cat sipping teaIf you were to ask most Americans what their preferred morning drink was, they would probably say coffee.  Why is that?  Maybe because many Americans have still not heard how good tea is, or they’re just too scared to explore new frontiers and try something different.  Of course, most of you know that tea holds a lot of good qualities.  In countries like Japan and China, tea is the top drink.  But whether in a cappuccino, latte, or just straight, coffee is often preferred over tea in this country.

Obviously, there will never be a correct answer to “Which is better, coffee or tea?”.  Everyone has their own preferences, and we need to respect that.   But one group whose opinions we have not yet welcomed is our pets.

Although we are unable to question them directly, we can observe their behaviors to find out what our canine and feline friends really want.

You often hear about dogs begging for tea, attempting to steal tea, or eating tea bags while their owner’s backs are turned.  In some cases, a dog will become so excited at tea time that it will leap onto the table, smash the tea pot (or cup), and spill tea all over the kitchen.  Certain dogs even have favorite teas.  However, you seldom hear of a Chihuahua that follows its owner around like a magnet when he holds a cup of coffee, or a Pit Bull that smashes the coffee maker in frustration when its owner makes the wrong type of java.

But rather than leave it at that, why not do a study of our own?  Juliet, my one-year-old Abyssinian cat, seemed like a perfect tester.

dog sips teaAnimals shouldn’t have caffeine.  That isn’t an opinion; it’s a fact.  Caffeine isn’t good for animals.  Would I bring the wrath of caffeine down on my cat?  Of course not!  Decaf tea is fine for pets (and me), and just as tasty.

The challenge would be convincing Juliet that she was permitted to drink tea.  Juliet is well trained in the theory that cats eat cat food, and people eat people food, with the exception of an occasional stray insect (I do not mean to imply that insects are people food, just that they are not standard cat fare).  However, when I held out a spoonful of decaffeinated Crème Carmel Tea (my personal favorite), it took her only a few moments before deciding that it was succulent, and consuming the entire offered portion.  The tea’s aroma was too good to resist, apparently.  So much for that “no human food” rule.

On the other hand, Juliet tends to studiously ignore my dad when he drinks coffee, preferring to play with me in the other room.

Our furry friends have spoken, and it seems they have come up with a good solution to the debate.  Perhaps we Americans should take a leaf out of their book on what to drink tomorrow morning.

My lizard, Spirit, however…well, let’s not go there.

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