Tag Archives: relationships

A Single Man’s Case for Cats

Which girl would you rather date?

Girl A – She loves you unconditionally. Seriously, unless you’re the kind of evil that persistently hits loved ones, nothing will stop her from loving you. In fact, your biggest problem is that she wants you around ALL THE TIME, and if she doesn’t see you at least twice a day, she is literally going to shit (and leave you to clean it up). You can’t go out with your buddies at night unless you stop in and see her after work first. And if you crash at a buddy’s place, then you can’t go to work the next morning (or lunch on a Saturday) unless you go see her first.  There’s upside though. She’s completely enthusiastic about doing whatever you want to do, and if you’re patient with her learning curve, she’ll eventually do things exactly how you want them done. Laundry, cooking and cleaning will be done and done right. There’s just that incessant need to have you around that will never go away (in fact, you can only go on a business trip if you’ve arranged for her sister to come stay with her while you’re gone).

Girl B – She does not love you unconditionally. In fact, if you’re violent to her even once, she’s probably never going to sleep with you again. She needs very little attention. And while praises and compliments seem like pointless gestures to her, she does depend on you. As long as you treat her to a few meals a week, she is loyal. She will sleep with you every night, but isn’t much of a snuggler. She’s incredibly clean, but rarely cares about what you want to do. You want to watch the ballgame? She’s not going to bother you in the middle of the 4th quarter. You want to spend time with her? Maybe she will and maybe she won’t (just depends if the beat of her own drummer falls in line with your step). If you need compliments rained down on your ego, you’re probably not going to get them from her. But she does love you.

Girl A is a dog.
Girl B is a cat.

I believe that blind, needy love is stupid, even though it also seems idyllic (if everyone lived this way, wouldn’t it work?) And for the record, I’m completely guilty of saying, “The worst thing about cats is that they’re not dogs.” What can I say? I was young and had never been completely responsible for a pet. In January of 2010, I bought a cat for my then girlfriend. We broke up a few months later and she moved to London. And that’s how I came to own a cat named Feginn (it’s Icelandic for “happy”, and less importantly, it’s easily mutated into “Faginn” by my most meat-headed (and hilarious) friends). Truth be told, I’d like everyone to love Feginn (aka: Lion of Raleigh) the way that I love him, but it simply isn’t possible. Loving your pets is like loving your children; it’s too personal to share.

The real reason I’ve thought about this is because it sucks (though mildly entertaining) to have other people instantly judge you for being a man who  is both single and owns a cat. I really don’t know why the ideal American male’s pet is a dog. Both pets serve to improve the quality of human life. Both have rich histories with  human race and religion. My guess is that the dog, for centuries, served a more utilitarian purpose by hunting, guarding, working and competing. These were masculine, day-to-day duties that the dog not only assisted in, but loved. The cat? C’mon, all it did was sit on the lap of rich dudes who paid for human guards, workers, chefs and sport.

Dogs will always be ostensibly cool. But logically, the cat makes a better, modern pet...unless you live in Alaska.

News flash to every friend I have. American life in the 21st century has made nearly all of us rich dudes who pay for human protection, work, food preparation (eat pizza much?) and sport. The amount of work an indoor dog requires (feeding, walking, training, etc) used to be completely worth it for the benefits of companionship. Now, you get the same upside with a cat without any of the work.Maybe you like the  begging and whimpering every time you try to enjoy chicken wings on NFL Sunday. Maybe you like giving baths and taking mandatory walks (cats don’t need a euphemism for no defecating in improper places). Maybe you just want to have an animal that always needs you around. If so, excellent choice on the dog. I suspect that my opinions will change if I am married and have a family. Unconditional love of a being who wants me around seems to fit the flow of marital devotion. But now?

Jerry Seinfeld used to make a joke about women where he’d say, “Men want the same thing from their underwear that they want from women: a little bit of support, and a little bit of freedom.” The dog is pure support, a pet for the brief-wearing man of yestyear. And there’s really nothing wrong with that. But I’ll take girl B.

Striking a balance,
Dustin “Boxer-Briefs” Riedesel