I grew up in a two pet family: a dog and a cat.
Our dog’s name was Rusty and he was 18 months older than me. He was a red kelpie cross…dad always reckoned with a dingo…who knows… He arrived on our doorstop as a puppy on Christmas Day in 1964. Someone had just left him there. Apparently my parents tried to find out who left him, but once it became clear that they were never going to find out, Rusty became our dog.
I loved Rusty. He was loud and barked at everything. Birds. The Wind. Neighbours. He must have annoyed the hell out of the neighbourhood, but as a kid I thought this was great. He would run around the backyard with a plank of wood in his mouth. If you didn’t watch yourself, he would run up to you and whack you in the back of the legs with it as he ran past. I’m sure he did this deliberately.
He used to love playing tug-of-war with an old dirty rag. He’d be growling, but his tail would be wagging. It was all part of the game. He lived in the backyard. “Dogs don’t belong in the house,” my Dad would say. But he had the back shed to sleep in and to take shelter from the rain.
During storms he would jump the fence and run away – where we never knew – it would take days for us to catch him. You could see him all over the neighbourhood. If he saw us he would run up to us to say hello, but he would never let us catch him. But he would always came back eventually…mostly.
The first time he didn’t come back we thought we had lost him forever until we got a call from a vet on the other side of the city – the other side of the Parramatta River actually – how he got there we never found out. Luckily he still had his dog tags on, so the vet was able to contact us.
The second time he never came back would be the last. He had been hit and killed by a car coming out of its driveway by a neighbour down the street. The fact that Rusty died only a few months after my father had died didn’t help. We buried him (the dog) in the backyard, and that was the end of Rusty, my first best friend.
The cat I grew up with was called Spot…because he had a single white spot under his chin. (You’re probably seeing a trend of bleeding-obvious naming conventions in our family…) He was born when I was 5 I think. It was our old cat, Mother-Kit’s, last litter. We had to put her down a few months later. We kept two kittens from the Litter; Spot and a female ginger we named Georgina (to annoy George, my Dad.) Georgina was a lovely cat. Friendly, and quiet and loving. She, of course, got into a fight with a neighbourhood cat and had to be put down. Which left us with Spot.
Spot was a complete bastard. He was aloof. He was grumpy and unpredictable. He would rub up against your legs, but if you’d try to pat him, he’d more than likely scratch you. He pissed on my bed once. I hated that cat. So there you have it – my best friend as a child was a dog, and my worst enemy was a cat. Which is obviously why I grew up to hate dogs and love cats.
Yes, you read that right. I really don’t like dogs that much as an adult. I find them smelly and ridiculous. And all that neediness… “Love me, love me, love me!” Yuck! Can’t stand them. But cats! I LOVE cats. We have two of the most adorable, friendly and loving cats imaginable. Rhali, our black and white, even likes to play fetch with me. Who needs a dog!
So why the change in heart? Who knows. Maybe there’s some reverse psychology going on. Maybe I don’t want another dog because it hurt me so much when Rusty died. And maybe I desperately wanted a cat to love me after growing up with Spot, the complete bastard. All I know is that I love my cats and have never wanted to own a dog as an adult. Maybe that will change, but for now, I’m definitely in the “love cats, hate dogs” camp.
So, what are you; a cat or dog person? And what about when you were growing up? Did you change allegiance as a grown-up?
John James has written 203 posts.
JJ is a blogger who is bored with traditional opinion blogging. He is a co-founder and editor at KiKi & Tea. He also represents the grumpy middle-aged man demographic on KiKi & Tea. He is a writer by trade and a frustrated rock star / crime fighter by night, and blogs about music at newmusicrevue.com.
Follow on twitter: @JohnJamesOZ