Here is our cat, five-year-old Lola, with her homemade "whack-a-mole" toy. No, she's not spoiled at all!
I’ve always been a cat person, but I’ve fallen in love with my share of (other people’s) dogs. Much to Kiddo’s delight, we are able to babysit a friend’s puppy last weekend, a miniature poodle/King Charles spaniel named Addison—Addie, for short. Addie is nine weeks old and about fifteen pounds.
She is adorable.
Since cats, even as kittens, are fairly self-reliant, I was unprepared for much stuff Addie came with. There was the crate, the travel crate, the food and water bowls, the kibble, the blanket, the toys, the baby safety gate…. This puppy travels with more luggage than Cher.
I was also not exactly cognizant of how many times Addie would need to go out. Every two hours, to be exact. And there were accidents. Yes, it was a lot like potty-training a toddler.
Addie also had separation anxiety. If one of us wasn’t in sight at all times, she began to cry. We set up her crate in Kiddo’s room, facing him so she could see him during the night.
Our cat, Lola, has met Addie before, and has basically ignored her. This time, though, when Addie didn’t leave, she got a bit more territorial, starting down at Addie from high places, ignoring the little wagging tail and pleading yaps for friendship.
At the end of the weekend, Kiddo absolutely wanted a dog—aaaaand Noel and I weren’t so sure. We’d done the baby thing once—and that was enough. Addie is adorable, but at this point, we’re delighted to be doggie godparents, called on for the odd weekend. And yet—yet—I find myself online, researching hypoallergenic dogs, such as poodles and Portuguese water dogs….
Reds, are you dog people or cat people?
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Oh, we are both, have always been both, at least as adults. Neither Rick's mom or mine liked cats, so we didn't grow up with them. One of my first out-of-the-house gestures of independence was the acquisition of a kitten (who turned out to be THE CAT FROM HELL, by the way.) Kiddo is the perfect age for a dog, such fun, such great bonding, and such emotional support for those trying pre-teen years.
I have to admit that puppies are a lot of trouble, but they grow up so fast, and they are so worth the time and work. We have a houseful of cats and dogs now, with the two German shepherds (who are two and almost four) and three cats. It is the cats who are sometimes guilty of unspeakable behavior, not the dogs!
HALLIE EPHRON: Susan, that one doggie sounds like it's got as much paraphernalia as a baby.
I like other people's pets, though I was mad about our two (then three, then briefly four... it's easy to find strays in NYC apartment building basements) cats. Eloise and Soot looked remarkably like my daughter Molly's current cats, Alistair and Bernice. Eloise was a muscular black and white male (we found out too late to change the name) who hated most everyone but us. As I unlocked our apartment door Eloise would meow from the other side, and when I got in an bent to pet her she'd jump up on my shoulder. We kept her in the bedroom during parties; if she got out she'd make a bee-line for the most cat-averse person in the room. We would have kept them but I'm allergic and ended up hospitalized.
LUCY BURDETTE: Two paws firmly in each camp! (And as an aside, Addison/Addie is the name of the character I'm currently writing--a girl, not a dog.)
We had German shepherds growing up--they were not technically my dogs, but family dogs. (And unfortunately not very well trained.) My mom was animal crazy so we also had cats, mice, guinea pigs--any creature we wanted really, except for reptiles or birds. When I turned 13, I desperately wanted my own cat. January in Detroit is not kitten season at all. But my mother prevailed and found a yellow tiger in the Detroit pound. He'd already been turned back in once, so the three dollar receipt was stamped NO REFUND. That little yellow terror became Tigger, the first in a long line of cats leading to my current oldster, Yoda. We are also on our second Australian shepherd, Tonka. He is so mine--ask Hallie. He follows me everywhere and watches me very carefully. John sometimes forgets we have a dog, because he's always by my side. And there is the difference between cats and dogs in a nutshell--one you can always find, the other you have to hunt down and reach out. And I love them both!
RHYS BOWEN: Adore them both! Unfortunately we travel so much that having an animal isn't practical. I refuse to become one of those annoying women who brings a dog on the plane with them in the guise of therapy/comfort animal. One was in the seat behind me on Sunday and it let out the most overwhelming farts (unless that was the woman herself, but I don't think so). Growing up we always had dogs including a bull terrier and my favorite, a dachshund who understood every word we said. But when our kids were growing up we had Marmalade, a big ginger cat who was dog-like. He'd walk the kids to school, come running back when he heard my car, sit up and beg and want to join in every family activity, especially lying sprawled across the board of any board game we were trying to play. Such a people cat! I still miss him.
Cats and dogs automatically like me, including my daughter's cat Cupcake, who attacks most people and has fought off a pack of coyotes. If I sit down at her house the cat finds me and sprawls with a contented sigh onto my lap. And I do get to be dog-grandma to Sunny and Oscar, which is always lovely. If I travel less in the future I fantasize about having a little dog--a Yorkie, maybe. But John likes only big dogs, so.....
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Well, growing up we had both: Irish Setters named Penny, and Rusty, and Roderick St. John Erin Sean, as we got more original-ish. Cats? Mrs. Purdy, and Picnic, Rosemary, and F.Scott and Zelda, who were Rosemary's babies. I've only had cats, since, like Rhys, my career just wouldn't allow dogs. As you know, we have an invisible dog, a very lovely Wheaten Terrier named Wheatie. Being invisible, she is very easy to care for.
I will never be able to top my two cats: the incredible Lola, who I got in 1978 at the humane society. She died in 1998. And as you can see here, adored Jonathan. Who is, as Lola well knew, deathly allergic to cats.
And here is my adorable Leon, who lived to be 14. Those two lived together for 14 years, and NEVER acknowledged the other's existence.
SO anyway. We couldn't possibly have a real dog. EXCEPT the other day I say a Llewellin setter puppy, and just about swiped it from the owner.
RHYS: Hank, we also had a dog called St John. An English setter, so beautiful but so dumb. The most untrainable dog ever. Alas, we had to find him a home on a farm as he kept escaping.
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Lucy—the late, great Xander was a cat who never left my side, much like your dog. I so miss that—Lola is delightful, but more independent. OK, I can't resist more pictures! Here is Lola looking down on Addie:
And here is Addie, looking up at Lola:
Lovely readers, are you cat people or dog people? Or both? Or neither? Tell us in the comments!