Cats vs. dogs: settling superiority

Cats and Dogs” is a current summer movie. Now while I don’t plan on seeing it, I do think it highlights a significant controversy. Since the beginning of time, scholars have debated which species is better: cats or dogs.

Cats have poise, dignity and an independent spirit. Dogs are loyal, loving and always there in need. Of course, these qualities can be spun the other way. Cats are snobbish, aloof, and unfriendly. Dogs are slobbery, needy and bereft of self-esteem. Cats and dogs are polar opposites. So which animal is better? In this hard-hitting column, I hope to finally settle this question.

The primary purpose of a pet is to make one’s life more fulfilling. This can be taken too far, however – just browse through an issue of “Catsmopolitan” or watch the mockumentary “Best in Show.” There are the zany cat ladies with over 100 cats or the dog owners who dress up their poodles in knit sweaters. This is going too far.

Pet fanatics aside, owning a dog makes more sense than owning a cat. One can’t really even own a cat. It’s like a teenager: It’s basically just an animal that leaves hair everywhere, ignores you until mealtime, and then, once fed, disappears again.

Cats don’t show much affection – the main reason for keeping a pet in the first place. Sure, sometimes cats will rub up against you, but so do strangers on the bus. Neither is a sign of affection; cats are merely marking their territory. If it crawls on your lap, it only wants the pleasure of being petted. Every action of a cat is in self-interest.

Cat owners argue cats are “dignified.” Cats aren’t dignified – cats are arrogant and selfish. If I’m going to have such a creature in my house, it’d better be paying rent. Having a cat is like not having a pet at all. Why don’t you just skip buying the Sheba, and send that money to feed Sally Struthers’ starving kids?

But some people love cats anyway. People even emulate them. The most annoying example is women who take the nickname “Cat” or “Kat.” Here’s a little insight: You are not a cat! I do concede, however, that men are dogs.

Actually, I have a particular theory about women who adore their cats. If pets are love surrogates (not literally), then a woman who loves cats exhibits an unhealthy attraction to a particular kind of guy – the type of guy who is typically aloof, who only shows up when he wants dinner or sex. Cats never call. A dog lover, on the other hand, seeks mutual affection, loyalty and unabashed love. Cats typically have none of these qualities. In fact, I suspect if cats were bigger, they’d kill us. It’s just that they can’t, so they mope around.

Cats are sketchy. They have been known to smother babies. I’ve also heard stories of notorious “cat ladies” who die in their houses, trapping scores of cats inside. Instead of starving, the cats devour their owner. Of course this is just hearsay and to confirm it would require research, which is beyond my scope of interest. I did try looking it up on the Internet and instead of finding useful information, I was bombarded by hundreds of owners’ Web pages dedicated to their cats, not to mention the “kitty porn.”

Unlike the sociopathic indifference of cats, dogs have been known to save lives: St. Bernards that bring medicine to the ailing mountaineer, police dogs that apprehend dangerous criminals, Lassie who saved Timmy so many times when he fell down the old mineshaft. A dog is a man’s best friend. You never hear about cats being a man’s best friend. Cats are their own best friends. You can’t take a cat fishing. You can’t take a cat camping. You shouldn’t take a cat on walks. Cats won’t fetch; they rarely come when called. They’re not as likely to curl up with you on your bed. Simply, cats suck.

As with all things, there are exceptions to these generalities. Not all dogs are loving companions; some are mean or just plain ferocious. Also, there are cats that do come when called, play fetch, show affection and so forth. So please, no letters from cat lovers telling me about how great your cat is (especially if it’s cutely written from the cat’s perspective). It’s irrelevant and I don’t care. I suppose the only thing that matters in this crazy world is that the pet enriches your life, whether it be a cat, dog, fish, sea monkey or iguana. But if we consider the truth about cats and dogs, it’s clear dogs beat out cats, paws down.

Matt Brophy’s column usually runs weekly. He welcomes comments at [email protected]. Send letters to the editor to [email protected]