I am a float nurse at work, so get to go meet various doctors and patients.  One day, I was privy to a conversation the doctor was having with a fellow nurse at which the subject of cats arose.  This doctor had no use for cats and announced that they were good for one thing – target practice.  This brought to mind an observation I had years ago.  I have met dog lovers and cat lovers and noted a distinct difference between them.  I have yet to meet a cat lover who will say shoot or run over a dog just because he is a dog and there.  I have, however, met many dog lovers who have stated they will run over a cat given the opportunity, and one who told me that swerving to hit the cat was an option.  Me being me, I have to consider the differences and note that the interactions between a cat and their owner are markedly different from a dog and their owner.  (OK, I hear all the DUH’s out there)  Just consider, for a moment what they are.  The cats are independent, self willed and pretty much do their own thing.  They alter their behavior to match expectations after much training.  Dogs are dependent, group animals (for the most part) and are very responsive to their owners and expectations.  They are very trainable with species exceptions, of course.  What owners will gravitate to what kind of animal?

Police on the hunt for a criminal look at the behavior and analyze patterns to decide the personality profile of the person.  This it utilized to anticipate future behavior.  Let’s do the same for cat lovers.  Here is a person who chooses to spend time with an animal that must be prodded, coerced, and played with to elicit acceptable behavior.  The owner accepts that this animal will not or marginally will respond to training of behavior.  This owner accepts the animal as it is.  On a family note let me just say that grandfather had a use for cats as well.  He had a farm and the cats were allowed to be there to keep down the rat population.  I have not heard a single tale of him spending time with them, just permitted their presence for a useful service.  I like the cats as they are easy to care for with trips – put out food and water, be sure the litter is clean at the time of leaving and shut the door.

Dog owners have to deal with an animal requiring supervision and care.  Depending upon the breed, the amount of care and type of interaction is different.  Compare the energy levels of a British Bulldog and a Jack Russell.  The innate personalities of the dog require a certain amount of activity from the owner – from jogging to sitting on the back porch.  The wise owner picks a dog with a personality matching their activity level and from that point, the dog will train and respond to the owner’s desires.  How does this compare to the original query?

The ones stating they will be willing to kill animals are those who pick an animal dependent on them.  The ones saying they will run over an animal are those who choose an animal that is trainable and has group tendencies.  The ones saying they will shoot an animal pick a companion animal that is responsive to their commands and express desire to kill an animal that happens to have an independent streak.  I am not making conclusions, just observations.  After all, these dog owners also have children.

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