Somebody asked me the other day if I was a “cat person.” It didn’t take me long to answer. You have to be careful about such things. My wife is a cat person. I’m not even a “pet person.” No, I’m not a cat person. What do you say about a breed of animal that has less interest in you than you have in them?
We used to have a poster that tried to illustrate the difference between dogs and cats. It read:
To a dog, people are family
To a cat, people are staff
That pretty well sums it up for some of us but, once again, you have to be careful. Pets in general and cats in specific have a lot of fans. You can mess with a lot of things but don’t mess with people when it comes to their pets.
At one time we had a dog and three cats. I’m pretty sure they got together and made a pact to set a Guinness world record. They were planning to outlive me. They made enough visits to the vet to have their own rooms. If I asked my wife how much one of their many trips cost me, she would simply respond, “You don’t want to know.”
We didn’t purchase our cats; we ‘rescued’ them. They were ‘free’ until they started making their regular trips to the clinic. I had to draw the line when the AARP mail started showing up with their names printed on the envelopes.
Even for a hard-head like me, pets usually get to you. You understand what people mean when they say with great emotion that a pet was just like a member of the family. I had to bury our four animals. Nobody else wanted to do it. Neither did I.
What’s the point in all this? Among the amazing menagerie of God’s creatures, the animals that become our pets reveal something about us. How we treat our pets is an indicator of what we’re really like or would like to be. Remember the old prayer: “Dear God, help me be the man my dog thinks I am.”
I don’t think I’ll ever be a “cat person.” I may not be a pet person at all, but I’ve seen the eyes of wonder and excitement when a little boy meets his kitten for the first time; I’ve watched a senior adult walking with his dog and noticing the similarities between two old friends; I have felt the grief when you have to say good-bye to a four-legged member of the family.
Pets are like people in many ways. Each has his own personality. Some are fun, loyal, loving, and engaging. Some are mischievous, aloof, distant, and cranky. Some train well and are obedient; others are stubborn and hard to get along with. See, just like people.