Pet Plot Thoughts

Most of the April-May SQUIDs went out this week -- 68, I think, for the two-month period, of which 63 were "nos" -- and I believe I had three ms. about boys who wanted dogs. The main character is ALWAYS a BOY, and it is ALWAYS a DOG. When I was eight, I desperately wanted a cat. Why are there no books about girls who want cats? Or girls who want dogs, for that matter? Or boys who want cats? Does anyone keep potbellied pigs anymore? What about rabbits? Iguanas? Snakes? Guinea pigs?

In terms of child development, I understand the desire for a pet is generally read as the child's desire to take care of something (have power over it, if you like) as s/he is being taken care of -- the same instinct that leads kids to play with dolls or ask for little brothers or sisters. Not to mention, of course, entertainment or cuddle value. I did get a cat when I was eight -- a kitten we adopted from a nearby farm, and which I named Miranda -- but it scratched me every time I got close, and eventually I became scared of it, to the point that we had to return it to the farm. The two emotions I remember most clearly about the whole thing were my shock and fear when I woke to the cat sitting on my bed one morning, and my profound relief as we left her again at the farm. . . . If I were making this story into a text for publication instead of a random anecdote, the point I would probably try to make out of it is not that I wasn't ready for a cat (which may have been my parents' interpretation -- and which might also be true), but that I wasn't ready for that cat, or she wasn't ready for me. I had wanted any cat, and all cats are not created equal. What matters, as in most things, is finding the one that works with you.

Anyway. I guess indoor pets do not offer as many possibilities for plots as dogs do, as dogs can ramble all over the neighborhood with the main character and generally cause more trouble. But if the story is about the desire for a pet, why is it always dogs and boys? Or are there recent books I'm not aware of about cats or other non-canine pets? Your thoughts?