Wait! What? The cat calls me Roger? You got it! It all started one typical Sunday afternoon in the Haines house during Sunday dinner. We had just sat down for Sunday dinner and like I always told the kids NOT to do, I hadn’t gone to the bathroom before I sat down. So, I excused myself and headed toward the bathroom.
As I passed the bed, the strangest thing happened–Roscoe looks up at me and says, “Roger, could you please keep it down? I’m trying to take a nap here.” I guess the first thing that should have crossed my mind was, “Wow, a talking cat. We’re going to be RICH!!” but it wasn’t. My first thought was, “Cats, smart? I’ve been living here for 5 years and he STILL doesn’t know my name!”
Naturally, I did as I was asked and tiptoed the rest of the way through the room and handled my business. I returned to the table and asked Sara why everyone believed cats to be so smart. If that really was the case, why did ours still not know my name? Understandably, my family thought I had gone off the deep end and I had to wrestle the phone away from them as they called the mental hospital.
Cats vs dogs
To this day, I am still struggling with this whole cats vs dogs thing and I’m no closer to figuring it out than that day so many years ago. Growing up, we were always a dog family and I rarely spent time with a cat. I only ever remember owning a little tiger striped cat that my parents exiled when the cat started using the new carpet as a litter box. On the flip side, I’ve been around dogs my whole life. I’ve owned smart dogs and some very stupid dogs but they all could be taught to do “tricks”. My most stupid dogs only learned sit and lie down but they did learn.
Cats, on the other hand, usually just look at you like they are stupid when they are told to do something. When you tell a cat to “stay” or “stop”, the look you get back is “Yeah right, you stay!”. Does this indicate intelligence?One time, our kids decided to leash “train” the cat. Once the leash was attached, the cat would lie down and allow itself to be dragged around on its side. Is this intelligence? Does the cat think this is a new game where we pull him around by his neck? If so, then cats must think we’re sadistic!
I don’t necessarily think cats are more intelligent than dogs. Just like the people of Walmart, there are smart ones, average ones and the dumb ones. I do believe that cats are much more “wiley” than dogs. The comparison can be likened to the comparison of myself and my wife. Sara is a rule-bender whereas I am a rule-follower (with exceptions for both).
For example, what happens when the stoplight changes from green to yellow? My foot moves to the break. Sara’s foot moves to the floorboard. How about the “do not cross” sign on the railing at the national park? You got it, I’m standing a foot behind it. Sara, on the other hand, shimmies over the railing and is hanging her feet off the cliff. We tend to balance each other out, which is why God made dogs AND cats.
If we only had cats, we’d eventually go crazy from trying to make the animal comply. If we only had dogs, we’d be sitting around watching the grass grow as the dog did everything we asked.
Exceptions to the rule
Like I said, I’ve owned smart dogs and dumb ones. I currently own my 3rd border collie and they are so cat-like sometimes it’s not funny. They are the MOST intelligent dog breed, but they are sometimes hard to train. Border collies are very high energy and in many ways wiley like a cat. My border collies are always trying to get away with something. When they are told “No”, they’ll find other mischief to get into. (Sometimes this means not chewing on your left shoe, but devouring your right—You just said “NO” on the left right?) I’ve also had cats that were very doglike at times too. For example, Jessie is our “mitten kitten” and he plays in water like a dog would.
In the end, the Lord blessed us with both cats AND dogs. So, if one of those cats decides that he’d rather call me Roger than Scott, then so be it. Maybe he calls me Scott behind my back…I guess we’ll never know.