Dog people, cat people


There are two kinds of people in the world, dog people and cat people. I know that sounds simplistic, but I’ve spent a good bit of my seven decades on the planet observing my fellow humans and I’ve come to the conclusion that humans tend to fall generally into those two categories.

One school of thought is that dogs were first domesticated between 18,000 and 26,000 years ago by ancient North Eurasians in Siberia, while another says 6,400 to 14,000 years ago, also somewhere in northern Eurasia. There are even people who maintain that dogs were first tamed as long as 40,000 years ago. Without a written record, we might never know, but it’s a safe bet that when the ancestors of modern dogs diverged from wolves, this new species saw humans, with their fires and food supplies, not as prey but as partners in survival.

The first ones probably crept closer to the fire, and then closer still until one day a bond was formed. Now, dogs in ancient times fulfilled a number of roles. They were hunting companions, beasts of burden, and in some societies even a source of food. But, one of the main things they were was just… companions. Another warm body at night when the arctic winds blew.

Cats, on the other hand, appear to have originated in Egypt around 10,000 years ago from wildcats that were domesticated by local farmers. They were revered as sacred animals by the Egyptians and represented in sculpture, amulets, and mummies for 3,000 years.

As far as I can determine they’ve never been used as beasts of burden, and my observation of today’s felines makes me question just who domesticated who in the human-cat relationship. Today’s cats often act like they’re still entitled to be thought of as sacred animals.

Dogs are great companions, giving and receiving warmth and affection. Cats act as if they tolerate humans only so long as their needs are met.

Which brings me to the two categories of people. Dog people—and by this I mean people who really love dogs, not the ones who train dogs to fight—tend to be outgoing, caring, and sociable, much like their canine companions. They are also, in my humble opinion, much more self-confident. Why else would dogs be the first choice for emotional support animals?

Cat people, on the other hand, strike me as somewhat masochistic, introverted, and a tad on the selfish side. In their human-pet relationship, they seem to fall into the beta mode, catering to their cat’s every whim, without regard to how it affects the people around them.

I once worked with a cat person, for instance, who baked cookies and brought them into the office and who would get upset at people who wouldn’t eat them. The problem was that she allowed her cat to roam around on the counter while she cooked and based on the quantity of cat hair I often observed on her clothing, I shuddered to think how many found their way into her cookies. I am allergic to cat hair. A cat hair on my face causes my sinuses to clog up and my face to puff up like the Pillsbury Doughboy.

I hate to think what would happen if I swallowed one or two. That never endeared me to this person, though. She just huffed and sulked because I would never eat her cookies. I also had friends who had a cat and whenever I went to their house, that cursed animal would make a beeline for me and try to rub up against my leg. They thought it was funny.

Most dog people, on the other hand, are mortified if their dog jumps up and tries to lick the face of a visitor, or rubs up against a friend on the street. If you frown at a dog who is making overtures, it’ll back off. Try to shoo a cat away. The only thing that’s ever worked for me is a spray bottle with vinegar diluted with water. Cats hate that.

Now, my observations are not scientific by any means. But I’ve seen a lot of cats and their people and a lot of people and their dogs, and I structure those phrases that way deliberately. Dogs are our companions and dog people benefit from it. Cats are in control and they benefit from it. | NWI