Do You Love Cats Differently Than You Love Dogs?


My husband and I were in the car on the way to dinner when he turned to me and said, "Can I tell you something? But don’t get upset."

I knew I wasn’t going to like the turn this conversation was taking, but I nodded and tried to steel myself for whatever was coming. Little did I know I would spend the next half hour explaining why adopting a dog didn’t lessen my special bond with Ghost Cat.

"I’m surprised at how much you still favor Ghost Cat when you wanted a dog so badly," my husband said, referring to our adorable rescue Lab mix, GhostBuster.

I screwed up my face, totally confused by this conversation. "What? So you think I should, like, love Ghost Cat less because we got a dog?"

Despite my husband’s earlier caution I was totally getting upset. I was misunderstanding him, and in the heat of the moment I felt like he was suggesting that Ghost Cat was just a starter-pet who was supposed to be replaced by the dog. By the time we pulled into the restaurant parking lot I had tears in my eyes. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t get his logical mind to understand the nuances of my special cat love, and how it’s different from dog love. Is there a difference between cats and dogs? I believe so.

The truth is, it was my own actions that had my husband confused about my affections for all three of our animals.

What sparked the conversation was my habit of singing to Ghost Cat. My beloved Ghosty is always the first animal to greet me when I get home, and when I come inside I sing her lots of little songs about how special she is. A song that includes the phrase, "Ghosty Ghost, the little ghost I love the most," was in high rotation during the days leading up to this argument.

My habit of musically telling Ghost Cat that she’s my favorite led my husband to (incorrectly) believe that our other pets, GhostBuster the dog and Specter the (almost grown-up) kitten, didn’t bring as much joy to my life as Ghost Cat does.

As we sat at the bar I tried to explain why each adoption was worthwhile, even if I love the animals differently.

"I just didn’t expect that you would still be so obsessed with Ghost Cat after we got the dog," my husband said, still totally not getting it.

"What did you think I would do? Put her on the back burner just because we got a dog?" I asked.

I wanted my husband to understand that I don’t fawn over Ghost Cat because I don’t love the dog — but because I do. I tried to explain to my husband that the love I feel for Ghost Cat and the dog are different, but both are awesome. Ghost Cat is my little shoulder-riding queen, my little cuddle bug. I don’t carry my 60-pound Lab around on my shoulders, but he is my awesome outdoor adventure buddy. I love them both — just differently.

"What about Specter?" he asked.

"I love Specter less," I said, regretting the words almost instantly and later taking them back all together.

The thing about Specter is … I truly do love her. I love her funny little monkey noises and the way she plays. I’ve just always tried to make an effort to let Ghost Cat know she wasn’t being replaced by a younger version. Even when Speck was a tiny kitten I would make my husband hold her while I held Ghost Cat.

"That’s why I always tell Ghosty that she’s my favorite," I told my husband. "I never wanted Ghost Cat to think that she was being replaced by the kitten or the dog."

My husband had misread my displays of affection for Ghost Cat, thinking that my enthusiasm for one pet meant I didn’t appreciate the other two as much, and I had misunderstood his concern as dog favoritism, when that wasn’t the case at all.

That night at dinner I told my husband the truth. No creature — human or dog — could change my special love for Ghost Cat. With that said, I love all my pets differently, but equally.

Just don’t tell Ghost Cat that — I’m still letting her think she’s my favorite.

What do you think? Are cat love and dog love just completely different animals? Would getting a dog change how you feel about your cat? Let us know in the comments!

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About the author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but Specter the kitten and GhostBuster the dog make her fur family complete. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google +.

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