I get it. Cats are self-reliant, independent and don't need much care beyond a place to go and some food. But me, personally, I like dogs. I like knowing that when I get home, my puppies are going to go to crazy level 9 (refer to the end of this article for the chart) because they're just that happy to see me.
Ok, ok. They're happy to know that they get to go for a walk and have food. But the important part is that they direct this happiness at me.
So take last night. My husband, sister in law, and I went down to their parent's house for dinner. My in-laws have an adorable calico cat, an outdoor car that loves to roam their 10 acres of land. This cat seems to like me alright and I always make it a point to go outside when I visit to give her some pets.
But it's not that easy.
Last night, like most nights, the cat came near the house when she heard the car. She always keeps a large distance from moving cars which I am always thankful for. I headed around back and then the dance began. First, I can't look at her. If I look at her, she will look back with a sort of terrified yet proud look and she won't come any closer than five feet.
If I make any movements, she'll dart away a few feet and then slowly come back in. I assure you, I have never hit or hurt her in any way to make this a reasonable behavior.
So as long as I sit in the grass avoiding ant bites for a good five minutes, she'll come up to me close enough that I could pet her at this point. But no, I need to wait until she's sniffed my legs and then she'll brush up against me and then - only then - can I pet her.
Oh, then she started purring like this was the highlight of her evening and I couldn't help but get a smile on my face as I picked her up and she nestled up against me with her eyes half closed and happy.
And I guess it's normal for cats to drool when they're being pet? And that this does mean they're happy? Because that happens. She keeps it real.
In any case, keep in mind that I have been trying to win the love of this cat for over two years now, and it still takes me that long to get her to let me pet her - even though she clearly enjoys the attention once she gets it.
So to contrast this, Sunday night was the first time that I had gone over to my husband's cousin's grandma's house. As it turns out, she has four dogs. And the moment I stepped into the house with my husband and sister in law, half of those dogs, a Pomeranian and a curly gray mop of a dog breed I don't know, came over, happy to see newcomers.
The third dog, a Labrador Retriever mix who turned out to be 14 years old (according to what I was told), was slightly more sedate, but leaned her head over from her spot by the counter so that I could give her nose a pet. Her tail wagged back and forth slowly but steady and I could have sworn she had a smile.
The fourth dog was also interested in us, but significantly more nervous. Apparently a shih tzu/ yorkshire terrier blend, this tiny pup looked like she might have weighed two pounds, if that. She would come close enough to sniff at our feet when she thought we weren't looking, but would run under the couch if we tried to pet her.
Basically, what I'm saying is I don't know why cats have to act like 2-lb tiny puppies meeting me for the first time. I just don't care for that.