We all have a "purr-fect" pet

09:35, November 12, 2010      

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Living in a climate with winter temperatures that go below freezing for a good four months of the year and with a house full of designer furniture, having pets that shed, scratch or need a twice-daily constitutional was not an easy decision - no, not in my backyard.

In the past 10 years, people here have begun to prize these animals for their companionship rather than their nutritional value.

Recently, on temporary assignment as a house and pet sitter, I've experienced not only the pros and cons of four-legged, furry pets but the differences between the species known as Canis lupis familiaris (dogs) and Felis catus (cats).

Dogs want to be your buddy 24/7, while cats are more like insurance salesmen. If only dogs knew how to use scissors, they'd throw a shower of paper confetti every time you walked through the front door ("celebrate good times, ya-hoo!"). But sadly, as they don't have opposable thumbs, they make do with wild jumping, barking, whining and tongue lashings. Cats on the other hand, are not going to move from that warm spot on the radiator.

There are some jobs dogs were made for - herder, hunter, last night's dinner receptacle and security guard. With their keen sense of hearing and smell, any movements outside are met with a chorus of barking and growling. What happens once the person is inside the house depends on the dog. Some dogs need to be restrained in another room. Others greet strangers with slobbering licks and bellies turned up hoping for a good rubbing. Burglars welcome! Let me show you where they keep the good stuff.

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