Otus the Head Cat

Lat­est statis­tics prove cats bet­ter than dogs.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE -

Dear Otus,

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: mstorey@arkansason­line.com

Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette/MICHAEL STOREY

Al­fred, a Maine coon who lives in Lit­tle Rock’s King­wood neigh­bor­hood, dis­plays typ­i­cal su­pe­rior fe­line cun­ning by dis­guis­ing him­self as a bird bath.

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