DOGGY OR MOGGY? A HUMOROUS LOOK AT
THE BENEFITS AND BRICKBATS OF OWNERSHIP
I love cats more than any other animal. They are to me the most mysterious, fascinating and wonderful creatures on earth. Not only can they read your mind, they can also manipulate it to their own advantage.
That's the voice of 40 years of cat ownership speaking. Oh, and I didn't own any of my moggies - they owned me.
From Fluffy to Thatcher, from Geoffrey to Henry and from Lucky to Sooty, I was THEIR pet, not the reverse. If it didn't suit them to live in my home, they'd have been off like a flash to appoint some other purr soul as honorary daily food-and-milk supplier. (That's Geoffrey in the picture, by the way. His full name is Geoffrey Boycat - cricket fans may remember him!).
Some of us are cat people, some dog people and some, like me, care for both. Only we usually have a preference and in my household cats have always held the edge.
To start with, they allow their owner more independence. If you're not around for a few days, it doesn't really matter as long as someone is there to feed them. Leave a dog on its own for two days and you're not only in serious trouble with the animal authorities, the poor mutt will also have moped itself into a candidate for the canine nuthouse.
Then there is the cleanliness issue. Dogs love to pepper their noses with the ghastliest of savouries left for them by their fellow barkers. The browner and smellier the better for Fido and his pals, and the worse for those of us whose shoes squelch the stink into our rugs and carpets when we get home.
From my experience, there's nothing more frustrating than trying to house-train a puppy. It will pee and poo to order providing you let it out a minimum of 250 times a day. But pop out yourself for five minutes and you open the door on your return to a mound of doggy dung and a floor awash with a ship-load of urine.
The yelps when Little Poo is left momentarily on its own are bad enough. But they are nothing to the yelps of human anger that boom into the stratosphere when Mr and Mrs Owner discover what poochie was up to while they were out of the room.
Yet to a dog lover, those Close Encounters of the T*rd Kind are all acceptable in exchange for the pure, uncomplicated love you are guaranteed in return for just being there. Who cares that Fido spends all day rolling in mud, urine, vomit and the faeces of every animal on earth? It only takes a couple of hours to clean him up - and then those luscious licks and doggy hugs make it all worthwhile.
Unless, like me, you're already so browned off by those pooper bloopers that you've vowed never to have a dog again.
Cats are a complete contrast. House-trained before they've ever seen a house, all a kitten needs is a litter tray and it will wee and poo into it ad infinitum. Mind you, removing the hail of stones that hurtle around the house in mini-puss's attempts to bury the residue with its lethal back feet can take twice as long as clearing up after any untrained puppy.
Moggies also need no teaching when it comes to cleaning themselves. And thereby hangs another tale - plus body, head and legs. Before you know it, puss has licked herself bald and is coughing up a two-ton hair ball. You rush her to the vet thinking she's on her last legs but fear not...they all do it.
Unless, like my Molly, the furry one suffers from feline asthma and vomits up nothing but wheeze.
If your cat is a Tom, then you have another problem or three. First and worst is his territory spraying, and the pungent, difficult-to-remove smell it creates. Then there's his sexual appetite, which he'll inevitably impose on all the local moggettes - accompanied by a cat's chorus loud enough to drown out a 30-piece orchestra.
The solution to that one is simple. Have Tiger Tom snipped in the bud when he's a few months old and the spraying and s****ing will be a thing of the past.
If you have a dog, you will of course need to take it for walks. Unless you are a lazy bitch like one or two of my friends - and end up with a mutt that's even fatter than its owner. In such instances, at least fatso and her pet won't need a pooper scooper to clean up the dog mess, though not that many people seem to bother if the pavements in my locality at El Raso are anything to go by.
People not clearing up the mess left by their dogs in public places is a big problem everywhere. But here's a question for you: If you saw a threatening-looking yob's pit-bull pooing outside your home and he didn't clean up the mess (the yob, not the pitbull), what would you do?
If your answer is 'nothing', score a brownie point for honesty.
Cat-walking is strictly for models, of course. But at the end of the day, you'll shack up with the pet that suits YOU, whether it be a dog, cat, rabbit, kangaroo or a 15-foot crocodile. My 11-year-old grandson would happily have the lot - particularly if the croc came with a guarantee to eat his sister.
As for me, I'll stick with my two moggies back home in in Guardamar. Even if I am at my wits end hoping they are OK while I spend Christmas and the New Year here with my family in Manchester. Don't worry, while I am away some good friends are feeding them both - along with three or four strays who have adopted me (and particularly my daily food offerings) over recent months.
They all used to be straggly. Now they are verging on obese. But I'd happily take them all with me everywhere I go if only they could speak English.
PS. Question: What do you call a brown Spanish cat? Answer - a chocolate gato.