like cats and dogs: a taxonomy

For the past five days, I’ve had the pleasant experience of dog-sitting for Sarah. Meet Royal:

Ebb meets Royal

Royal’s a mix of Labrador and German Shepherd (I believe). I of course am a cat owner. Ebenezer has had his own troubled past with dogs, particularly large ones, e.g. Royal’s size. So I knew that the experience would be enlightening, if not challenging.

Not being a life-long dog owner, I was anxious to learn how this companion animal differed from the other. Royal’s visit provided an excellent case study opportunity. Granted the sample size in my experiment is rather small: one cat meets one dog, both of one breed each.

Nevertheless, here are my preliminary research findings:


  • Predominant attitude is standoffish.
  • Affectionate on their own terms.
  • Demands attention capriciously, but rarely gives attention (unless food is involved).
  • Does not respond well to voice commands.
  • Not as easily trained.
  • Generally indifferent to positive reinforcement training.
  • Responds poorly to negative verbal treatment.
  • Terrible running companion.
  • Excellent napping companion.
  • Genetically trained to self-govern defecation and micturition, given the proper stool receptacle (however, it has been observed that relapses to a non-trained state can arise under certain environmental traumas).


  • Loyal to the point of self-deprecation.
  • Needs close physical contact with a human most of the time.
  • Responds very well to voice commands.
  • Fairly easily trained.
  • Benefits from positive reinforcement.
  • Responds poorly to negative verbal treatment training.
  • Excellent running companion.
  • Difficult napping companion.
  • Requires multiple daily walks for defecation and micturition.

This list is by no means exhaustive. I’m open to more scholarship.

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  1. Oooh, one more little tidbit… I saw a photo of a Rhodesian Ridgeback/Boxer mix this weekend, and I’m convinced that Royal is that precise blend also.

    I miss Royal!

  2. So basicly dogs are better pets then cats? I’d have to agree with you!! miss you, have fun this weekend!

  3. Cute dog! I like both cats and dogs although it is rare that I find a cat that I really, really like. My friend Jeff’s cat will sit in your lap constantly and wants petting and affection like a dog. Royal looks like a cutie.

    Happy Valentine’s Day youngins! 🙂

  4. Carl, you’d like my cat Cleo then. She’s rather dog-like, defying many cat characteristics from the above list. In fact, it’s quite annoying because she constantly wants to be petted and held, in addition to the dog! 🙂

  5. Disturbingly, when I glanced at the title of this post, I thought it said “Cats and Dogs: a taxadermy”. I was really, really worried about what Rob had been getting up to with his DIY projects!

  6. Good job dogsitting Rob. It seems you learned something too!

    James’ parents love Boxers. They do have good personalities. Sounds like Royal has some good blood in him! He is very handsome, too.

  7. Royal wanted me to tell everyone that he’s flattered to be mentioned on this much-read blog. He also wanted to say thanks to those who commented on his striking good looks.

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