Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Truth About Cats And Dogs

One of the biggest differences between dogs and cats occurred to me as I was on a lovely Saturday drive with Rick recently. We had decided to take advantage of the sunshine and go for a ride "out to the country," as I like to say, to pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables along with some fresh air. As we drove, every so often we would encounter a Dog Head sticking out of a car or truck window, its ears flapping in the wind, muzzle flaps rippling, slobber flying, a look of unmitigated joy on its face.

Dogs love to ride in cars! THEY LOVE IT! You know darn well that all that Dog Owner had to say was, "Hey, Beasley! Wanna go for a ride? In the car? Huh? Huh?" And Beasley just went batshit, jumping up and down and wiggling like a gummy worm with anticipation. It's entirely possible that all Dog Owner had to say was, "Do you wan--...?" and Beasley was already losing it.

Sam's Golden Retriever, Chance, who lived with us here briefly (before he ate a door) is a maniac for car rides. He weighs approximately eleventy hundred pounds and especially loves to go through drive-thrus. The problem is, he is too chatty. Sam can't communicate effectively with bank tellers or fast-food employees because Chance is too busy barking at them through the window or the sunroof. As a result, he doesn't go on many errands anymore. Dogs. They are nuts for car rides.

Cats...not so much. Piper and Marlowe had to go to The Vet (cue ponderous dramatic music) last week for their shots. Let's just say that I didn't even mention a car. Even pulling out The Leash gets them uneasy. Marlowe hunches over and becomes a Cat Statue. And once they are IN the car, it's a constant litany of meows and reassurance. Piper likes to be a neck pillow and Marlowe likes to wander and register her concern and disapproval the entire way there. If I can get them to lie together, they settle somewhat, but every traffic light or turn is an affront. Oh, you say, get a Cat Carrier. Ha ha. It is to laugh.

TravisCat and EmilyCat, the Kittens' predecessors, were not This Way. Travis did not like the car, that is true. But he just gave in to the necessity by turning over his Man Card. He lay on the seat, jammed his head in the space between it and the door, and gave out a loud meow every now and then. I would say kind, reassuring affirmations like, "I know, Travis. We treat you shamefully." Or, "You have every right to be upset, you poor thing." And he'd wail on, one every 10 seconds or so. They'd be less frequent on the way home. We'd pull in the drive, I'd open his car door, and he'd get out, walk himself to the back door, and go in and collapse into a ten-hour nap.

Emily was completely different. She loved the car, most especially Rick's pickup truck. In that vehicle, she sat on his lap, front legs splayed upon the wheel, and stared out the windshield. She was Jared's cat, and when he got his driver's license, he would take her for a ride on her birthday. He'd take her to the McDonald's drive-thru and let her have a french-fry for her treat. Sometimes, he'd take her on a ride if he were taking a friend home. But she was not a fan of having the windows open.

As a personality, I embody traits both canine and feline: I love a car ride, but like Emily, I need the windows up. I can curl up in a nice, warm spot for hours, almost inert, but never napping. I am very loyal and love a routine, but I can be aloof if I am not entirely comfortable. And I will admit to being slobbery, but only when I'm asleep. Currently, my shots are up to date, but I am shedding a little; I'm low-maintenance and require no walking, unless you count shoe-shopping. And that I can do by myself.


  1. My cat puts the car in the same category as the vacuum and the coffee grinder: things humans try to kill cats with. To her the cat carrier is a portable kidnapping and torture device. After her last car ride, she spent the next five days plotting revenge scenarios. She has a rich interior life.

  2. Mikey G1:53 AM

    We are such opposites in so many ways. I spent the weekend riding in a convertible with the top down and the wind blowing, and I LOVED IT!!!!

  3. My cats always hated the car. Would howl like the wind & make me feel terrible. My dogs on the other hand are car junkies. Scrappy Doo enjoys sitting in my lap as I drive which is ok since he is so small. Scooter, however, likes to jump back & forth from the front seat to the back and is HUGE so this is just an accident waiting to happen. Therefore, Scooter only goes in the car if it is absolutely necessary. He simply can't be trusted to behave himself. Ever.

    And then there was my beloved Lacie dog who actually jumped out of the window as the car was traveling at 50mph...sigh. She never liked the car too much after that, go figure.

  4. Nancy3:30 PM

    Are you sure you didn't write skits for Saturday Night Live?
    Like, "Toonsis, the cat who could drive a car"

    Every week Toonsis would start out driving the car and she would be doing all right speeding along,tearing up the roads, blowing the horn, outracing the cops and then.....Over the cliff.
    Every week Toonsis smashed up the car by missing a curve and going over the side of a mountain.

    It was one of everybody's favorite skits.

    You could make a fortune if you could teach Piper or Marlowe to drive Rick's truck..SNL here we come!

  5. Nancy--I remember that skit. I'd never let Piper behind the wheel; he has Cat ADD, I think. He is very easily distracted and loses interest in things early on. And Marlowe? She has a feral streak, I think. I shudder to think of her behind the wheel. ;-)

    Nina--Scooter is a hellion. LOL. We had a dog at one time when I was living at home. Dusty loved the car, and my dad would take her to the park. She used to put her paws on the ledge of the open window, and once, my dad took a wide turn--a VERY wide turn. Dusty simply slid out of the window and landed on a curb lawn. She was fine, thank goodness. And she still loved getting in the car and going to Oakwood Park.

    Mikey G.--Our opposite natures are what make us such good friends. And thanks for the phone call from Yet Another Of Your Adventures! We talked about you at length at dinner then. I can't wait to hear more about it all.

    Siren--Thank heaven that Piper and Marlowe don't hold grudges! Rick and I had to hold them for their shots and a nail trimming session, and so far, no revenge attempts. I think you should be glad you cat can amuse herself, even if it is with plots against you.

  6. While Beasley goes batshit for a ride in a car, Pepper prefers to puke at the mere mention...

  7. That picture reminded me of my daughter's teacher in pre-school. She was hit in a head-on collision when the oncoming driver was thrown into a panic because her freaked-out cat jumped on her and scratched her. The teacher was saved by her air bag, but still had her leg crushed. The other woman was badly injured as well. I don't know about the cat. Public service message: keep your cat in a carrier when you have them in the car.

    I love riding in convertibles, though I don't like what it does to my hair. But it makes me feel young, like when my bff from hs used to drive us around in her 67 MG convertible. FUN.

  8. We are cat carrier people, as our two cats Do Not Like the Car and prefer hiding in the cat carrier and broadcasting their displeasure. It also makes the vet waiting room much less traumatic.

    Jacques the Dog is not a big fan of the car. He is Worried About Traffic. But he likes going to the kennel (known at our house as Dog Camp) and when we arrive there, he barks to get into the building as quickly as possible.

  9. V-I am still in love with the name of your dog. So suitable in so many ways. P&M do pretty well in the waiting room, and they are getting better in the car. However... do appreciate the anecdote and subsequent PSA contained in your comments here. While I always carry a backup Containment Unit in the car with me, P&M are closely leashed and don't ever interfere with the driver. I guess I always refer back to Emily and Travis in the car, which is unfair, I know, and hope that P&M will get a bit better at it all.

  10. I once tried to take a cat to the vet. After 3 hours of hissing and scratching, I finally got him into the carrier. The hissing and scratching was done by me. I can't even tell you what the cat did. Except to say that when we got to our destination, I discovered ten pounds of cat hair and another biological present inside the Take the Kitty to the Vet Bag.

  11. Ortizzle--Confining a cat is easier said than done. Boy, do I get that. Just trying to clip Marlowe's nails or brush her is an all-day project. (Naturally, she's the one who is part Angora, too.)


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