Thursday, March 4, 2010

Analogy of the Week (Month?)

So I talked way too big a game before when I somewhat promised weekly installments of new analogies, but, in going with the old "Quality over Quantity" defense, I'm going to amend the series to "Analogy of the Month." Today we branch out into a topic rarely explored here to this point - pets. (Because you don't want to read yet ANOTHER baseball post by Lou before the season even starts, right? Don't worry, there's plenty of those in queue...)

To me, there is no debate when it comes to dogs vs. cats. There's only one ultimate pet, and that is Man's Best Friend. Of course I have my biases - I come from a family of bulldog lovers and in my lifetime have had 5 similar to that handsome gentleman you see up there. I also developed a cat allergy around age 6, so any affinity I had for the felines was thrown out the window back when I was playing with WWF action figures 6 hours a day.

But there's little dispute that a dog is a loyal companion who is happy to have you just as you are. Yes, it requires a good deal of time and effort in order to train and care for a dog, in most cases much less than would be necessary to have a cat. A dog, however, is appreciative of every nugget of food you give him, every scratch on the back and rub behind the ears. A dog's world is totally at peace once you walk through that door. Dogs take joy in the simplest of things - chewing a bone, being able to carry his leash on the final stretch of a walk, or having a nice snack of freshly fallen snow.

Cats, on the other hand? Well, I just don't buy the appeal. Most cats I've encountered are odd, aloof, unappreciative, and tough to win over. They creep around the house all day finding odd nooks and crannies to stow themselves into, and their idea of fun involves scratching posts and backyard birds. Affection toward their master is not their boat - cats have more of a "what have you done for me lately?" attitude than a New York Post sports writer.

Which brings me to the analogy - having a cat is like having a bad boss or a bad significant other. Think about it. A cat is never around when you actually want to find it or need it for something, but they're always up in your face when you just want to relax and mind your own business. And when a cat does happen to be in a jovial and giving mood, its idea of a "gift" is not exactly what you or I would have in mind. "Here, owner, you are such a good owner, I thought I'd reward you with this dead rodent I dragged in from the yard!" Doesn't the "thanks, but seriously, no thanks" nature of such a gift remind anyone of a Jelly-of-the-Month-Club Christmas bonus, even a little bit? And last but not least, just like a bad boss or bad significant other, cats leave a nice pile of shit for you to pick up on a regular basis.

I know this was a pretty big generalization, but it at least makes some sense. Obviously cats are great pets for people who have that certain taste in pets, otherwise there wouldn't be millions of them around. And cats are much more practical than dogs are for those who don't have the time or aren't home enough to properly care for a dog. But if all variables are equal, one would have a hard time convincing me that a cat would be a better pet than a dog. I'm sure there are plenty of awesome cats out there that I'd enjoy having around, but that's part of my point - the "good" cats are often the ones with more of a dog-like demeanor. The point of committing time, effort, and money into raising a pet is the enjoyment you ultimately get out of it, and call me closed minded, but I'm taking this over this 8 days a week.

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