It feels like the interaction with him isn’t even remotely on the same level. The dogs travel reasonably well, we can go places and play games with them on our terms in addition to theirs, and it feels like, communication-wise, they’re trying to meet us halfway in a way the cat can’t.
The cat comes when called, and if you tell him to stop doing something, he does stop, but I don’t feel like we can communicate as meaningfully. For example, when I tell the dogs to get out of the kitchen while I’m cooking, they sit at the doorway and wait, and, while one might sneak back in, a quick glance is all that’s needed to send them back out. They seem to “get” the whole idea of me wanting them out and they try to comply, even if there’s chicken. The cat also leaves, but I have to be a lot more assertive and consistent with him to keep him listening. It’s obvious that he only stays out because I’m going to make it difficult for him to come in, not because he’s trying to do what I want. Does that make sense?
Another example is games. Playing a game with the cat is enticing him with something until he feels like swatting it; we’re pretty much doing all the work to entertain him. With the dogs, we’ll play a game of “find the toy” or frisbee, and while it’s work to hide the objects or throw the frisbee around, the dogs are putting in effort to, say, stay put while I hide the thing, or wait while I throw the frisbee. They’re putting in effort, and we’re all entertained. It feels like more of a group effort.
Taking the dogs for a walk is a team effort where we’re going out as a group and checking things out. Taking the cat for a walk (well, I’ve never done this successfully with my cat, but my sister does with hers) involves following the cat while he does what he wants on a lead.
We never got the feeling of being a team and being buddies with the cat the way we do with the dogs. It’s an entirely different experience for us. He’s a nice enough pet, and he’ll sit on your lap on the couch and such, and I know he likes me because he follows me around and visibly sulks if I reject him for whatever reason. But he’s not my buddy in the same way. I’m sure a lot of people get that feeling from their cats, but I don’t.