Otus the Head Cat
Latest statistics prove cats better than dogs.
No sooner did those new stats come out Tuesday than my know-it-all brother-inlaw, Orville, started in (again) about “fake facts” and “educated idiots” and which makes the better pet, cats or dogs.
Orville is one of those irritating dog people. I am a normal and sane cat person. Obviously America agrees with me, but I’d love some of your wit and wisdom to counter Orville’s pig-headed argument.
By the way, I’ve been reading your column since 1980 and think you’re the best thing to hit Arkansas since the administration of Gov. Joe Purcell in 1979. Keep up the good work. — Cane Gatto,
Fordyce Dear Cane,
It was wholly a pleasure to hear from you and to also thank you for reminding us of the halcyon days of Gov. Purcell, when men were true and politicians were not all slovenly curs inclined to embarrass the state and nation with their puerile behavior and coarse rhetoric.
Both cats and dogs quickly become members of the family and frequently humans’ best friends, loving them unconditionally and enriching their lives. How can we possibly prove that one is better than the other?
Let’s go to the facts. I assume you are referring to the recently released figures from the American Veterinary Medical Association. It’s a mixed bag as to which is the more popular house pet and the numbers can be spun to favor whichever species you prefer.
More households (36.5 percent to 30.4 percent) have a dog in the United States, but there are more pet cats — 74.1 million vs. 69.9 million.
Arkansas, by the way, is the nation’s No. 1 dog state. The AMVA reports an impressive 47.9 percent of Arkansas households have a dog. That’s a lot of pooper scooping.
Whether one prefers dogs over cats is highly subjective, but it says a lot about your personality if you have a deep-seated emotional and psychological need to be the alpha leader of a pack and have some poor, drooling, subservient canine minion living only to please and serve you.
Want to look smart? Researchers from Carroll University in Wisconsin completed a study on the personality differences between “cat people” and “dog people.” One of the study’s most provocative findings was that cat people scored higher on intelligence than dog people.
I’m not surprised. Before Orville dismisses my opinion as based on my being, you know, a cat, share with him these basic irrefutable facts. Doubt me? Have him Google it. The internet don’t lie.
Cost: The AVMA notes that dogs are much more expensive — $227 vs. $90 — per year.
Ancestry: The closest living relative to every dog — German shepherd to chiweenie — is the gray wolf, a sister clade. The dog actually shows a closer genetic relationship to the huge (nowextinct) megafaunal wolf — a sort of a Game of Thrones direwolf.
The first Paleolithic wolfdog was domesticated by hunter-gatherers as early as 36,000 years ago, most likely in western Eurasia, according to a study using single nucleotide polymorphisms.
Yes, Orville, wolves. If you’ve ever had a chiweenie go medieval on you, well, it ain’t pretty.
In an early example of symbiotic mutualism, cats actually chose to be domesticated when the first feral felid (Felis sylvestris, a Middle Eastern wildcat) left the clowder and approached a crespuscular Epipaleolithic campfire 12,000 years ago and plopped a dead rat at the feet of a startled Levantian nomad.
Thus free of grain-eating vermin, the nomads turned to agriculture with the result being modern civilization. You’re welcome.
At the risk of causing pernicious enmity, I’ll say that if you prefer dogs, then the chances are you have the anthropocentric hubris to treat them as surrogate children and dress them in costumes.
Politics? Cats, like the honey badger, don’t give a spit. They are registered independents. Dogs, especially the yellow ones, are Democrats.
You can distract a dog by yelling, “Squirrel!” Cats are far more resourceful (see photo).
The Mayo Clinic found that 21 percent of dogs snore and only 7 percent of cats. Cats will nap quietly until you get home from work; dogs will shred your couch and pee on the rug.
A barking dog will drive you nuts; a mewing cat will make you smile. And finally, the No. 1 reason cats make better pets: Cats purr. There is nothing more soothing or better for lowering stress than a purring cat.
Until next time, Kalaka reminds you that as popular as cats are, the top-ranked pet in the country is fish. American aquariums hold 57.8 million fish. I think that’s icky, as in Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.
Fayetteville-born Otus the Head Cat’s award-winning column of Z humorous fabrication X
appears every Saturday. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alfred, a Maine coon who lives in Little Rock’s Kingwood neighborhood, displays typical superior feline cunning by disguising himself as a bird bath.