Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Don't Treat Your Cat Like a Dog; so the experts say. I don't agree.

          Don’t Treat Your Cat Like a Dog; so the experts say. I don’t agree.  

I recently read an article that stated, if you’re a cat owner you shouldn’t treat your cat like a dog. “Treat cats like cats,” it said. “Cats aren’t dogs.” Well, of course they’re not. Anyone can see that. They’re cats. Call a cat a dog and they’ll throw a tantrum. At least mine would.  But in my home, the dogs say the cats are honorary dogs and vice versa. I think that’s how they get along.
Seriously though, according to the article, the writer claimed that pet owners shouldn’t treat cats like dogs, because by doing so we’re stressing them out. While dogs are sociable creatures by habit, pack animals that follow one another around and hate to be alone, cats are the opposite. True, to an extent. Cats are the opposite, the article noted. They don’t like feline company and hate sharing space. Not so, I say.  Apparently, British researchers used infrared cameras installed in homes to observe cats’ nighttime activities and found cats hissing at each other and fighting over a spot on the bed. Two common ailments found in cats, dermatitis and cystitis have a “strong psychological component” often induced by stress. “Unlike dogs,” John Bradshaw, director of anthrozoology at the University of Bristol in England said, “the cat is still halfway between a domestic and a wild animal, and it’s not enjoying 21st-century living.”
   Au contraire, I say to all of this. Nonsense, I add. For some cats it might be true, but to say it’s true of all cats doesn’t cut it for me. In my experience as a cat owner I have found all of this to be false. I may not be an anthrozoologist, but I am a long time animal lover and pet owner. I live with my pets twenty four hours a day every day a week. Through constant observation, I have a constant study in progress. At one time, I owned four large dogs: German shepherd, Siberian Husky, Rottweiler and Black Labrador Retriever. I also owned four domestic shorthair cats. Despite the evidence presented by the British study, the eight animals, these dogs and cats lived harmoniously together. Not always. The boy cats liked to chase and harass the youngest girl cat, Princess, but that was all. The girl cats cuddled together and sought each other to sleep together.  The boy cats liked to seek out and sleep with the oldest girl cat. Even when I placed a video camera in the house to spy on them at night from time to time, as the experts did, their habits continued as in the daytime.
Princess now 20.
I currently now am the proud parent to two large mixed breed dogs: a Rottweiler/Beagle male, and a German Shepherd/Siberian Husky female along with the same twenty year old domestic shorthair cat, Princess that outlived all her prior siblings. As the last survivor of the cat family, Princess goes throughout the house yowling, which she never did before until after the death of her younger feline ‘brother’ Charlie. Charlie died a couple of years ago from lung cancer. Charlie was one of the two boy cats that harassed her and chased her about the house. He literally drove her crazy and she detested him. Yet, now that he is gone she goes about the house looking for him. She yowls in hopes of finding him and my heart aches for her because she doesn’t understand and I can’t explain it to her why he doesn't answer.
     Princess and Damon.
    Treat a cat like a cat: Don’t treat your cat like a dog? It depends on the cat. Scientific studies are useful, but are limited and thus, never ever tell the entire story. I say, do for your cat what your cat wants you to do. No one: No expert knows your cat as well as you do, not even your trusted veterinarian, but that is for another post. Listen to your cat. Observe him/her. Believe it or not, if you’re paying attention; if you’re watching and listening closely, you’ll soon learn what your cat wants from you. I know I have. It took me a while, but now I must say that my cat Princess has trained me well. I still make a mistake now and then at misjudging her current need, but all in all she’s happy with me. Treat your cat the way your cat wants to be treated and both of you will live quite happily. I am. All of us. What do you think? What is your opinion on all of this?
    Until next time….hug your animals. Tell them you love them. If you don’t have a pet, adopt one. Make adoption your first option when seeking a pet. Adopt. Don’t shop. Can’t adopt. Please consider fostering one. Donate or volunteer at your local shelter. Whatever you do, however you do it, please be a voice for the animals large and small. All it takes is one to make a difference, good or bad. I’m one for the animals. Are you? Thanks for visiting. Stay safe. Be strong. Be happy. Smile. Show compassion. Be nice to one another. Pass it forward.
    S.J. Francis
In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family."  Coming in 2015 from Black Opal Books.


  1. Never thought about treating my dog or cats the same or differently. Our German Shepard got along fabulously with our cat Mickey. Mickey 17 pounds, and Duchess, 97 pounds, laid on the bed and followed each other around the house continuously. Mickey was the brains of the operation.

  2. Hi Ronnie! thanks for your comment. It's greatly appreciated. I never thought about treating them differently either until I read the British study and it compelled me to think about it and this blog post evolved. Our cat runs the household too. Have a great week ahead! All my best, S.J. Francis.