I got in trouble with my wife the other day when I suggested that I didn't know if I had ever seen a cat experience joy. There was context for this remark. We were in the midst of dog-sitting for a friend of ours. We had a dog in our living room for the first time in years. I was marveling at the enthusiasm this golden retriever had for most every moment of the day: Door opens, hooray! Invited on the couch, huzzah! Said my name, hoorah!
And then someone brings out the leash.
This is a life-changing experience. He was outside just a few minutes ago, but this time it will almost certainly involve a walk. Around the block? To the park? Who cares? Don't even dare to imagine that there might be a car ride involved. He might just burst. Really.
Cats are not just a different breed. They are a different species. I know this because I have read books. I don't, I admit, have a lot of one-on-one experience with felinity. I am not, as the phrase would have it, a cat person. I confess to bringing a glaring and distinct dog bias to the table, and underneath it where the food tends to fall. I lack a solid connection to a cat. Friends have tried to introduce me to their cats. My older brother had two kitties that he hoped would be my adopted kitty siblings. Never happened.
Not because I didn't want to, necessarily. I don't want to be the kind of person who denies the potential for love between pets and their humans. But I can't always relate. Mostly because I am what has been described as a dog person. I relate to the mindset. A lover of ruts, I sometimes wish that I could bring the same excitement to repetition that my doggie pals do. Dinner? Again? I can't believe my luck! You came home? You remembered me? Wow. Bow wow.
I'm also the guy who can't understand why Chewbacca, the Wookie, didn't get a medal after helping blow up the Death Star. Suspciously specist, I think. According to George Lucas, the inspiration for the co-pilot of the Millenium Falcon came from his Malamute, Indiana, who always rode shotgun with him in his car.
Did somebody say car? Oh my god! I have to go!