Very few of my friends have both cats and dogs.  Usually, you are either a cat or dog person, but not both.  I’ll be honest upfront, I am definitely not a cat person– in fact, I’m allergic to them.  So it is of no surprise that when I first referred to one of my friends as a cat recently he took great offense– until I clarified what I meant by this comment, then he realized the magnitude of the compliment, not just for what it says about him but what it says about our friendship.  Hoping that this might be helpful to others, let me explain my theory about those that fight like cats & dogs…

I have always loved dogs– they are incredibly loyal pack animals.  When you come home, they eagerly greet you at the door while wagging their tails, and they love going for walks with you, having you play with them, and even just cuddling up watching a movie together.  Hmm, this is almost exactly what I do with a partner, and as I my ex-husband lovingly pointed out very much like a dog, I have a very loud bark when I feel threatened, but deep down inside all I really want is a belly rub.  He is dead right, and this insight has served him well the last 20 years that he has been in my life.

Then we have those that are more like cats– very independant, rather solitary and elusive creatures.  They may on occassion grace you with their presence, but for the most part, they hunt on their own and enjoy their alone time.  Do you see how this may be at odds with a dog person???  The attraction is easy to explain– I’ve encountered a couple of cats in the past few years, and NOT the domestic kind, think more like a black panther– they are beautiful and strong, clever and consistent enough that they don’t fall off my radar, but in order for us to get along, even just as friends, I’ve had to come to accept the true nature of these incredible beasts.

If you find yourself fighting like cats & dogs with someone in your life, just take a step back for a minute and try to think of all their positive attributes.  Often what you will find is that those same traits that attract you can also infuriate you because you are not the same way.  It’s easy to understand why opposites attract, but if you want it to last, you have to accept that person’s true nature in all its glory.  If you can respect that you have different strengths, and not try to change each other, that is what I think is the key to survival in these relationships.

I for one am working on my immunity to cats because those select few panthers that have been part of my life these past few years have taught me so much.  I know it is not easy for them to put up with some of my dog traits, but they enjoy the loyalty and playful side I show them, while I dig having a wild cat my life much more than I can truly admit in a blog.

Here’s hoping you find your own peace with the cats and dogs in your own life!

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.