Cats claw their way to the top

October 09, 1997|By Kevin Cowherd

IF ANYONE doubts the country is going to hell in a handbasket, consider this depressing fact: For the first time in our history, there are now more cats than dogs as pets.

As a longtime dog owner, I find this mystifying. Tell me something: What exactly is the appeal of a cat?

Here is an animal with absolutely zero personality, an animal that displays all the affection of an eggplant, an animal that, if you let him, would gladly spend his days stalking schoolchildren and clawing the drapes and scratching a hole the size of a shotgun wound in your sofa.

Why would ANYONE want an animal like that as a pet?

The sad truth is that cat owners are always deluding themselves into thinking their cats care about them.

A cat owner will come home at the end of the day and the cat will actually glance up from his perch in the window, and the owner will think: "Oh, look, he's so glad to SEE me!"

Oh, yeah, he's just about turning cartwheels.

Believe me, it could be you or it could be Charles Manson walking in that door -- the cat doesn't care.

The only thing the cat's thinking is: Is somebody gonna feed me here, or what?

If cats wore watches, they'd be glancing at their wrists every time their owners came home, as if to say: "For chrissakes, where you been?! That cat chow doesn't jump in a bowl by ITSELF, you know."

Then there is the whole matter of loyalty, a word that should not even be used in the same sentence with the word "cat."

A dog will stick with you through thick and thin. Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Benji, Pongo -- history is full of famous dogs taking heroic measures when disaster strikes.

My God, look at Lassie. Lassie could apparently make herself sound like George Will whenever Timmy was in trouble, as she proved on nearly every episode of the '60s TV show named after her:

"Woof! Woof!"

"What's that, Lassie? You say Timmy's trapped in quicksand over by Turner's Pond?"

"Woof! Woof!"

"And his leg's broken?"

"Woof, woof!"

"And the prisoners that escaped from the jail this morning are headed that way, too?! C'mon, boys, let's go!"

You think a cat could ever be that articulate?

You think a cat is ever going to put forth that kind of effort on your behalf?

Are you kidding? Dream on, Mr. or Ms. Cat Owner.

If, God forbid, a fire swept through your house tomorrow, guess what? That cat of yours is history.

He'll dump you in a heartbeat. To him, you're just a meal ticket. I know that's a tough thing to say about an animal, and it gives me no great pleasure to say it.

But it's the truth, dammit.

The day after the fire, you'd be back at the house, sobbing quietly and picking through the charred rubble until finally you'd call out in a voice filled with pain: "Here, Kitty, Kitty! C'mon, time to go to our new home!"

Meanwhile, the cat would already be over at your neighbor's house, chowing down on Kibbles n' Bits and getting ready to see what's on TV.

THAT's how broken up he'd be about what happened to you.

Believe me, when it comes to loyalty, the only thing a cat cares about is who's got the fastest electric can opener for his food.

The thing that really gets me about cats is how they totally ignore you when you call them.

If you call a dog, he'll bound over right away, just to be sociable.

Whereas a cat will just stare at you, as if to say: "You bother me ONE MORE TIME, I'll come over there and scratch your eyes out, so help me!"

What's the point of having a pet with that kind of attitude?

You want that kind of attitude, you might as well get yourself a wolverine or something.

Then there's the whole business about the odor that comes with owning a cat.

Cat owners are always pretending their homes don't smell from their pets.

But the truth is, a litter box -- ANY litter box -- smells like a landfill, no matter how high-tech it is.

I have been in homes with cats where the smell is so overpowering you think you're going to black out the minute you hit the foyer.

Say, THERE'S a compelling reason to get a cat!


Please, don't get me started.

Pub Date: 10/09/97

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