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Volume 16, Issue 34 - August 21 - August 27, 2008

Bill Burton

A Dissenting Opinion

Why I prefer cats


That single word differentiates felines from canines. Command a dog to fetch and it will bound off; return, tail wagging, to drop at your feet the partridge you shot or your morning paper, slippers and pipe — anything but the kitchen sink. Despite all the Fido bragging, one thing he ain’t is a plumber.

Tell a cat to fetch and it’ll look at you like it’s viewing modern art in a museum. You know that blank stare, with the I hear you, but I’m ignoring you look on its puss. The only thing a feline will retrieve is a phony mouse stuffed with catnip. But don’t plan on pussy to bring it back to you. It’s her toy.

This week in this publication you can read an awful lot about dogs, their wonders, loyalty, friendship and such associated hogwash, maybe some of which is partially true. Editor Sandra — who happens to own a big yellow Labrador name of Moe — commanded me to fetch her a column on dogs, which she ultimately learned was akin to telling Tabby to fetch a bull moose.

Me write about dogs? That’s like asking Hemingway to write about planting posies. It ain’t my style. I’ve nothing against dogs. I’ve had champion elkhounds, golden retrievers, a St. Bernard and others with part of the forementioned in their bloodlines along with chow, collie, beagle to boot. All were friendly, loyal and fit the dog bill. But they didn’t meow.

Being the resident curmudgeon of this sheet, I declined — even after Sandra threatened to sic Moe on me (Moe’s tail was wagging). Moe, coming up on three years old, likes to think he’s the resident security of Bay Weekly, but like all dogs he doesn’t think things through. Any cat would know that these days there isn’t enough cash in a newspaper office to buy a bandit more than a candy bar. Moe, being a canine, takes his job seriously.

A dog’s security is dependent on service given. Allow him that and he’ll thump his tail; withhold it and he’s a Zombie — other than, in this instance, at deadline I’m told, Moe barks ’n’ whines to be accompanied outside to do his business, which he can’t do before sniffing a dozen fire hydrants, then deciding he doesn’t have to go after all. But he feels important: He has the power to stop the presses. You know how dogs are.

Why did editor Sandra choose dogs? Why she has two cats in her household; White Boy, who is 15, and Missy, of no known age, who wandered in from the woods one day, and being a cat was smart enough to know a good thing when she saw it. But does Sandra realize that cats, unlike dogs, are unforgiving creatures?

Once they note she has put dogs on a pedestal, she had better wear gloves when tending to her petunia patch. It’s the nature of cats to get even. When Zelda Zoo Zoo, my solid black four-year-old feline with a missing left eye, and Karla Koo Koo, a black and white tuxedo of solitary nature, read of my defense they’ll weed the posies for me — and do their business in a litter box. Dogs consider anything earthy as a place to bury a bone. Did you ever see one take time to hide its droppings?

On tidiness, mark a big one up for cats.

Feline Virtues

In the past 80 years or more while owning both cats and dogs, I’ve learned much about cats. In this issue, the time has come to come to their defense.

W Above all, the friendship and loyalty of a cat has to be earned. It’s time consuming, but rewarding. A dog can be won over with a few biscuits. Not so with cats. They want a two-way relationship, which takes time. One must do more than fill the dish to build their trust and affection, for they demand equality — not servitude.

Q Let the dog get the paper. While you’re reading it, the cat will purr on your lap, easing the anxiety about today’s news. My mother said the best way to temper anger was to listen to the purring of a cat.

Y Notice the cat’s graceful gait. It can traverse a bookcase top crowded with pictures and knickknacks without disturbing a single one, tail following. Have a dog even walk by a coffee table, and it’s time to get the dustpan and glue. Its tail will club anything within reach.

P Cats have nine lives. God wanted to keep everyone of ’em around.

D The ancestors of cats are lions and tigers, self-sufficient. But many a dog hails from wolf strain, which carries no inclination to do it alone. Dogs have to do things in packs, whose collective brain is equal to that of a single cat.

X Dogs chase cars. Cats don’t and won’t — not until they find a use for one when caught.

B A happy and appreciative cat will drop a still-warm mouse by the bedside. It wants to share, displaying genuine appreciation.

N Give a dog a bath and expect a stinky shower for yourself. A cat vanishes soon as the spigot is turned on. Contrary to common thinking, a cat can swim — if necessary. It knows the best and most comfortable things in life are on dry land.

I Cats are minimum-maintenance creatures. Plan a trip and you’ll pay a kennel a C-note for just four days boarding Rover. If you’re lucky enough to have a cat, you can set aside four days rations. When you come back as scheduled, you’ll note your feline still has a bit left. She’s prepared for the unexpected.

G Cats come in every pattern and color to match the décor.

H Happy cats lick the hand; dogs slobber all over it. Canine owners carry baby wipes by the dozens.

J Like a neat lawn? A cat secrets its waste in a hole barely big enough to hide a hummingbird’s egg.

Felines, in sum, are the proverbial cat’s meow.

Enough said.

© COPYRIGHT 2008 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.