Tag Archives: Cat

If Cats and Dogs Could Vote, Which Party Would They Vote For?

The other day I was playing with my dog and I said something about moving ‘to the left.’ Naturally, my wife recalled the Beyoncé song, “To The Left.” However, since I spend a lot of time watching and thinking about politics, my first thought was that our dog was moving “to the left” — politically. That then made me think, if cats and dogs could vote, who would they vote for?

Now, we can quickly descend into a discussion about animals’ ability to think, but that’s not where I’d like to go with this. Let’s assume that animals would be “rational actors” and vote in their best interest (regardless of how they may or may not be swayed from charismatic politicians or issue ads). Keeping in mind that this is all meant in jest, let’s begin!

If dogs could vote, who do you think they’d vote for? If I had to choose, I think they’d probably vote for the Democrats (or a Liberal party). Why? Well, let’s look at a dog’s life — they’re really interested in ‘programs’ (take me or a walk, feed me, etc.) where the government (owner) takes care of them. Of the two main political ideologies, who do we think is more likely to offer this?

Okay, now let’s look at cats. If cats could vote, who do you think they’d vote for? If I had to choose, I think they’d probably vote for the Republicans (or a Conservative party). Why? Well, look at a cat’s life — they really say (well, they don’t speak, do they?) and do whatever they want, whenever they want. They’re not interested in coming when you call them and they pretty much take care of themselves. To me, this *sort of* gets to the whole idea of ‘personal responsibility that you hear from politicians/parties on the right.

This experiment was meant in jest, but it’s a great way to exercise your thinking muscles. Can you think other pets and which parties they might prefer? Let us know in the comments!

When Was the Last Time You Listened to the Radio?

This evening I spent a little time at a friend’s house, looking in on her cat. As an aside here, cats are great! In amidst the playing with the cat, the radio was on. The radio was on when I got there and I left it on when I left (as instructed). After playing with the cat for a while, I sat down on the couch and listened to the radio for a little bit.

While usually not an experience worth noting, this one was. NPR was playing and because it was the weekend, it wasn’t the usual NPR-programming I was used to hearing during the week when I have NPR on in the car. In fact, listening the radio inside the house is an altogether different experience than listening to NPR in the car. In fact, outside of this evening, I can’t remember the last time I listened to the radio inside the house (and wasn’t doing something else at simultaneously).

Anyway, NPR was talking to bright young musicians. When I say young, these folks were still in high school, but they had some incredible stories. The thing I want to point out: I was forced to imagine the conversation between the host and the guest… and imagine the audience, too (as they were in front of an audience). This is something that I rarely have to do (because I don’t listen to the radio unless I’m in the car).

Two things I want to note about this experience:

1) It made listening the radio a much richer experience. That is, I was forced to use my imagination to fill in the holes as to the facial reactions by the guest and the host and fill in the space of what the audience might be doing, too. As I said, this is something I don’t have to do very often.

2) It made me think about what it might have been like for people before there was TV. Huddling around the radio together used to be a common family activity. It’d be hard to conduct this study, but I wonder what the data would show based on those folks who had to do more imagining (before there was TV) vs. those folks who don’t have to do imagining (because there is TV). I wonder if the “before there was TV” group might have more developed imaginations.

Pets Are So Much More Than Just “Pets”

dog standing, dog, smiling, happy, joy, joyfulThe value of having pets far outweighs any of the negatives associated with having a pet. Humans and animals have coexisted for quite some time. Beyond the time of when humans (hunted) animals, someone must have decided that it was going to be a good idea to make one of those animals part of their family. In doing so, the idea of “owning” pets and animals was born. While I understand the word “own” and contextually it might be easier to use this word, but do you really think you own your pet?

Yes, with certain animals, convention tells us that we need to ‘train’ our animals to respond to our commands. And yes, I will admit, I issue commands that I expect my dog to follow, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think there is a better way to do it. Let’s take a look at the language piece of this, first.

According to the [emphasis added]:

  • There are approximately 77.5 million owned dogs
  • Thirty-nine percent of households own at least one dog
  • There are approximately 93.6 million owned cats
  • Thirty-three percent of households own at least one cat

Using these statistics, it is accurate to say that 1 in 3 households has a pet (and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that 1 in 2 households has a pet). Notice that when I referred to these statistics, I said has a pet rather than owns a pet. About 10 years ago, there was an interesting movement in Boulder, Colorado, that advocated the In its place, guardianship. Humans are the ‘guardian’ of their pet, rather than the owner of their pet. This quickly picked up steam and similar in the following year. As of April of this year, “

As I’ve written about before, . In the near future, I will do a post about how our words can affect others (which will cat, cat sleeping, cuddly cat, cute cat, tabby cat, playfulbe more relevant to this post). The subtle difference between ownership and guardianship may really be enough to change the attitude of the “owner” such that they care just a little bit more for their animals. I’d like to think so.

Beyond the ownership vs. guardianship debate, having a pet can prove wonders to the health of the ‘carers.’ There have been scientific studies done (and many books written) on the topic of the many positive benefits to having a pet (a sampling:  and ). Two more things I want to touch on before I wrap this post up. The first has to do with animals and their consciousness and the second has to do with animals and our workspace.

I think one of the main draws to having an animal around is the pure joy that can be seen in them. That is, animals do not hold grudges, they’re not vindictive, they’re ever-present to the moment at handI think that part of their infinite joy stems from their lack of ‘stuff.’ As humans, we have lots of ‘stuff’ that we deal with. We have our stress from work, stress from news, stress from family, stress from kids, stress from friends, stress, stress, stress! Animals — none of it. They live for the moment they are in. When your dog whines at the door, it’s moment-specific. S/he wants to go out and play (or relieve themselves). They’re not thinking three steps ahead that when you let them out, they can run around the tree, sniff over by the bush, and then drink some water. It’s specifically in that moment that they want to go out. I think that because of this, they are much closer to a state of pure joy, more often. When I look at animals, I can feel this warming sensation in my heart. I think this is from that infinite joy they have that my heart is connecting with.

The second thing I wanted to talk about is actually quite practical. Did you ever notice being at your computer that your cat may come and sit on your keyboard or distract away from your monitor? Or maybe as you were moving your mouse to click on something, your dog came and pushed your hand off the mouse with your snout? It is my belief that our animals do this as a service to us. That’s right, a service. They can see the “bigger picture” around us and can tell that we’re in some sort of funk with what we’re doing at the computer and that we may need a break. Or, maybe that specific time that we were spending working on that project or idea would be better done at a later date. The next time your dog/cat (or salamander!) disrupts your computer time, think twice before you push ’em away.