I've had my buddy Badger for about 10 years now. He's the best dog ever, as everyone knows . . .
Meredith got a kitten about a year ago named Oliver. Oliver came from the Westside Animal Shelter - both Oliver and Badger are rescue animals. I know there's a big group of people who breed and love pedigreed animals and I support everybody who takes good care of their pets, but for those who don't particularly care if their pet has "papers" or not and doesn't intend to breed or show them, I think it's mandatory to pick a pet from an animal shelter. With over 1 million dogs and even more cats euthanized each year, it's a simple thing to do to save an innocent pet's life. Not only that, but you will bring home a friend who will quickly become a part of your family.
From the beginning, tiny kitten Oliver acted more like a puppy than a cat. He followed us around, "talked" a lot, and came when his name was called. He would bring (and still does!) one of his toys when ready to play. Oliver grew up around Badger and Taz (our former departed Chihuahua). For a long time I thought Oliver's doglike behavior was a result of growing up around two dogs, with no other cats around.
I hadn't had a cat for years and I was struck by how smart Oliver was compared to the cats I'd had years ago (not that I didn't love them a whole lot, too). I thought - cats have pretty short generations. They might be "evolving" to become more like dogs, because this is just more appealing to human owners and rewarding for the cats themselves.
That's just a theory that I have, but the cat sitting there "like a person" is a PuppyKat. Southern California breeder Dawn Houston developed these cats after years of breeding from rescued cats that shared dog-like traits -- folded ears, short tails, and calm, "puppy-like" personalities. These traits are out there among many cats today, or Dawn wouldn't have been able to find the rescue animals that shared them. Oliver doesn't have folded ears or a short tail, and he's got a funny little kitten Roman nose, but he's got a big, puppy-like personality.
So, if Oliver weren't neutered (he is), I guess we could have worked on breeding more "HyperKats". He's puppylike, all right - the world's most active, hyper, into-everything puppy. He's active all night long, all day long, and has developed many creative ways to play - including opening all doors and cabinets and hurling any object he can find off any surface, just to "watch it fall."
Some studies have shown that some people are "cat people" and some people are "dog people," and they share characteristics with the pets that they love. Cat people are supposedly "more neurotic," but "open" to new experiences. Dog people are theoretically more outgoing, conscientious and social.
A lot of people surveyed in that study said they were "both" and loved both animals equally - but it doesn't look like the study, which was looking for "differences," took that into account. I think I fit in the "both" category. But I have to say that Badger is pretty jealous of Oliver, especially when Oliver rolls over and wants his belly scratched, something he does a LOT of.