Tuesday, March 11, 2014


“Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.”
~Groucho Marx

I love a good book, and reading can be playful.  It does not compare to the playfulness of an animal.  During my life I have had many kinds of pets—dogs, cats, fish, chicks, ducks, guinea pigs.  As I grew up I was surrounded by pets and through most of my adult life I have had a pet.  Pets are a wonderful addition to any home.  Currently, Jimmy, a nine-month kitten lives in my hours. All pets are fun but, my favorite pets have always been dogs and cats for one reason—they are playful.

Cats and dogs have distinctive personalities and thus make very unique kinds of playmates.  The book, I Am the Dog I Am the Cat, written by authors Donald Hill and Barry Moser, illustrate some of the personality qualities that make the dog and the cat such different kinds of playmates.  Let’s see if you can guess who the authors is talking about by filling in the blanks below.  On page seven of the text the authors describe the dog and the cat this way:

                Making the acquaintance of babies
                I allow them to pull my hair
                I do not like it, but I allow it
                For I am the ___________.

                When babies come into the house                                          
                I try to vanish.
                Babies are crazy; Babies sit on you.
                I am the _____________.

It was easy to fill in the blank, wasn't it?  Dogs are known to love and lick and fetch and please.  Cats are known to love and cuddle and jump and tease.  And both are playful in their unique ways.  Yes, dogs and cats can be wonderful playmates with personalities that are very distinctive.  Most of the time.

Our most recent pet addition is Jimmy.  He is a tabby kitten found at our local shelter.  Seeing him, it was love at first sight for our family.  Jimmy is distinctively a cat—until he isn’t.  He is a bit skittish and disappears with the sight of a new human.  He purrs contentedly.  He looks like a cat in every way.  But with my son, he is like a dog.  He follows Ben from room to room waiting for Ben to play with him.  He does the traditional cat play—where he jumps toward extended string and chases his tail.  He climbs on Ben’s lap looking for attention and settles in on his shoulder, between the crux of neck and head.  Jimmy is a one person kitten.  He comes to me for food in the morning, but most of the time, he has his hiding spots till Ben comes around.  Ben and Jimmy play fetch.  The stuffed mouse gets thrown gently and sometimes not so gently across the room and Jimmy takes off, ears bent, paws skidding across the floor to retrieve the slightly worn toy.  Once recovered, Jimmy prances to Ben where he drops the toy at Ben’s feet to be thrown again.   Like a boy with his dog, Ben and Jimmy entertain themselves with this game of fetch.  Even though Jimmy is a one person pet, I get the benefit of this play because as I watch the giggles come tumbling out.  A cat that acts like a dog!   He sure doesn’t fit the mold that Hill and Moser portray in their book.

Yes, animals are wonderful playmates.  Dogs love to run and jump! Cats love to jump at objects and entertain anyone watching.  If you don’t own an animal—borrow one from time to time.  Volunteer to walk the dogs at an animal shelter.  Go hang out at a local dog park. Cat sit or visit a cat in a pet store.  Even just watching animals play can be fun!  And if you are very lucky, you will meet a pet like Jimmy, who looks like a cat and plays like a dog!
Below is a video of pets and children at play for your enjoyment:

PLAY-TITUDE #10:  Enjoy an animal—life is more fun for it!

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for dedicating space and time for writers and teachers of writing to come together to share ideas, practice and life experience.


  1. Pets do enrich our lives. At this time I don't have a pet, so I enjoy those around me. What a funny cat Jimmy is, looks like a cat, but plays like a dog. Unique!

  2. I love cats who lokk like cats but play kile dogs - best of both worlds!