What Happens When a Cat Person Gets a Dog? The lovely Josie from Me, Them and The Others is sharing about being a cat person getting a dog and some helpful tips and real-life thoughts. This is helpful because sometimes people don’t realise it’s not as easy as it seems, but it can be done.
I’ve had cats all my life. The longest I’ve been without was a few years when my children were small and our cat at the time hated the children so much she opted to move in with my mum, who lived round the corner. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always liked dogs, but before having my own, I had little experience of them, so my frame of reference for house pets really was from cats. Getting a dog as a cat person has been an interesting experience, so I thought I’d share some of the surprises I’ve encountered along the way.
It’s Harder to Tell if they Like Something
While dogs wag their tail if they are excited, I’ve found it hard to know if Baxter (our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) is enjoying it when I stroke him. With a cat (ours is called Hera), you are never left in any doubt. If they like what you are doing, they purr, loudly. Sometimes they get so excited they actually dribble. If they don’t like it, the teeth and claws are utilized to make their opinions clear. Baxter just seemed to sit there as a puppy and it’s only now that I’ve got to know him, I’ve started to pick up on his more subtle dog signals.
Dogs Have Much More Stuff Than Cats
My Cat has a water bowl, 2 food bowls, some treats she doesn’t even like, a carry case that she hates so we keep hidden in the loft, and a few toys she never touches. My dog has about ten different food bowls (we keep experimenting to find one that will keep his giant ears out of his dinner), a collar, a harness, 2 leads, a raincoat, a bed, a crate, 2 blankets, a whole basket of toys (that he always leaves laying around) various shampoos, ear cleaners, brushes, nail trimmers and a seemingness endless supply of treats.
Dogs are Very Needy
I often don’t see Hera all day. She comes and wakes me up in the morning, usually by clawing my face, I feed her, and then she sleeps upstairs. If I’m working downstairs, I often won’t see her again until she demands dinner at 6. The dog on the other hand is never more than a few meters away from me, he has to be walked every day, let out to go the toilet multiple times, played with, allowed to sit on my lap, and coaxed into eating (that all dogs want to eat all the time is a myth by the way). Not that I’m complaining, the fact that dogs hate to be alone is one of the reasons I agreed to have one, it creates another reason I need to carry on being a work-from-home mum instead of going back to the 9-5.
My cat has never once smelt bad to me. My dog on the other hand…
Dogs Want to Please You
This has been the biggest shock for me really. The reason you can train dogs is that they really want to make you happy. Having lived with cats all my life, who really couldn’t care less if their humans are happy or not, living with an animal who actually wants to make me happy has been a revelation. The dog actually considers me to be the boss, looks to me to see what he should do. If I say sit, he does it. As a lifelong cat owner, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this.
They Have to Go the Vet Loads
I have had my current cat for about 4 years and, ignoring annual vaccinations, she’s been to the vets once. I’ve had the dog 18 months and I have lost count of the number of times he’s been. He’s had some ear problems but the majority of trips have been bowel-related. It seems he has a sensitive stomach and my husband and I spend as much time discussing bowel movements as we did the kids when they were babies.
It’s Safe to Rub Their Bellies
You know that thing cats do when they roll over like they want you to rub their tummy but when you go to do it, they scratch you like you’ve just tried to steal their dinner? Dogs don’t do that. They REALLY want you to rub their tummy. A lot. All of the time. The cat will look on in disgust but the dog will be very happy.
My favorite difference between dogs and cats though has been that the dog loves a cuddle. Much as I love my cat, and I resolutely believe that deep, deep, deep, down, despite all evidence to the contrary, she loves me in her own weird, cat way, she definitely doesn’t enjoy a cuddle, so it’s nice to have a pet to snuggle up on the sofa with. All in all I’m pretty glad we decided to get a dog, but I’ll still always be a cat person at heart.
If you are thinking about adding a dog to your cat household, this post with some tips to help your cat or kitten adjust to changes might be helpful as well.