“All the Rage in Egypt”

They say there are three types of people in the world – those who can count and those who can’t. Bad bumper sticker jokes aside, I think it’s time we slapped a rating on a domestic pet that was a prominent feature over the holidays.

I am a dog person. I’ve been raised with dogs since the day I finally came into this world. I say finally because I put my mother through a frustrating three-month stay in the hospital – I was just so excited to meet Y’all.

Our family has been partial to a unique breed of dogs – Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and they’re what I judge all other animals against.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are originally a Dutch hybrid that was introduced in the now-nonexistent country of Rhodesia to achieve two main goals – protect the family and hunt lions – occasionally these activities were combined. Fiercely loyal, majestic, and most of all, large, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are definitely an acquired taste.

But when the only taste you know is excellence, your palate becomes a bit snooty. Tragically, Ridgebacks have short lifespans (health problems, not lions), so I’ve had six Ridgebacks in my life, five of which have passed away. They’re stubborn dogs and don’t possess typical likable qualities.

They don’t fetch, they don’t like to swim, and they are the opposite of snuggly. Also, their farts could poison the Serengeti – but they’re intelligent and perfect for my family.

Labs and Goldens bore me, and I don’t want any dog that I can accidentally kill by stepping on it – anything less than 25 pounds is out. I want a companion in the wilderness, not one that can get eaten in the wild.

Like tired rain metaphors, on the other end of the spectrum are cats – no, not the musical – I’m speaking of the felines that dominate the Internet, as well as households around the globe.

Unsurprisingly, my family has never had a cat, and I was raised with disdain for these inferior animals. My grandmother had a few, always named after characters from King Arthur, but it was rare for me to develop a bond with one.

Much like people, cats need to be judged on an individual basis, as opposed to dogs. I automatically love a dog, and it has to work for me to dislike it, while with cats it’s just the opposite. Cat lovers will say that’s why cats are worth it, but if I’m going to feed and house an animal that is an asshole 97% of the day, I’d like for it to be worth it.

My feelings on cats began to waver when I met Vlad.

Vlad was a cat that lived on a ranch in Montana with me, and Vlad, simply put, was a fucking badass. He was an outdoor car (the only type of cat I would consider owning), who would walk with me the half mile from my cabin to work every day.

Not only that, he would proudly display disemboweled mice for everyone to see on the floor to the kitchen. Just the type of thing to get your appetite going.

In my previous relationship, we started out as non-cat people, and then my ex decided to capture a feral kitten after seeing one of the litter die in front of our car from malnourishment.

The feral cat needed a friend, so three months in we went from zero to two cats. With no discussion. Never could understand why we weren’t destined to be together.

I’m actually a “Cuncle”, aka an uncle to a cat belonging to a couple that lives in Echo Park. I found a kitten hiding behind their fence during a day helping with house improvements, and now that cat runs their household with an iron claw.

My girlfriend now is decidedly a cat person. Her favorite Internet celebrity is a “special” cat named Lil Bub, and her family has framed photos of cats gone by.

We spent six days home with her family for Christmas (one day too many for any family visit), and I spent extensive time with one of their two cats – a calico named Darcy.

Darcy is straight up fat, almost worthy of the thesaurus word corpulent. But Darcy has personality, so I’m okay with it. She yowls and walks all over everything and the parents accept it. I draw the line with animals trotting over food prep areas, but I’m the boyfriend, so I keep my mouth shut.

The other cat is one of mystery and legend. William is his name, but on my first visit back to her home last July 4th, I started an ill-received campaign to rename the cat John, since he was never seen. William/John is even more obese than Darcy, and has PTSD from previous cats, and doesn’t like to interact with humans.

Basically, the main thing cats are required to do to justify their existence.

While weird, I understand why people own cats. But at the end of the day, I’ll probably stick with Lion Hunters over Mice Hunters.

Cats – 2 out of 5 Stars.

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