Did you hear the one about cats and dogs being different? What’s the deal with that?
I’m a cat person, yet I’m married to a dog person, so we made a compromise. We own one of both. Jaxton Bartholomew Westinmere, Esq. (Jax for short) is our cat (I bet you can’t guess which one of us named him) and Nero is our dog.
A Little History
Growing up, our neighbors had a large Rotweiler that would wait for me to come home from school and chase me to the front door because there was no fence.
I was bit in the face by my Mom’s teaching partner’s Golden Retriever when I was 5 because no one told me she had just given birth. I also have a permanent bald spot on my left ankle from when my best friend’s wiener dog went crazy and attacked me.
And there are many, many more stories, but that’s another blog entirely. All that to say, I didn’t really grow up a dog person.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard the phrase, “Oh my goodness, [he's/she's] never done that before!” Ugh.
I say all that to say this: I love Nero to death. My heart has opened up and he is part of my family now and it’s caused me to really look at what makes cats and dogs so different and how I can use that when targeting blogs to readers.
The Differences Between Cats & Dogs: In General Terms
You never really have to ponder what a dog is thinking because more often than not, you can immediately tell.
If they like you, they REALLY like you and if they don’t like you, well………you get the idea.
Nero especially hasn’t met a person he doesn’t like. They can be a little dirty to pick up after and require a bit more maintenance than cats, but they will be loyal until the day they die. In the right situation, they truly can be “Man’s Best Friend.”
True cat-lovers will be quick to jump to the felines’ defense.
You must earn a cat’s love and respect. I guess the many years of adoration from the Egyptians corrupted the whole damn species; but whatever the reason, you have to put forth some effort to make a cat enjoy you.
While this may sound bad, once you obtain a cat’s affection, you are set; loyalty like you wouldn’t believe. Also, it’s something you’ve earned.
Cats can pretty much take care of themselves so you are free to leave them to their own devices, but they will be there when you have something to offer. They can be the softest and sweetest animals on the planet, you just have to work a little more for it.
Why You Should Give A Damn
Okay, now we turn it around and bring it home. You’re reaching out to your readers, those people in your community that you know and know you; but are you writing to dog-people or cat-people? Are you writing for them the same way?
You shouldn’t be.
Some readers will love you no matter what. They’re just happy you are in the room and looking at them. They will make a lot of noise, but they will also be easily distracted. You won’t have to do a lot of work up front to get their attention, but they sure can be messy to clean up after.
Other readers will be a little standoff-ish, not really commenting that often, but once you approach them personally and prove to them you want their attention, you have their loyalty. They may seem like they aren’t paying attention, but they always will be waiting for you to offer something because they trust you now.
You should have plans for reaching out to both sets of readers. They cannot be approached the same way. Waving something shiny around will work on a dog-person but will bore the cat-person. Focusing one-on-one with each dog-person will drive the others away because of the short attention spans.
How are you reaching out?
What other differences can you think of that could be relevant to building a strong readership? What other pets could apply?