Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wednesday Factoid: Dogs vs. Cats

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Are you a dog person or a cat person?


I am not either one of those things.

If for some reason I "had to" have either a dog or a cat, I would prefer a cat. I am also allergic to cats, but I don't like them anyway, and I don't like dogs.

I don't like animals. At all.

What's really annoying is that people tend to be baffled by this. They feel compelled to evangelize about how great their dog or cat is, how theirs is different from whatever they assume I don't like about animals, or how I need to get over some imaginary fear of them that they've projected onto me. I just don't like pets. Period. I don't want to be around them, I don't want to be responsible for them, and I don't want to touch them.

And you know what else is really annoying? The fact that people translate these kinds of statements into a belief that I hate animals or would be cruel to them, or that I am a hypocrite because I'm actually a vegetarian for anti-cruelty reasons and have given significant donations to the Humane Society and other animal-related charities. Apparently that has made some people believe I'm a vegetarian because I think it makes me cool or allows me to shame others, but really the issue is that I love animals in theory. I don't want to be around them or take care of them, but I'm disgusted by poor treatment of animals and I know I couldn't bring myself to hurt or kill one (even to eat), so I prefer not to indirectly kill animals for my food since there are alternatives I am willing to deal with. I've been a vegetarian for almost eighteen years.

People have also noticed that sometimes I share cute animal videos and photos online, and they think it's peculiar that I don't like being around them. I guess that's also associated with liking animals only in theory. I love watching other people enjoy themselves with animals, and I think baby animals and many adult animals are adorable. But I don't like taking care of something that has feelings and depends on me; I don't like the way most of them smell and shed and lick and need their waste taken care of by me; I don't like that some of them cannot be prevented from jumping, scratching, or destroying my property. And I don't like the noises some of them make.

Interestingly, some people also respond to my situation by claiming I must lack exposure to animals and that's the "problem." That I would totally love dogs or cats or both if I was around them more. That this is all an argument from ignorance and if I had my own pets I'd stop having the feelings they don't understand. Well, bzzt. My family has had pets all my life. I grew up with dogs, and I hated it.

When dog chores fell to me I did them to help my family and to be kind to the dogs (there were some times during high school where I'd be responsible for dog-walking because I was the first one home), but I didn't like it. When I was a child and our family dog had puppies, I watched my sisters play with them but didn't have any interest in handling them. After I moved out to go to college and that doggie died, my family got more dogs, eventually having three of them that I had to deal with when I visited home. I hated that too. And now my dad has two dogs and my sister has two dogs, and most of my friends have pets.

I think I prefer cats (even though I'm allergic) because most of them are not aggressive about getting attention from you and they don't get as big as most dogs, but their litterboxes are pretty awful.

I really wish people would stop trying to press me to enjoy animals or assign me personal faults because I don't like them, but they probably won't stop anytime soon. Rargh. I mostly just quietly tolerate other people's animals and try to avoid touching them, and admire them if they're cute.

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