The Dog–er, Cat Days of Summer

M.D. Thalmann weighs in on the dog versus cat debate. Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 8.24.15 AM

As you can tell from this month’s cover, we here at North Valley Magazine are all about our furry little companions, though as usual, the dogs get all the glory and felines get shafted yet again even though us cat owners aren’t the ones picking up poo in a nanometer-thick bag. (Although when I owned a dog, I used a shovel.)

I must admit, I was a staunch anti-cattite for many years until my fast-paced lifestyle and semi-irresponsibility led me to adopt a kitten. Since then, I’ve only grown in my fondness for my little dude, Steve (yes, his name is Steve). When I met my wife, she also had a cat named Girl Kitty, so I supposed that makes us cat folk even when our felines wander off to pursue cattier things, as they’re inclined to do. Which I suppose, is part of a cat’s charm. Fiercely independent and aloof, they don’t deem you worthy of their time—until you’re not paying attention to them.

Still, each faction has valid points for its idol. Here are some pros and cons for ammunition in the dog-versus-cat debate.

  • Cats are cleaner. Period.
  • Dogs are easier to bathe in the event that they do get dirty. I have more than a few scars from Steve’s first (and last) time in the tub.
  • Cleaning out a litter box is awful and makes me feel ill, but I only need to do it once or twice a week.
  • Picking up dog poop two to three times a day is perhaps the only job more thankless than writing professionally. Shameless plug, did I mention my recently published book, The 13 Lives of a Television Repair Man? It’s available on
  • When a neighbor refuses to return your hedge clippers, it is much easier to get your dog to drop them a little reminder by their morning paper.
  • No matter how much money you spend on a harness and leash, walking a cat is impossible and winds up being just me dragging a furry lump through the park and children staring.
  • It’s much easier to convince a cat to let you sleep. Likewise, I have never had a neighbor complain about my cats mewling at midnight.
  • Dogs (puppies at least) will eat everything in the house, yard, car, or whatever coffee shop you’re dumb enough to bring him to.

But there is something to be said of the loyalty and unadulterated affection only a dog can give.

No matter what side of the fence you sit on or yelp over and whether you land on your feet when you jump off, having a furry companion is a rewarding and educational experience. Sappy, yes, but the truth.

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