I join the feminist coalition of dog-lovers

Renee, I salute you and I am with you.

Now, it’s true that I do have a cat. And my cat is pretty cute. However, truth be told, I have a cat only because I cannot handle the responsibility of a dog right now — I work too much, I travel too much, I go out too much. I’ve been wanting a dog every since I left my family pup in Seattle, but it’s just not realistic until I’m more of a grown-up. So despite a life-long hatred of cats, I recently adopted a kitten who luckily has the personality of a dog (he waits outside my door for me in the morning, he follows me around the house, he likes to play, etc etc).

But he is not a dog.

I never had cats growing up — Percival is my first. We had dogs, and my best childhood memories always include them. We had the same golden retriever — Goose — for most of my life. He died when I was 16, and you still can’t bring up his name in my house without someone crying. He was the Best Dog Ever. Should I ever not live in a tiny apartment, I will get a big nice dog just like Goose.

About a year after Goose died, we got Ferris, a Westie. He’s the opposite of Goose, and out of his damned mind — wild, stubborn, untrainable, and mischievous. He’s mellowed out a lot in recent years (he’s 7 now) and he’s always been very sweet, but he has made it clear that he’d rather live with the neighbors and their dog than with us. He’s also a beast — huge for his breed, perpetually dirty, and kind of muppet-looking. In case it isn’t astoundingly clear, I adore him.

So this is Ferris, the #1 puppy love of my life:

Ferris, originally uploaded by JillNic83.

Yes, sometimes we shave him:

So cute, originally uploaded by JillNic83.

He has a BFF:

Coda and Ferris, originally uploaded by JillNic83.

And this photo is a couple of years old, but it’s still my favorite of the two of us:

Jill and Ferris, originally uploaded by JillNic83.

So yes, it’s true: Not all feminists are cat-lovers. Even some of us who have cats aren’t cat-lovers. And there are some of us who will say, loud and clear: The feminist dog revolution is now.

41 comments for “I join the feminist coalition of dog-lovers

  1. FashionablyEvil
    February 1, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    I have to ask, how big is Ferris? My parents’ Westie, Hammie, is something like 25 pounds (and also perpetually dirty since my mom works on a farm. Also, when you bathe him the first thing he does is roll around in the grass to get rid of the clean smell).

  2. evil_fizz
    February 1, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Where’s my membership card for the feminist dog owners club? I’ve already posted a pic of our terrier here before, but I think she’s adorable enough to show off again.

    We might need a theme song. Or a motto….

  3. rhetor1999
    February 1, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I’m also a feminist dog lover/owner! (I’ve had up to 7 in the house at one time, between ex-GF’s dogs and fosters and my own.)

    We just lost one of our dogs to congestive heart failure three weeks ago; just looking at your pictures made me cry (even though mine looked nothing like yours).

  4. February 1, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Oh I see how it is, Jill. Just join the attacks on me, then! Some co-blogger you are :P

  5. February 1, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    I think my corgi is the bee’s knees! (but I also have two cats who I adore.)

    And Jill, I totally remember Goose, and of course Ferris!

  6. February 1, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    @Cara, I told you the dog revolution has become. Thanks to Jill and all other feminist dog lovers our canine friends may yet get the attention and love they deserve. Can I get woof woof?

  7. fauzia
    February 1, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    ohohohoh, buddy. three cheers for the feminist dog revolution.

    when i moved to egypt i could not stop telling my boyfriend how much i have wanted a dog since i was like..4. (my dad was a huge dog lover, my mother…is more of a fish, bird, hamster lover (anything that’s a cage or enclosed structure of some sort seems to float her boat), so we were never allowed to have a dog.) when my boyfriend found three abandoned street puppies, he immediately called me up. we adopted one: a glorious little one named sebastian. today is his one year birthday. i bought him the biggest bone i could find (it’s huge…it’s like 2 and a half feet long). he’s currently entranced, leaping around on the balcony in glee, whilst guarding the bone.

    i absolutely adore this dog. i have never been so close to an animal in all my life and while he’s a uncontrollable little pup, not yet totally socialized to human beings, and definitely stubborn: he.is.the.best.dog.ever.

    happy birthday, sebastian!

  8. February 1, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Ahhh…I am a feminist cat-lover ;.;. I was never raised with dogs, and I’m wary of them since my first interaction with a dog ended with me being bitten. I do like dogs enough…but I want me some feline lovins’.

    However I shall gladly be an ally in the dog revolution! Cutest movie ever: Milo and Otis.

  9. MoNYC
    February 1, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    I can haz both? I really don’t want to choose. I love both cats and dogs in different ways. Does that make me bianimal?

  10. FashionablyEvil
    February 1, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Milo and Otis!!! That was the first movie I saw in a movie theatre without my parent!

  11. FashionablyEvil
    February 1, 2009 at 4:10 pm


    Best not to type after drinking most of a beer on an empty stomach

  12. February 1, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    We have rescued a bunch of cats. I’ve had both cats and dogs most of my life — a Westie named Paisley, a hound mix named Sonja (worlds best dog – EVER!), and various and sundry cats — purebred and not.

    MANY cats are very “doglike” (though not quite as fawning). A lot of dogs emulate cats. Paisley would play with the cats — and even jump on the furniture with them.

    Putting cats and dogs in such strict species roles is no better than buying into gender roles as defined by the patriarchy.

    Dog – cat, dog – cat — what is that about? They’re both great pets, both give affection and understanding. The truth is they are often more than “pets” — sometimes giving us a reason to go on, a ray of light in sometimes difficult situations.

    Don’t knock either one.

  13. February 1, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    We as feminists need to get over this dog-cat binary. Besides the fact that is possible to love both of them, there are other animals who can contribute to our lives: birds, fish, reptiles, hamsters . . . The list goes on and on. Iguanas can actually be quite cuddly.

  14. Mel
    February 1, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    I’m going to take this way too seriously. Apparently I’m a humorless animal person.

    I love dogs and cats. And they all have individual personalities; I’m not a fan of “dogs are stupid” any more than “cats are mean and standoffish”. I think it’s fine to have a preference.

    But dogs are not as oppressed in real terms as cats–they have more medical care available to them (research dollars go to dog diseases); they are more likely to be taken to the vet in the first place and the vet is more likely to have a clue; they are more likely to be taken along with the family moves rather than dumped on the street or taken to a shelter; they are more likely to have thousands of dollars spent on them when they’re sick instead of just being put down because they’re “just pets”; they are the heroes of movies, not the villains; cats are more often abused than dogs (and considering how often dogs are abused, that’s really scary); the worst that’s said of dogs is that they’re often dumb and excessively devoted, while cats get literally called “evil”; newspaper columnists who write about cats get hate mail because people who hate cats really, really hate them, and hardly anyone hates dogs. Dogs are valued more than cats by people in general (of course, many individual pet owners value their pets a lot).

    Love dogs, fine. Dogs are great, and the number of dogs that get abandoned or put down is tragic; we have a serious problem when it comes to unwanted pets. But it’s not un-feminist to love cats. It’s not supporting the patriarchy. And cats in general are not the privileged pets.

    “The reason cats are given up is sometimes pretty amazing,” Rohde says. Indeed, shelter officials have told me of some explanations people have used for giving up their cats: “the cat doesn’t match our new carpeting” or “my black cat sheds on my new white sofa.”


    Rather than drawing silly analogies and dividing up into “dog people” and “cat people”, maybe we could recognize the real issues facing the millions of dogs and cats in shelters.

  15. larkspur
    February 1, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    I love cats. I love dogs. My favorite house-sitting gig is at the home of an elderly pair: one 12 year old golden retriever, and the 19 year old black cat who loves her with all his heart. Someone recently gave me a camera, so I hope to get pix within the next month. It’s Love Amid The Ruins, inter-species-style.

  16. Ellen
    February 1, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Wow Mel, that is sooo interesting. I love both, and never really thought of it that way. It’s so interesting that cats are feminized and totally get the shaft. Dog, man’s best friend, gets treated better.

  17. Ellen
    February 1, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Still, I love cats, have two, but I am a total sucker for a golden retriever.

  18. Jeffrey
    February 1, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    I’m just a sucker for fuzzy things: dogs, cats, guinea pigs, bunnies, rats, chinchillas…

  19. Kristen (The J one)
    February 1, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Ahem…the cutest dog of all time is clearly my Abbie! I will brook no opposition on this. ;)

  20. February 1, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    I see….

    This is war Jill! War I say!

  21. February 1, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    I love both cats and dogs for different reasons. Cats are more independent, and it’s nice when they sleep on your lap. They’re just generally easier to take care of. Dogs are more needy, but they’re more outgoing too. I used to have two cats and a dog, but now I just have the dog. All three have been wonderful pets. Sometimes my cats visit me in my dreams. They’re even sweet from beyond the grave!

  22. Alexandra Lynch
    February 1, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    I want a dog. I grew up with GSDs and a schnauzer/beagle mix who was The Smartest Dog Ever. (The GSDs were variable in intelligence. The last one regularly shut himself in the half-bathroom and never could recognize my father when he put on his heavy parka….)

    I want a big dog like a Rottie or even up to one of the mastiffs, but I don’t have the health to be able to walk the dog a mile a day or the space to let him run. I have been considering an Italian greyhound, though the one a friend has is apparently all shiver and bounce which….eh. I don’t know. I do know I don’t want anything I have to either shave or comb. I have tailbone length hair to maintain on my own head. (grin)

  23. February 2, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Ferris is adorable! Cats are my first love, but I have been lucky enough to have known my elderly rescue, Joseph:

    I miss him so much.

  24. Kristen (The J one)
    February 2, 2009 at 12:22 am


    Abbie is part italian greyhound….I would say unless you have at least an hour a day to run him or her…it’s not a good idea. Abbie spends 8 hours a day, 3 days a week at doggie day care and when she’s not in day care she get 2 – 1 hour each walks. AND SHE STILL HAS ENERGY. Its insanity I tell you…INSANITY.

  25. February 2, 2009 at 12:48 am

    @EKSwitaj, lol, word! must we essentialize our pets? i’m mostly joking, but at the same time, i’m not about to call my female cat a tomboy because she likes to roughhouse, and likewise i’m not going to say that my other cat, kind of naive and very loyal, has a dog-like personality. she’s Lilla My and he’s Big Bird and that’s all there is to it!

  26. GreyLadyBast
    February 2, 2009 at 7:01 am

    Dogs are great…

    …when they’re other people’s! However, a dozen years spent enduring my parent’s unhoustrained, disgusting, mean-spirited Yorkies that they refused to give up, even after one bit me AND my son, is enough to sour a woman on dogs for a good long time. Small dogs, especially, are Teh Ebol. Thankfully, they’re gone now (old age) and I am loving my dog-free existence. So all you dog-whipped types dote on your pets to your hearts’ content. I will visit and bring treats and pets and playing, and then go home to my happy dog-free life.

    ‘Cause in my world, dogs, like babies and relationships, are only great only when they’re other people’s.

    On the other hand, I have never and will never live life without at least one cat. I’ve already taken my vow of Crazy Cat Lady-dom, and I’m only 35!

    Y’know what I’d love to have, though? A snake. Snakes are cuddly and wonderful and fun, and I miss having one. Can I get a shout-out from the herpetologically-inclined?


  27. February 2, 2009 at 7:08 am

    My mom was, for a while, allergic to cats, so I had a dog growing up. I was born into Max’s house; he was a sheltie, quite smart, and very gentle. I was eight or nine when he died, and I still remember the look on my mom’s face the day we had to have him put down (cancer).

    We got Casey a few years later. My mom was reluctant to get another dog, but the shelter knew we were thinking about it, and called my dad one day because there was a golden retriever there who was going to be put down that day if no one adopted him. Casey’s the dog I remember best. He couldn’t have hurt a fly if he tried, he was playful, a little jealous, and very affectionate. A stray kitten wandered into our backyard a few years later, and when my family adopted her, so did Casey. She picked up on a lot of his personality traits, as a result. They were pretty cute together. Casey stayed outside, but the cat (who we named Lilly) would come in and out. Some nights, if she didn’t get inside before we all went to bed, she’d curl up with him to sleep. When Casey died about three years ago, she took to wandering around our backyard, like she was looking for him.

    I live in an apartment, right now, so getting a dog is out. First chance I got, though, I called the animal shelter, and they introduced me to an orange tabby cat named Oscar. One thing I can’t get over is just how much Oscar reminds me of Casey. If there is such a thing as reincarnation, then Casey’s spirit was reborn as Oscar.

    So, I guess you could say I’m a big fan of both cats and dogs. Then again, I’ve also had some very dog-like cats. I’ve been very blessed with the pets in my life. :)

  28. Kristin
    February 2, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Holy shit, that’s a big westie!

  29. Marissa
    February 2, 2009 at 11:04 am

    What happened to your second kitty? :( :( :( :(

  30. February 2, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Ohhh don’t worry, nothing happened to him — he’s my room mate’s, not mine. We adopted two kitties who are brothers. Percy is mine, Leo is hers. So he’s still around, terrorizing us all :-)

  31. space
    February 2, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Cute dog!

    I generally prefer cats because I’m an introvert (not because I’m a feminist), but I can’t have them because I’m badly allergic and don’t want to have to be chronically medicated for 15 years just so I can breathe around my own pet. I needed frequent medication since I was 15 when the asthma part of my cat allergy developed and became chronic, through college when I had to go home to a house with cats in between semesters.

    So, it’s probably gonna have to be fish and rodents for me, or possibly a bird one day, although they can be kind of noisy and too extroverted like dogs. I have fish, but being in an officially “no pets” apartment I don’t think I could get away with a rodent, even though I occasionally dream of getting one. (Just did last night.)

  32. AshKW
    February 2, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Yes, cats are awesome. I have four, because I live in a little apartment. But when I have a house (soon, I hope!) I will have dogs too, because I have always adored dogs. They meet different emotional needs — dogs are happy to see you and awesome companions for a walk, but cats are cuddly and independent.

    But the real loves of my life are my two horses. More than any dog or cat, my horses are the reason the sun rises each morning. They’re as happy to see me as any dog, and as independent as any cat. I love the challenges (and exercise!) of riding, and I also love just lying against Tonka’s neck in the summer to take a nap in the pasture.

    Hooray for horses!

  33. ACG
    February 3, 2009 at 10:47 am

    I have a fish and two and a half stepcats, but I have to admit that my Dave is definitely the love of my critter life. When we were out for our run yesterday, a fire truck passed us, and when Dave started singing along with the siren, I thought, “There is no cuter animal in the world.” And it’s true. I will brook no argument.

    the worst that’s said of dogs is that they’re often dumb and excessively devoted, while cats get literally called “evil”

    It’s not a common thing, but I’d say my dog is kind of evil. I think it’s the eyebrows. This is the first picture I ever saw of Dave, and my first thought was, “Now there’s an evil dog. Must have.”

  34. ACG
    February 3, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Well, hell, that didn’t work. Take two:


  35. February 4, 2009 at 11:18 am

    I have a healthy, 20 lbs westie female named Kat (Kit Kat, had a mutt named M&M too). Does that mean I am pro dog and cat? I am all for animal rights, but I don’t think I could own a cat. I’d be waiting for it to eat my eyeballs.

    My point in commenting is the site dogster.com. Have you seen it? There is a companion catster (I think?). I must admit my dog has a profile on it and her own blog. I haven’t been on it in awhile, but it was as addicting as facebook.

    I would post a picture of my westie, but I am using the pc at work and I am a mac girl.

    P.S. the website I used has you click to feed shelter animals!

  36. blondie
    February 4, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    I wish I had seen this earlier. Animal Planet runs the Puppy Bowl all day on Super Bowl Sunday, and I would take Puppy Bowl over the Super Bowl, hands down! I’m not sure how much of Puppy Bowl is available online, but I know it does have a website if you’re interested in finding out more.

  37. February 7, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    4 cats and 2 dogs make this feminist proud.
    Recent pic of the dogs: http://elainevigneault.com/the-little-muffins.html

  38. Leigh
    February 8, 2009 at 4:20 am

    I’m late to this, but I just want to say, fucking finally. I am deathly allergic to cats and have spent years fretting with anxiety that teh feminists would find out and revoke my membership. Yay puppies!

  39. April 10, 2009 at 10:11 am

    I do love my cat of 14 years. I have always had cats, even growing up. But 6 month ago a got a papillon, and he is so much fun. I never thought I would be a dog person, but I think I am!

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