With unending duality, it’s no surprise that people divide themselves based on their favorite pet. Cats v Dogs. But with most people feeling such a pull in one direction or another could it be more than seeking companionship, but rather seeking a reflection of oneself?
When I was one year old my mother brought home Shadow, a black lab/pointer mix who became my best friend and second Shadow. She adopted Shadow because every time a dog walked past my stroller I howled in fear and she didn’t want me to grow up afraid of dogs. Shadow was the best thing in my young life and she highly influenced me self-defining as a “dog person”.
In 2014, Kevin and I (in our first few months of being together) adopted a cat, Mochi. What prompted this depends on who you ask, Kevin believes I was the champion of this decision, while I feel it was the result of a group vote. Within the first year of adopting Mochi, we found a five week old kitten (who we named Kitten) and our family of three grew by one.
Living with two cats, and no dogs, for close to two years has taught me a surprising amount about myself. Within the past several months I’ve begun called myself a “cat person”, just to try it on for size.
What I found when saying this is that I was a cat person, in that I am most like a cat. There are two types of people: those like cats and those like dogs. In a social situation, a cat-like person is on the outside, wary of a new experience, and sizing up others in the room. A dog person is happy to be the center of attention, bubbly and full of life. For me, I feel most like a cat person because I myself find that I behave like a cat – wary of strangers, uncomfortable in new social situations, quick to anger. Kevin is more like a dog. Peppy, energetic, the center of the room is his home. Kevin attacks all new experiences with a vigor that exhausts me just to witness.
Is it possible that the reason I am feeling more and more content with labeling myself as a “cat person” because I identify more with a cat?
Only a few weeks ago I realized that I no longer rush to greet every dog I come in contact with, and in fact have started to actively move away from or around them. When in my favorite bookstore at the start of the month I saw a black lab that, right down to the white star on its chest, deeply reminded me of my beloved Shadow. In an effort to reacquaint myself with dogs and my title as a “dog-person” I went over to say hi. In response to my olive branch, the dog promptly rolled over and drooled on my 600$ Rag & Bone boots.
Someone else may have thought that was endearing, but to me it just cemented that I am a cat person.