It seems to me that cats and dogs fill that gap that develops in long-lasting human relationships. . . when you've lived with someone long enough that you no longer gaze for long seconds into his or her limpid eyes without awkwardness or a desire to be the first to look away. Dogs and cats, on the other hand, gaze unabashedly into their humans' eyes - tenderly, adoringly, loyally. No embarrassment, no jokes to break the awkward silence. . . just long, silent looks that speak volumes.