Treat a dog kindly and there’s a good chance it will return your affection and come when you call; if only children were as reasonable.
Cats, on the other hand, seem like an alien race come from outer space to live among us, tolerant but separate.
I hesitate to say I’ve never “owned” a cat because with those friends that do, the ownership roles seem reversed. Let’s say I’ve never shared my life with a cat; never cleaned up and deodorised its mess or had to replace clawed furniture.
New research today suggests a possible correlation between Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite spread by cats, and the incidence of brain cancer around the world - adding hypochondriac paranoia to my ever present caution in the presence of felines.
I don’t wish harm to cats or indeed any species. If we don’t recognise our duties of care toward animals, it’s all too short a step to disregard the welfare of fellow-human beings.
That said I see no requirement on people to let cats share their beds, promenade across their kitchen work surfaces, lick their hands, or get too close to their babies.
It’s not that I dislike cats but rather I envy their independence too much. Whether they’re walking on the wild side or fat, indolent lumps of fur, their world view is focused little further than their own whiskers.
I was at a dinner party a while back fussed over by an overweening hostess, who the drunker she got, the more she insisted her guests DANCE to her old Bee Gees albums.
Finally, we rebelled and sat down to renew our attack on the Merlot. Proving there was enough room in her smallish flat to swing a cat; she grabbed her unwilling moggie and began bouncing about the room. Reader, it scratched her. Many a silent toast was drunk to Felix or Miss Tibbs that night.
O, to be allowed the same liberties as a cat - apart from being neutered.