The Cincinnati Zoo lost its renowned male cheetah last week.
For whatever reason, this wasn't on the local news until today. I don't know why not; it's not like we've had anything else newsworthy going on here in the Cincy area (snow, ice, some more snow.)
This was a beautiful animal and was my top reason for going to the zoo once every summer the last few years. A few times a week they put him in a special area and let him run up to top speed to show zoo visitors what the fastest land animal on earth can do. It was amazing; a nature show with a camera following the cheetah just doesn't capture its awesomeness like seeing the big cat run across an open expanse, leaving dust in its wake.
The story made me unrationally sad. It's been a big news week for animals in peril; yesterday both a horse and a dog fell through two different tri-state ponds' ice, and though both are now okay, it was hard to watch the footage. Ainsley and I found ourselves in front of the TV yesterday afternoon, both holding our breath, hoping that the horse up to its neck in icy water got pulled out in time. He did. But now I hear about Mora the cheetah, and I am more troubled than I should be.
I think it's a cat thing.
I am a sucker for a sad cat story. Just a couple of weeks ago, I found myself welling up during dinner when the local news covered not one, but two incredible accounts of feline survival. The first was of a family who had narrowly escaped their burning home who were mourning the presumed death of their new kitten in the fire. When one of the daughters went to the remains of the house to salvage some belongings she heard meowing. The baby kitty miraculously survived the fire and was under the rubble of one of the bedrooms. The second was of a beloved cat who was let out of a house by an overnight guest who didn't realize said kitty was supposed to stay indoors no matter how loudly it pawed at the door. The cat disappeared, but one year later was found back in the area and taken in by a foster mom who posted an ad about the cat. The original owner saw the ad, and cat and "mom" were reunited.
I've even blogged sad cat stories. I say all the time that I am an animal lover. But I think I need to be specific here, having never blogged about dogs, or birds, or turtles in crisis: I am a cat person.
I know that some of you are cat people, too. And some are dog people. And my sister is a bird person (for now; she changes animal allegiances the way some people change hairstyles.) I've seen debates between "dog people" and "cat people" become as heated as debates between democrats and republicans. I think there are some fundamental differences between those who favor the feline and those who favor the canine; it's a personality thing.
I may be completely stereotyping here. But here's what I've noticed about cat people:
We're kinda shy. We work hard when we need to, but we like being lazy. We're the type of people who, if a friend calls and says, "I've got free front row seats for a concert featuring this great up and coming band who are supposed to be the next big thing, and by the way, backstage passes, too, but we could just stay home and eat chocolate and wrap up in blankets and watch The Office tonight," would probably respond with, "Hey, that sounds cool...I mean, the staying home and watching The Office part." We have a small group of really close friends who we are intensely loyal to. Don't make us mad, though, even if you're in that beloved group; we hold grudges. To people outside of that small group we may seem aloof or indifferent, but more often than not, we are just big softies once you get to know us.
Dog people are a little more outgoing, a little more adventurous. Many of my grandest "adventures" have been initiated by the dog people in my life. At heart, my husband is a dog person even though we have never owned one together and instead were owned by a cat. Dog people are warm people who generally have a large group of friends and acquaintances; this is probably because many dog people genuinely like the company of other human beings and are a little more social. I think dog people are a little easier to read; you know where you stand with a dog person. If they love you, they'll show it. Tick one off, and she'll let you know. None of that passive-agressive grudge-holding cold-shoulder cat person bullcrap. I would bet money that Christian Bale is a dog person.
Dog people have probably already seen or read Marley and Me; we cat people are holding out for Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World (starring Meryl Streep! Seriously!)
So, talk back. Are you a cat person or a dog person? And how badly did I get you wrong here?