Match.com emails you profiles of men with these ridiculous tag lines that impart information of the utmost importance, such as “Just like you, he gets haircuts!” or “Just like you, he owns a couch!” Except, the two examples I just gave you are true in that I do get haircuts and I do own a couch, whereas the ones they used to send me were chronically wrong. Because I once said I enjoyed the gym, I immediately became the recipient of, “Just like you, he loves weight lifting!” which did not attract me, but which conjured visions of me and some guy in sweat pants sharing a protein shake in east Aurora. Equally unappealing to me though were the ones that said, “Just like you, he loves dogs.” Someone needs to tell Match.com that just because you don’t hate dogs, you don’t love them either. You might just walk a line of indifference toward dogs until a well-timed, completely rude canine fart on your leg knocks you off that line and into an area of major annoyance.
Regardless, Match used to think that I loved dogs and so did most of my dates. Denver culture dictates that shortly after my dates would lie to me about voting in the general election, I needed to lie about my love of dogs. “Do I own one? No, but I think they’re really sweet.” If really sweet means somewhat expensive and a real hindrance to vacationing than dogs are not just sweet, but SUPER SWEET. And I do this not so that one day I can end up in a dirt filled dog park talking about pet insurance rates, but so that people from Boulder won’t make the most judgmental face of all time before asking, “Are you a cat lover?”
The answer is no, but it brings us to this week’s real question: Can a dog lover and a cat lover fall in love? Can a hypothetical jock with a dog named Max truly enjoy his hypothetical girlfriend’s stories about Captain BooBoo? Can these two worlds collide?
Lisa Beck and Elizabeth Madresh’s of Romantic Partners and Four-Legged Friends report that “On every measure, pet relationships were rated as more secure than partner relationships.” That is to say, cat lovers and dog lovers at least share an attachment to their animals that trumps their feelings for their significant others, even if they share nothing else.
According to the Humane Society, there are 70 million “owned” dogs in the United States and 90 million “owned” cats and that their perspective owners are not one and the same. Cat owners tend to be passive, anti-social types that live alone in apartments and appreciate art while wearing pompous berets and quoting obscure Russian writers. Dog owners are extroverted, more agreeable and abuse the high-five. When polled, 68% of cat owners said they would give back a puppy they received as a gift while 70% of dog owners said they would keep a kitten received as a gift (Personality Differences Between Dog and Cat Owners 2010) which suggests that while a dog person could learn to love a cat and/or a cat lover, neither a cat nor a cat owner could learn to love a dog/dog owner.
I find the pervasive dog culture in this city annoying and what I find double annoying is the assumption that all good people love dogs, but when I read the line about cat owners giving back puppies, I thought, really? Who doesn’t love a puppy? What’s wrong with cat owners that they would give back a puppy?? What do you guys think? Can they coexist?