I am a veterinarian who likes cats a lot. You, therefore, know right from the start of this article what side I’m on in the dog-vs-cat debate.

If you’ve ever had me as your vet, you’ve heard my spiel.  Having a cat as one’s pet is like having a pet squirrel.

But having a pet squirrel is a controversial topic. I recently read an article titled  “Squirrels as Pets: A Really Bad Idea”.

I have a veterinary (eccentric) mentor who has had a lot of squirrels as pets. He took exception to several of the points made in that article.

“I looked up the Pet Squirrel article and disagreed with 90% of it. We have raised dozens of baby squirrels and kept many as pets. Most lived to ripe old age. We kept them in big cages in yard and on Sunday I used to sit in one of the cages in the yard and do Sunday Crossword puzzles while they would chew on the pencil.  I would peanuts in my pockets and squirrels would found them.  I could hold the squirrels in my hands, and they would lay on their backs to be scratched.  I never got scratched, even when they made a six foot jump to me and I don’t remember ever getting bitten.

My point, in comparing living with a cat to living with a squirrel is this: a cat is a self-respecting wild animal. A dog? Well… now this is where the debate gets touchy. Please know, that while I am a veterinarian that love cats, I also love dogs.

Malcolm Gladwell said the following about dogs.  “They’re this extraordinary example of a species that we have bred on the basis of how much attention they pay to us–how closely they look us in the eye, and how attentively they hang on our every word. I mean, it’s the most narcissistic thing we’ve ever done as human beings.”

To put a finer point on Gladwell’s words, one can think of dogs as inveterate brownnosers. Dogs are determined to please us.

This is not true of self-respecting cats.

I’m with Winston Churchill who noted “A dog looks up at you. A cat looks down at you.  But a pig looks you in the eye.”

To me, it is a rare, Garden-Of-Eden privilege to share my humble home with a cat or two. Thanks to my live-in feline friends, I’m the beneficiary of their wildness, of their love.

Courtesy – Dr. Pete Gasper