Utterly relaxed, I stretch out languidly on the back of the sofa, reach a paw and flex a claw before eyeing you disdainfully through half closed lids. You seem to think that’s an invitation and leap towards me with too much enthusiasm to shove your wet nose in my face. I reel in horror at the dog breath invading my nostrils whilst your incessantly waggy tail repeatedly thumps the sofa arm and your ridiculous face looks so pleased. You are, without doubt, the bane of my life.
I can’t take it anymore. We need to talk. There are so many things I hate about you. I know you’ve promised to change but I’ve heard it all before and quite frankly, you’re annoying and I’m not kitten around here.
But where to start? The list is long and entirely undignified. Sigh.
1. Why do dogs have to chew everything?
I mean, it’s a shoe for goodness’ sake - it doesn’t even taste nice. I get that you might be bored or want some more attention but why can’t you be more like me and make your own entertainment? Chase a shadow, hunt for mice or take a nap. Don’t look at me like that - I know you’ve done it again.
OWNER ADVICE: Make sure your dog has regular exercise away from home, played with frequently and kept away from dangerous or valuable objects when you’re not there to supervise.
2. Why do dogs always want rewards for simple tasks?
I get it: you can fetch a stick, roll over and lie down on command but it’s hardly rocket science is it? And what is this degrading begging business? I can do all of those things too, I simply choose not too - other than of course the lying down thing, but it’s always on my terms and usually on a freshly washed pile of laundry.
OWNER ADVICE: Don’t become too dependent on using food as a lure. If you’re not careful, your dog’s obedience will rely on you having food constantly on tap. Too many rewards make them ineffective and could result in a spoiled dog.
3. Why are dogs so messy?
I can’t bear to watch you eat - you leave a trail of devastation in your wake and it’s almost as though you’re leaving yourself a not-so-secret path in case (heaven forbid) you forget your way back to the kitchen. You don’t even clean yourself afterwards - just slobber all over the furniture. Sheesh!
OWNER ADVICE: Struggling to keep your carpet clear of dog kibble? Put heavy, sturdier bowls on a mat or even drop a smaller one inside a larger bowl to minimise mess. You can also buy anti-spill and gulp bowls to help with the hungriest of hounds.
4. Why do dogs love those humans so much? Can’t they do anything for themselves?
It reminds me of the old joke that dogs have owners and cats have staff - but it’s so true. There you are lolloping about waiting to be fed, let out, let in, taken for a walk, waiting for a scratch and a fuss whilst I, as a clearly superior species, am entirely self-sufficient. I can even hunt; now, if I could just figure out how to get into the fridge...
OWNER ADVICE: Dogs attach to their owners in the same way as infants and see them as caregivers and a safe haven; it’s completely normal. That’s not to say that your cat doesn’t love you too - they simply don’t attach and need you in the same way.
5. Why are dogs constantly whining when those superfluous humans aren’t around?
For goodness’ sake, go out and explore; find some clean bedding to curl up on and shed some hair or go and catch a mouse… oh no, wait, that’s right - you can’t. And your whining and barking is really annoying the neighbours, so try keeping quiet.
OWNER ADVICE: Because dogs attach to their owners like infants, it’s no wonder they pine for you when you’re not there. To avoid being completely unpopular with your neighbours, ensure you train them. Use stair gates to get them used to having some distance from you; leave them a comfortable bed, chew toys and plenty of water. You might want to leave the radio on too for background noise.
6. Why are dogs always whining in the car?
This one I kind of understand and thank goodness I don’t have to go in the car much, but the one time I travelled with you was an experience I don’t want to repeat: calm down and shut your yap!
OWNER ADVICE: Make sure your dog gets used to being in the car from a young age - they can be naturally excited by the experience so ensure they have an allocated seat with a favourite toy and blanket. Make sure they’re secure and if it’s a long trip, take plenty of breaks.
7. Why do dogs make such a fuss about everything including baths?
I actually find watching you bath hilarious: I’ve never seen such a fuss. It’s like wrestling a ferret in a car wash with legs, paws, bubbles and water anywhere. Serves you right - you should learn to wash yourself like me and then you wouldn’t have to endure this hideousness!
OWNER ADVICE: Some dogs find bathing stressful, hence the fuss. In reality, accidents and rolling in you-know-what aside, most dogs only need to be bathed once a month. Make sure you brush them first and use lukewarm water - they don’t like being sprayed with a hose any more than we do. Use a dog shampoo and make sure you reassure throughout and reward afterwards.
8. Why are dogs so clumsy?
I get it; you’re so loving and excitable but soooooo annoying. With all your jumping around and that ridiculous tail of yours, you are forever knocking things over. Why can’t you be more lithe and nimble like me?
OWNER ADVICE: Dogs can be so excitable and therefore clumsy, especially if you have a large dog in small surroundings where accidents can happen. But keep an eye out if your dog seems to be inexplicably falling over - this can be a sign of serious illness, infection or potential poisoning and you need to see the vet straightaway.
9. Why do dogs have to chase anything smaller than them?
Squirrels, birds, me - I name it - you’re after it. Just calm down. Running around and around in noisy circles barking is giving me a headache! Wait, bide your time and then pounce! So much more effective and energy efficient. Will you never learn?
OWNER ADVICE: The desire to chase is instinctive to dogs - they find it pleasurable. To try and prevent them doing it, you could walk them on a lead or attach a bell to warn wildlife. Better still, make your garden less of an attractive place by removing foodstuffs which will draw wildlife, OR try and keep your dog well-exercised - if your dog is tired they’re less likely to give chase!
10. And don’t even get me started on the poo situation.
You are so disgusting when it comes to poo that I can barely bring myself to discuss it. You’re happy to do it anywhere and then just stroll off like it’s no big deal - I’ve even caught you sniffing it! Why can’t you do the decent thing and at least try to cover it up?
OWNER ADVICE: Clearing up after your dog is just one of the joys of life, and some dogs love to roll in it too. There’s no real advice here other than to go out prepared. Dog poo can be dangerous so always get it cleaned up; try to get your dog to go on grass or sand as it’s easier to pick up and make sure you have plenty of bags (put your hand in an inside-out bag to pick it up without touching it) and have an old towel to spread out if the dog gets it on its fur: he may need a bath when back at home.
But seeing as our owner seems to love you, and I don’t fancy packing my bags, I think I’m stuck with you. Now I’ve got that off my chest, I’m feline good. Time for a nap…at least you’re good for something.