So ... Are You a Dog or a Cat?

"I Have Cat" blogger Tamar Arslanian experiences a paradigm shift

I thought I knew –but did I, really? When a client of mine said to me that I seemed more like a dog than a cat, I was hurt.

“You’re so energetic and social,” she said, by way of explanation.

A dog? Was she serious? I write a blog called “I Have Cat.” Something about being likened to a dog was insulting – even coming from my dog-obsessed client. So, I set out to settle it for myself.

Cats and dogs are definitely different, which isn’t to say that one is better than the other. But, as I started to make my list, I couldn’t help my own biases. I saw dogs as indiscriminate and needy. Cats, on the other hand, are independent, sophisticated, mysterious, discerning – I could go on.

One day at work, I suggested to a few clients that we add cats to a television spot, something I suggest at every possible opportunity. “Cats are polarizing,” one client said.

“Well, so am I,” I replied. And then I was met with silence. It seemed my desire to be cat-like had backfired. It is true that cats are polarizing –the people who love them are fanatical, and those who dislike them hate them.

As for me, I can be considered polarizing as well. I’m loud, opinionated and I call it like I see it. People either find my directness refreshing, or they run for the hills.

Walking to work one morning, I noticed a group that had gathered around an excited mutt making what can only be described as doggie snow angels. The crowd was amused, and the dog couldn’t have been happier for the attention.

That’s when it hit me. Dogs are fun-loving, free-spirited beings that run into things head first; me, I’ll try anything at least once. Dogs love being the center of attention; I’m a big ham. Dogs are transparent; ditto. Dogs are loyal, and as a Capricorn, I’m nothing if not loyal.

I wanted to be viewed as intelligent and serious, not as a peppy entertainer. My client’s initial statement hit a nerve because it was based in a truth I didn’t want to acknowledge. But, you know, it’s easy to dismiss what we have and value what we don’t.

Years ago, my therapist told me that everyone wants the same thing in life: to feel loved. I told her then that she was wrong. In retrospect, I think she might’ve been onto something. Perhaps I’m a bit of a doggie after all – and that’s okay with me.

A version of this post was first publised on I Have Cat. Are you a dog disguised as a cat person? Tell us in the comments below.

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