Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cat people, dog people, weird people, and birds

Last Friday morning, when Cloud and I went outside, we saw a car parked on our front lawn. This wasn't unusual; it was on the very edge of our property, in a little alcove type area that allows people room to pull over on a street that is largely not conducive to pulling over. We watched the car for a minute, but it didn't do anything, so we went about our business of digging in the dirt.

Then a tow truck pulled over. The tow truck driver got out, spoke to the person in the car, and then shouted at us, "She got a flat tire! May we use the entrance of your driveway?"

"Sure," I said.

The tow truck driver added, "She didn't want to get out. She was afraid there might be a dog."

"Um," I said.

Then the driver of the car peeked her head around the juniper bushes and said, "I was afraid there might be a dog."

"This is our dog," I replied, pointing down at Riley. "She says meow."

"Meow," said Riley. She's helpful like that.

The woman didn't seem very amused by my remark, nor did she light up upon the recognition of a fellow cat person. But she was distracted with her flat tire, so I can't blame her. Riley, who in spite of being the most doglike of all of our cats is still very much a cat, disappeared under the juniper bushes.

Later on, I started thinking about dog people versus cat people. I don't put a lot of credence into the idea. Sure, some people love one and hate the other. Some people adore one and tolerate the other. But ultimately, cats and dogs are both animals, both mammals, both domesticated, and their similarities far outweigh their differences. For many people, the issue is whether or not they care to include an animal in their household. If they do, then the choice between cat and dog is just nuance.

A friend of mine recently confided that now that she's owned a few cats and a few dogs, she feels somewhat more affinity for the cats. I can relate to that. I like the idea of taking walks with dogs, and playing Frisbee with dogs, but when it comes to the day in, day out responsibility of dog ownership, I'd like it a little better if it were like owning a cat. I'm not always very affectionate, I don't want to take walks several times a day, and I hate drool. OMG, I absolutely hate drool.

My friend treats her dogs like I treat Riley, anyway, so in that respect having Riley is a bit like having a dog. They both wait at the door to go out, and all I have to do is open the door and then watch for her to be ready to come back in again. They both try to eat people food, so shooing Riley off the counter 50 times a day is like having a dog... a dog who jumps like a cat, which is worse than having a real dog. (Fortunately she's only 8 lbs. A dog 30+ lbs who jumps like a cat would be terrible.)

AwesomeCloud was enraptured by the presence of the tow truck, and he also enjoyed observing the tow truck guy change the lady's tire.

We saw a Baltimore oriole in the backyard, so we filled a birdfeeder and also put a half grapefruit out for the birds. Now we have grackles, woodpeckers, a goldfinch, and English sparrows in addition to our orioles. It's funny how quickly the birds come back. I've been neglecting the birdfeeder ever since AwesomeCloud came home, a year and a half ago; it didn't seem worth the effort when he wasn't interested in looking out the window. Now, however, he's thrilled to see birds of all different colors - yellow finches, red cardinals, orange orioles, blue jays - and maybe I can get myself to keep the feeder filled this year.

The cat is a problem. I know. I don't have any brilliant solutions to that problem.

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