Writers and Cats... is it true?

I’ll take a dog over a cat any day.

Except the little yappy dogs. Or poodles.

Currently, one cat and one dog, thought many of each over the years. Dogs are higher maintenance and they bark. In return, they’ll give absolute loyalty. Cats are affectionate, but they belong to themselves first. Cats observe, while dogs dive in. Dogs don’t hold much back, but cats always keep a part of themselves separate. As much as I like dogs, I have never laughed so hard as at a cat who turns its back on me because it isn’t happy with something I said or did. If a cat doesn’t see you, you don’t exist. Cats purr and there is something about the sight of a cat curled up in the sun, sound asleep, that speaks of perfect pleasure and contentment. I can’t say that I have loved one more than the other, but if I had to choose, I’d probably take the cat. On the other hand, I’ve never held back from the right dog, at the right time. Love is love, no matter what form it comes in.


IMHO, the best writer in the world on the subject of pets is Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. Her books, The Hidden Life of Dogs and The Tribe of Tiger, offer an anthropologist’s view of why the two species are so different and why different people prefer one over the other.

Swift answer: dog = extrovert; cat = introvert

If you like animal lore, her books are a fascinating read. Why do cats rub against our legs? It’s not affection, they are marking us with their scent.

Mmmmm, I’m a dog lover and very much an introvert (according to every personality test taken and my own experience!). Though I liked much of the Hidden Life of Dogs. I’m the reverse of Margaret–definitely prefer dogs, but I love cats too (sans owning them–the allergy thing). Love is love. Well said.

Hmmm. This is yer pup reporting. 711 posts, AND invitations to coffee or tea in Portland, do NOT an introvert make. Better take the tests again. :wink:

Now from Droo: Also, people vary a lot on the extro-intro scale. Some days I want company, some days not. Like Amber, I enjoy dogs but much prefer living with cats. Except for their habit of leaving fur balls where I will step in my bare feet! :cry:

Alex, ma belle petite fleur.

My friend, the kinky electoconvulsive therapist, is just like you. She too is an introvert and she likes cats also. She has a cat called Satan, `tis a black panther! Mon dieu…Mon Dieu!

Druid mon ami, buy yourself a pair of slippers!! What are you, a hippy?!!!

Bonne nuit mes ami

Le Directeur

Ladies and Gentlemen -

Permit me to introduce -

Hettington the Fluffercat!

Need I say more? Thought not… :blush:

No, the tests are right on. :slight_smile: Introverts do not equal unfriendly or unsocial people. I like people very much and feel quite comfortable with people I know a bit, like Brett (from the forum), who is a real sweetie. Just means I need lots and lots of alone time and tend to be more inward in orientiation. And forums are an easy way to be social for ones like me with a shy streak.

Thankfully the hubbie is an extroverted type and I can just follow his lead at parties or when in situations where I don’t know people.

And we both love dogs. :slight_smile:


No, no, Monsieur Directeur, it is dogs that I love. Cats, I like except when I’m having an asthma attack from petting one. They do tend to LOVE me, however. Not sure why. Maybe it’s the introvert in me they are attracted to, eh???


You sound so like me but I’m both a cat and dog person. And the internet has been a savior when I don’t wanta’ which is quite a lot.


I can attest from f2f experience that Alexandria is certainly not antisocial, and I wouldn’t have known she was an introvert if she hadn’t confessed it here. She’s friendly, thoughtful, chatty – to all appearances perfectly social, in spite of her extended experience in academentia.
I’m not surprised to hear about cats liking her. Not just because of her winning personality, but also because the species, being inherently contrary, seems drawn to those who dislike them or are allergic. I’ve seen it happen often.
There I go generalizing again… Amber’s right, cats are too idiosyncratic to stereotype. Mine are at least as affectionate, in their very different ways, as the dogs I used to have. In fact, it’s their quirks and slight unpredictability that makes them interesting. Maybe that’s one reason why writers, who are professionally curious (in both senses) are so fascinated by them? That and the fact that they so often achieve the kind of placid, guilt-free laziness to which many of us must secretly aspire.

Cats have a pretty good reason to rip up furniture, too. :slight_smile:

Well, that would explain that. I score so introverted I make 8/10 introverts look like swingers. You know its bad when they ask you how often you socialise with friends, and you sit there thinking: “Friends?”

And I hate dogs!

But I don’t hate extraverts. Well, as long as they stay over on the other side of the room—and they aren’t talking as if they are in a night-club when it is dead silent and two feet away from each other. :open_mouth:

And yes, to what Alex said. Just because I have fifty-thousand posts doesn’t mean anything except that I have no “life” as the extraverts tend to refer to it, and rather enjoy the sublime and utter abstraction that textual communication affords!

That’s why I stayed out of the long thread on iPhones. I can’t imagine ever owing a cell phone. To me a day of bliss is when the phone never rings. But I clatter away on e-mail, IM, and forums constantly. Probably this makes me a cat, in intro-textual-version terms.

But hey, Amber, you have friends. Whaddya think we are, chopped liver?

My Lady Amber,
If I may make so bold, and refer you to the last post in the iPhone Redux and however reluctantly inclined, You you may be to do so, I would willingly sojourn on South Georgia, amongst the penguins with you my lady. I`m a penguin person too.

Your slave

Ha! I say ‘ha’ because of the academia reference and because I understand all too well what the reference infers, having spent plenty of time around academic beings. One of the reasons I chose Princeton was precisely because my department does NOT suffer from this malady, all of them being quite socially proficient and many of them being quite active in the world beyond academics, which is most of what we call the world!

And I’m blushing from all the nice words you say about me, Brett. :blush: :slight_smile:

Interesting. I always thought it was because they could sense, below the sneezing and wheezing, that I love all critters and really do love cats, despite the fact that I can never have one. One of the saddest moments for me was when I had to give away, hurriedly, a lovely little calico kitten who was so affectionate she slept by my face at night. I was getting asthma attacks and not getting any sleep and had to give her up in a quick way. Very sad to this day.

Ha again! Reminds me of our cell phone discussion. Ugh. I thought of you, Amber, and all of us who decried those who yell into their cell phones like there is no one else in the world–the other day I had two of these *$$holes around me while I was trying to write. All the glares in the world couldn’t seem to shut them up. Now if I’d been a cat, I could have definitely shut them down with the kind of definitive, dismissive look that only a cat can give!


Dog man.

Not only dog man, but golden retriever man. The last of the line died two years ago. Broke whatever heart I have. She was a loyal and unwavering friend and my constant writing companion (though she left something to be desired as a lapdog, especially when I was trying to use the computer… :slight_smile: ).

Now I’m racing to complete the current book, so that I can take on and train up her successor(s).

Thanks to all who posted…

I love dogs and cats equally, but there are times, like now, (third floor apartment, landlord says no dogs, limited time to spend with them) that dogs are impractical.

Because dogs and cats are different. Most people are used to dog ways, and cats then suffer from an unfair comparison.

I don’t know why this is. No one gets a goldfish and complains they don’t fetch. Yet many here mentioned a cat is not a dog.


Cats are, above all, reciprocal. The amount of affection and interaction you get from a cat is completely proportional to how much affection and interaction you give the cat.

Once you wrap your head around that, cat behavior becomes what it is; cat behavior.

Not poor-substitute-for-a-dog behavior.

In many ways, I find cats superior writing companions. A dog needs to be worn out to sleep happily by one’s feet. They are do-ers. They need to be always doing something if their energy is up. The way we always bring to dog to their feet when we get up reflects that. Dogs are happiest doing something.

Cats, by contrast, are actually thinkers. Their energy cycles are some-up, then a lot-down. When I’m driving for the hoop in a late night session, the cats might ask for attention, but it’s the kind (sitting on lap, occasional petting) that fits into my needs of the moment.

That, to me, is the great thing about cats. When we are homebodies, a cat, also a homebody, is a great companion.

That might actually be why I prefer dogs; much as I sometimes complain about being dragged out in all weathers, without the dogs I’d probably never leave the house.

(Actually, I know I wouldn’t - I was freelance for two years before we got a dog, and gained almost 20lbs during that time!)

That said, one of the reasons I like sighthounds (greyhounds, whippets, salukis, lurchers etc.) is that they don’t take much tiring out, and once they are tired they’ll sleep for hours. My dogs literally spend about 18 out of every 24 hours asleep… allowing me to get on with work :slight_smile:

Hi Werebear,

Hmmm, I guess you are referring to some particular breed of dog? I have a very different experience of dogs. My dog is happiest sitting on my lap while I work or nestled next to me, very close. It’s what I love most about dogs is the closeness and just being together.

As for cats being thinkers, well, I have to strongly disagree again. While there are some dogs that definitely are not among the brightest of creatures, there are others that are uncanny in their level of understanding and ability to communicate. I see my dog thinking all the time, quite clearly. Same with my other dogs. I’ve always thought people greatly underestimate the thinking level of most animals, including dogs.

I am not putting down cats or making blanket statements about them either. The species have their definite differences and pros and cons. But I’ve had some amazing dogs, and not just the small dog I have now. My 72 pound Malamute/Belgian Sheperd mix and I traveled across the country several times by car, and we spent many happy traveling miles together with her sitting close next to me as or with her sleepy head on my leg while I drove. She used to sleep with her head draped over my bent legs at night. She was also incredible fun when tugging on my pants leg and dragging me around the floor. So there is the doing part, but so much more just ‘being’ together. It’s what I love most about having dogs as companions.

So, I understand if your experience is different than mine. I guess I resist blanket statements that exclude my own experience, so I just wanted to give my own, different perspective on the whole cat and dog theme.