...but I can now confidently say that I will never be a cat owner.
I know that there is a strong contingent of cat-people in the foreign service, and it does make sense. Cats are quieter, more portable, and require less time-commitment than dogs.
But this weekend I did a bit of cat sitting and I have to say that it just about killed me.
90% of my problem was the shedding. You see, I have a dog that doesn't shed, so I wasn't prepared to deal with it. (And by that I mean I didn't bring any sort of portable breathing device or heavy duty air filter.) And OH MY GOODNESS. There was cat hair everywhere! On all the furniture - and by extension on all my clothes - on the counters and table tops, in the food, in the air, everywhere. (Did I mention it got in the food? Ick!) It didn't help that I think I might be mildly allergic to cats. I spent the entire time itching like mad and coughing. Utter misery.
The other 10% of my problems with cats relates to destruction of person and property. The person being me of course, and the property being everything within reach of the cat. Now granted, some things the cat didn't scratch. It didn't scratch the table. Or the cupboards. Or, um, the television... That's about it though. It has already destroyed the majority of its owners' furniture and clothes so it focused on my stuff this weekend. It tried to destroy my scarf, my coat, my bag, and my computer cord before I gave up and locked my stuff in the closet. Unfortunately, I'm not able to lock my skin in the closet, so it's a bit bloodier after a day with the cat. I joke about my dog being a biter, but I think there's a double standard going on here. If my dog made everyone that visited my house bleed we would have had to put him down by now. Just saying.
I want to clarify that I am not saying dogs are better than cats. I know after all that most dogs are shedders too. I guess my main point, in keeping with the holiday season, is that I am so thankful that I have a non-scratching, non-shedding pet. (He's even more low maintenance now that he lives with my folks. In fact, he's no trouble at all!)
All food for thought for a future FSO and prospective pet owner.