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Friday, November 12, 2010

8 Ways Cats are Better Than Dogs

Who decided that dogs were man’s-best-friend?  And why are dogs so sexist when it comes to choosing best friends?  I submit that the era of the feline is upon us and it is time that our aphorisms reflect their superiority.

Our nation seems fairly evenly split on this question and much has been written about the psychology of cat owners and dog owners (most or all of it BS).  Some would shy away from this question entirely, excusing themselves behind the shield of it being a matter of personal preference.  I submit that despite this long held belief, one can objectively prove the superiority of cats.  Certainly one’s preference needn’t be dictated by cold rationality, but when it comes time to ratify a mammalian “best-friend”, I believe our best approach is a scientific one.

And don't give me any of that "who
would win in a fight?" crap.

Now I should say at the onset that I readily accept that both dogs and cats are awesome.  They provide companionship on par with the best of human friends and they never leave misspelled curse words on your You-Tube comments.  I will make no argument that dogs are unfit to be our beloved pets, but that does not stop cats from trumping them in many categories of ownership:

 #1) Cats are Easier to Housebreak 

The first and most pertinent question for a new pet owner should be one of defecation.  For cat owners it is usually the simple matter of making sure they explore the house from the litter-box outward.  Once they are aware that there is a place to bury their nastiness, they will generally take full advantage.  On occasion you might own a cat that will take to a particular spot or soil your houseplants, but barring some sort of mental retardation your cat isn’t going to go pooping all over your house.
Don't use all of your "aww..." at once.  There's more.

Your dog, on the other hand…

Dogs are not innately aware of the difference between a four hundred dollar rug and a patch of grass by the sidewalk.  They seem perfectly content to wallow around in a den of their own waste.  They will find creative new places to hide their messes while you work your way through the arduous process of punishing them and rubbing their noses in stuff you’d rather their noses weren’t rubbed in.

Even once the dog is housebroken there is still a danger.  Illness or accidental neglect can result in a turd in the foyer at any time.  While neglecting a litter-box for long enough might have the same result, we’re talking about a matter of hours (if you’re lucky) with a dog compared to a matter of days for a single cat.

 #2) Cats Don’t Chew Up Your Stuff 

A cat’s most destructive behavior (once they’re fixed) is clawing your furniture and/or molding.  While this can be a persistent nuisance, it is one that can often be fixed with a few strategically placed scratching posts.  In the worst of cases you can have them surgically modified to eliminate the problem.  While I don’t recommend it and find it rather cruel, the option is out there for an extreme circumstance.
Okay, yeah, but dogs do that too.

Your dog, on the other hand…

Dogs will chew anything small enough to get their jaws around.  While this may not be true of all dogs, it is a significant enough majority to make it a constant concern for new dog owners.  Unlike cats who can be distracted with a scratching post, adding a chew toy to your apartment just gives the mutt something to chew after he’s finished with your phone.  Even if they fail to fully demolish the object of their mastication, they will invariably leave it cocooned in a thick film of dog mucous that makes it gross enough that you kind of wish they’d just destroyed it. 

 #3) Cats Can Be Left Alone 

I won’t bother with the argument that cats will leave you alone; as the dog lover can easily counter that this is balanced out by a dog’s ready affection at any moment.  There is something to be said, however, for the ability of the owner to leave for a moment.  If you’re a cat owner and receive a last minute invite that will keep you out for the night (fingers crossed that you do!), you will come home the following morning to a cat who stays angry at you until you’re done replenishing her food bowl.

Your dog, on the other hand…

Leave your dog alone for an extra hour and a half after work and she’s already having conniption fits.  You can visualize her peeing on your carpet as you stare at the endless parade of break lights in front of you.  Cushions may be chewed through and shoes may be obliterated as the unbearable you-not-being-there-ness of the evening ravages her mind.

And that’s a few hours.  You wouldn’t even think of leaving your dog alone for a few days.  A cat owner could get away with a bit of extra food and a second bowl of water, but a dog could never be entrusted with its own care.  The food would be gone in an hour and piles of dried vomit would tell the tale of its gluttony.  That would be the least unpleasant addition to your carpeting but the stuffing from your mattress and sofa would disguise the rest of the mess quite well.
Picture this, only more slobbered on.

 #4) Cats are Self-Cleaning 

The smell factor between cats and dogs is something of a push.  Litter-boxes have varying levels of stench, but there’s no point at which they smell good.  The worst of the cat related smells is probably a bit worse than the worst of dog smells.  The difference is that dogs carry their smell around everywhere they go.  A cat happily bathes itself in a ritual that is graceful to behold up until they get to the chest area.

Too cute to improve with a caption.

Your dog, on the other hand…

Some avid doggists out there will try to point to some anecdotal experience with the one dog in the world that doesn’t stink.  While there might be such a canine somewhere, it is undeniable that dogs have a distinctive dog smell.  A dog lover might grow accustom to it and learn to ignore it but occasionally even they must succumb to the power of the odor and give the dog a bath.

A dog might smell good for a night or two after the bath, but that hardly counts as the dog not stinking.  If you slather enough shampoo on it, it will smell like shampoo until the shampoo wears off at which time the inherent dogness will return.  It is an unending cycle that could be fixed if dogs could collectively learn to use their tongues for the powers of good.

 #5) Cats are Cheaper to Own 

Most of the comparisons thus far hinge on one reoccurring theme: Cats are low maintenance.  While it is true that many people prefer the demanding aspects of dog ownership, an objective measure should look directly at hours involved and dollars involved.  Cats need food, litter and occasional veterinary care.  You’ll probably buy some scratching posts, a kennel to tote him back and forth to the vet and a few catnip-infused mice.

Your dog, on the other hand…

Is probably bigger than a cat.  That’s not guaranteed, obviously, but if it is, the cost of food and medicine goes up exponentially.  Dogs do have the advantage of not needing litter, though these savings are usually wiped out the first time your dog pees in your speakers.  Because they tend to go out more, they tend to require more veterinary care and that care tends to be more expensive even if the dog is comparable in size to a cat.

It's even more expensive if you're an ostentatious jerk.

 #6) Cats Don’t Bark 

It’s hard to believe that I still have two points to make that are stronger than this one, right?  The bark is the bane of neighbors the world over.  While it is true that cats certainly do meow, it is hard to imagine a cat that meowed as often or as loudly as a rural canine at two in the morning.  A cat might on occasion have a romantic rendezvous beneath your window in the middle of the night, but at least its orgasmic screeches won’t touch off a neighborhood wide screeching competition.

Plus, wook at his wittle face...

Your dog, on the other hand…

Not all dogs bark a lot.  That’s true of many of the points I’ve made up to this point.  Potty training a dog is a pain as is teaching it not to chew on your stuff.  Once you pass this critical training period (assuming that you do), the ease of ownership spikes a great deal with dogs.  The lack of this steep learning curve still serves as a distinct and objective argument that cats are superior pets, but it does diminish the potency of many of my points.  After all, I’m arguing that they are better pets overall, while many of the points I’ve defended are only the temporary stumbling blocks of puppy-hood.

Most dogs eventually learn to usually shut up most of the time.  They will still interject themselves into conversation from time to time or start howling at one in the morning at no identifiable trigger, but they will usually refrain from barking.  The larger point, however, is that a cat screeching at a stray under the window will probably never wake you up as long as you live unless it is your cat.  When you bring a dog into your life, your neighbor’s ability to sleep will rest on the speed with which you can train your mutt.
They also run up your minutes.

 #7) Cats Don’t Eat Poop 

If I had to limit myself to a single argument, I would start and end right here.  It was kind of difficult not to give this one top honors, but it hardly needs to be elaborated upon.  That being said, I pay myself by the word here so I will elaborate anyway.

Cats are picky eaters and that is a common frustration among cat owners.  They will complain that their cat will only eat one particular brand of food and will turn their noses at it if it’s been in the bowl for more than thirty minutes.  Take heart, fellow feline aficionados, for the function that forces a frown to their finicky faces also forbids them from feasting on their own feces.

Your dog, on the other hand…

Again, trying to stay objective here, let’s say that up to this point you could easily counter every argument I made and the debate was dead even.  After I say “Dogs eat poop”, how many solid rebuttals will you need before you manage to tie things back up?  Imagine if you and I were discussing two mutual friends and trying to decide which was cooler.  They were both essentially the same, except one ate poop.  I have to feel that this one would be a no-brainer.
Be thankful you didn't have to root through
the Google images for a cute one... yech.

 #8) Cats Don’t Kill People 

Now, let me not be too broad here.  Cats are amazing creatures with an abundance of sharp points and they are capable of devastating a human being if they are so inclined.  Cat scratch fever is more than just a Ted Nugent song.  It is a real condition and it can take weeks or even months to recover from.  That being said, it is almost never fatal.  If a person were to be killed by a cat it would be so exceptional that it would live on in local folklore for at least a couple of generations.

... Especially if it went down like this

Your dog, on the other hand…

As I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, dogs are responsible for more hospitalizations than any other animal in this country.  They send more people to the hospital every year than sharks, snakes, spiders and cat scratch fever combined.  They are responsible for dozens of deaths each year and even more disfigurements and traumatic injuries.  Most dogs will never attack a person, but when they do the results can be ruinous.

"Look ma, Fluffy wants to play!"

Many people will bring up security as a trump card in the dog versus cat debate.  The ability of a dog to protect ones home is certainly unrivalled by a cat.  However, a dog ferocious enough to intimidate a burglar is far more likely to attack a member of your family or an invited guest than a home invader.  It is also possible that your dog will be asleep when the burglar comes calling, given the nineteen hours a day dogs generally sleep.  If your dog surprises a thief in your home you are probably still going to come home to a robbed house, but it will be highlighted by a dead dog.

Even with the most liberal allowance, the security aspect of dogs is balanced out by the possibility of them killing you.  By any reasonable measure I think the scales should tip more on the side of potential death than protection of an insured flat screen.  The very fact that you have (or should have) general liability insurance on your attack dog in case they rip somebody’s limb off should be a powerful argument for the cat camp.

Just look at those vicious bastards.

I welcome conflicting opinions.  Please feel to tell me how full of crap I am in the comments section below. 

Cat lovers, please pass this blog along to your facebook friends so we can all bask in the sheer awesomeness of cats.  Dog lovers, please pass it along to your facebook friends so that you can coordinate a scathing rebuttal.

Aaron Davies

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