it will all come together in a riveting way.

I think you'll need to put the subtitles on - the gangsta mumble can be a bit hard to understand. (I do hope you like it - I feel a bit responsible now)

French Fancy said...

me again - I promise I won't keep going on about TW - this is my last mention of it until you can make up your own mind :)

Indrayani aka, Indi! said...

Wheres my comment..
I think My computer conked when I was about to post it and it didnt get posted after all..

Anyways.. my point is Henry that there are two kinds of people...Cat People and Dog People.
I think its all in what kinda temprament you own, to have a cat as a pet or a dog...?

I am a total dog person though!

Henry the Dog said...

Ruby, thanks for popping over from Oz. I don't think us dogs are above cats, just different;)

FFancy - you are SO helpful. Mum puts subtitles up for most things, she even has subtitles when she's watching stuff like Spooks, so she'll definitely use it for The Wire. She often says "How on earth am I ever going to be able to understand fully what they're talking about in French when I can't even understand English?" Will pass that amazon link onto her.

Indi - I think it's down to temperament too. I think mum & Uncle Hugh must be dog folk - hence moi!!:)

Frankie Furter said...

Henry, don't you chase the cats away from the bird feeders? That is one of my most important jobs on this hill.
I may have to get some help with this though because I want to get into Obama's CABINET. Then I will make lots of money and get tons of cheese in that place called Washington, D.C..
I hope you stop by my blog some time.

Henry the Dog said...

Frankie - no little fella, mum doesn't let me chase stuff. She's really strict about that. She doesn't even let me chase the little lizards that we get in the summer and they're just BEGGING to be chased - but mum doesn't realise it. I'll be back to your place, when I have a minute:)

Braja said...

Hello Henry love! I missed you :) I read once, "Dogs come when you call. Cats tell you to leave a message and they'll get back to you, and they never do." I think that about sums up the personality stakes with cats, hmmmm?

Henry the Dog said...

Braja HELLOOOOO. Are you back from Calcutta? We missed you too. I like that, I think that about sums it up too. I'm just shutting down now. See you tomorrow - the naming of the baby cow day. I'm dying to know what he's going to be called xx

Stinking Billy said...

Henry, it's a no-brainer. Dogs win every time.

Braja said...

Henry my lovely, I have a confession. I spent about 3 minutes online in total the 2 days I was in Calcutta, and got home late. I checked my mail and I was particularly excited to see your name, and felt a real little burst of joy when I did :) Give my love to your mummy :) Tell her I need an address for you both because I got some little pressies for you in Calcutta :)

La Belette Rouge said...

Henry: I have always had cats and we just got our first puppy, Lily, she is a lot more work than our kitties ever wore. But, in the long run I think all the work will be worth it.

Henry the Dog said...

Stinking - spot on, pal! Hey, have you noticed that like you I'm mainly surrounded by women:)

Braja - I feel all coy and embarrassed and mum is blushing too. A present? For us? We're not worthy, honest. I'll email it to you xxxxxxxx

La Belette Rouge - I don't envy you, pups are cute but they are hard work. My mum says she has two very important tips - nip bad behaviour in the bud, even if it looks 'cute'. Mum used to growl sharply at me to stop me doing stuff and sometimes prod my bum with her finger at the same time. Number two tip, she thinks puppy crates are a must. If you're not crating her, have a think about it - do some research on the net. It stopped me from chewing stuff, kept me safe when I couldn't be supervised, and stopped me from peeing and pooing anywhere and everywhere. It also made me feel safe and secure when I was on my own. Good luck!

J Cosmo Newbery said...

You may, may, be interested in my latest ode to a cat.

La Belette Rouge said...

Henry: Thank you for the brilliant advice. I am doing crate training and doing my best to explain to Lily that nipping is going to be nipped in the bud.

Henry and Henry's Mum, thank you both for coming by my blog. Please come back again. We don't have fleas and we have had our shots. Also, I have plenty of treats. Henry, you are Lily's first doggy bloggy friend. She/we are thrilled to meet you.

Miss Monica Jean said...

Hello to Henry, and Henry's Mom! I have been following your blog, and thought I would de-lurk a bit, as I am something of an expert on this topic.

I foster rescued cats, and so deal with many in a given year, and have one of my own permanently- Lillith, who is very much the Boss Cat who likes to teach the other cats to mind their manners, is excessively fond of me, playing fetch, and the neighbor's dog, actually. She's only disdainful when she feels that someone has done something improper, such as get up on the table, not use the litter box correctly, or play with one of her toys.

As to the other cats, well- like people and even dogs, they all seem to be different. Some are much better behaved than others, I'll admit. And while some are indeed aloof, all of them are doofuses under it- just watch until you see them fall off of something and immediately look 'round to make sure no one saw them- they're just as self-conscious as the rest of us, I think. =)

Henry the Dog said...

Belette - yes mom left that advice before we trotted over to your blog and realised that you were already doing that. I used to nip. Now I sometimes 'mouth' but only gently and only with Uncle Hugh and mum - it's when I'm so happy to see them I don't know what to do with myself, 'cause I can't hug like mum can. We'll drop by from time to time and throw Lily a virtual treat xxx

Miss Monica - I think that perhaps cats are much more complex creatures than dogs are, and are therefore misunderstood. I'm sure that if we lived with them, we'd see them in an entirely different light, and we'd start to see the little 'behaviourisms' that you're talking about. Gosh, just read that back and it makes me sound dead posh. Also, I think I may have invented a new wrod:)

PS: just noticed how I've transposed 'word', but am leaving it 'cause I think it's funny.

Lisa said...

We've had both cats and dogs. Since we are so many and everyone has their own thing to do, cats suit us better. But there's nothing quite as sweet as the softness of a dog's floppy ear or puppy breath.

Henry the Dog said...

Lisa - my mum's definitely with you on the 'puppy breath' thing xxx

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