In Defense of Cats
John Hawkins penned an article for PJ Media advancing the notion that cats are inferior to dogs "in every way." He gave five reasons trying to prove this theory -- tried and failed. In fact, though Hawkins' entertaining article was written largely tongue-in-cheek, the underlying bias against cats came through loud and clear.
We cat lovers are used to this. Forget everything you know about race, ethnicity, religion, ideology, or political affiliation. The great schism in humanity is between those who love cats and those who don't, and it's been that way going on 5,000 years.
I suspect John really doesn't hate cats. If he does, it's because cats don't like him very much. Felines have an unerring ability to size humans up and decide if they can be properly enslaved to do their bidding. In short, unlike with dogs, humans don't choose cats. Cats choose them. Dogs have absolutely no dignity or discernment when it comes to giving their love and loyalty. Anyone who feeds them, pats them on the head, or, best yet, throws a stick that they can mindlessly fetch earns their ceaseless -- and boring -- adoration.
It's been this way for tens of thousands of years. Genetically speaking, dogs are failed wolves. It is probable that the first wolves domesticated by man were Omega wolves -- the lowest-ranking wolf in the pack -- that hung around human campfires hoping to get a few scraps of food. The Omegas were kicked around by their own pack and this complex carried forward through the ages so that a dog today will do anything to please its master.
Not so, cats. From the cat's point of view, it is we that should do anything to please them. Do they turn their nose up at the food we put in front of them? Try a different dinner, stupid human.
Busy and don't want to be bothered petting them? Try ignoring a cat determined to have you pay attention to him. If you do, he is likely to deliberately knock over that glass of soda on your desk right on to your keyboard. Those who think it an accident are delusional.
As for Hawkins' 5 ways that cats are inferior to dogs, I will make short work of his thesis.
1) Dogs are much smarter than cats.
Scientific studies prove that dogs are smarter than cats. But this is silly. There isn't a scientific study that has been devised that can hold a cat's attention for more than two minutes. Any test a dog can pass, a cat has no use for. It's like asking an MIT grad to take the same math test as a second grader.
Besides, cats have a vested interest in keeping their superior intellect hidden from humans. The absolute worst thing that could happen to cats would be if we started to take them for granted.
2) Your dog loves you. Your cat couldn’t care less if you were murdered by clowns.
What appears to a dog lover as indifference is actually a sign of a cat's psychological health. Dogs have massive insecurities and feel they must constantly demonstrate their love. Cats are totally secure in the knowledge that they have you by the short hairs, so to speak, and feel absolutely no need to give any outward manifestation of their affection. They believe it says volumes that they allow you to exist in almost the same space as they do, although not on the same plane of the universe.
3) Dogs are better pets.
John's reasoning needs to be revealed:
Dogs have spent thousands of years earning the title “man’s best friend” while cats spent that time perfecting the art of spitting up hairballs. Your dog would rather sleep outside on the ground with you than inside a warm, comfortable house. Your cat is kind of hoping you’ll die so he can eat you. Dogs use the bathroom outside. Cats stink up your house by insisting on using a litter box. Dogs are renowned for their loyalty. Cats are mainly known for murdering small animals and dropping them in front of their owners in an attempt to horrify and intimidate them.
Cats spit up hairballs because they are smart enough to clean themselves. Oh, they'll allow you to brush them when they are of a mind to sit still long enough. But this is a bonding exercise -- they really don't need it.
And what are you doing sleeping outside on the cold ground, John? This is a sign of intelligence? Cats -- and their masters -- know better to come in out of the cold and sleep in a warm bed.
And those small animals murdered by cats carry disease and pestilence. In the Middle Ages when Europe carried out felinicide and nearly wiped out the cat population, the black plague -- a disease borne by fleas carried by rats -- killed 75% of humans on the continent. Needless to say, a healthy population of urban cats would have nipped the plague in the bud.
Do dogs have the capability of saving humanity?
4) Dogs are happy and fun while cats are generally annoying.
There is no animal on planet earth more attuned to humans than cats. Because of this, they sense immediately whether you approve of them or not. If you are scared of them, they make it a point to jump on your lap and look at you with that baleful predator stare. If you find them annoying, you are likely to get the "figure 8" treatment. This is when you are walking into another room and the cat moves effortlessly between your legs, making figure eights, back and forth, hoping you will trip over your own feet and go crashing to the floor. It amuses them to know that they annoy you and can actually turn your annoyance to rage.
Don't mess with cats, man. They'll make you sorry you ever met them.
5) Cats would murder you if they could.
"Murder" is a little strong. Yes, it's true that when you catch a cat sitting in the middle of the room and staring at you he is thinking only one thing -- lunch. But this is part of the cat's charm. They aren't thinking of attacking and killing you. They are mulling over their options on how best to manipulate you to get you to do their bidding. A well-modulated "meow," a perfectly timed leap into your lap, or the strategic headbutt usually work equally well in tugging at our heartstrings and getting us to do our master's bidding.
I have been kept by cats for more than 40 years and rejoice in my slavery. Once you recognize the cat's superiority to humans -- and dogs -- you gladly allow yourself to be captured by them. It is a privilege to be enslaved by a beast whose ineffable qualities give us such pleasure, and whose aloofness and other-worldliness delight and mystify us.
Did I mention I love dogs too?