I know. I know.
Just by glancing at this title, die-hard dog people might rip this section to shreds while cat worshippers will neatly trim this piece, frame it and mount it on their ever-growing cat altar.
Folks get understandably defensive over their house pet of preference, especially if they’ve had the pleasure to consider one a member of the family. Just like a family member, not all memories you may share with that pet are positive.
From potty accidents, to damaged furniture, to health scares — all manner of things could go awry. These, however, are nothing compared to the positive experiences. Why else would your phone’s photo album be completely swamped with adorable pictures of your pet(s)?
Before I get into why cats are the superior house pet in this historic rivalry, it would be heinous of me to ignore the merits of a dog. There’s a reason why they are called “man’s best friend,” after all. A cat’s loyalty pales in comparison to that of a canine, whose eagerness to please is why they’ve even made careers for themselves in canine units on police forces and sniffers for unauthorized materials in airports.
Media appear eager to portray cats as bratty, spoiled creatures who care nothing for their human owners.
Take Gargamel’s cat Azrael from the Smurfs franchise, or that cat from Cinderella called Lucifer, or even Cruella de Vil’s cat from 101 Dalmatians (the novel).
Either these cats are owned by villains, or they are villains themselves. Or both. They block protagonists from their goals because they are selfish creatures who disregard any desires beyond their own — and sometimes even their owners.
Notice how these examples of villainous cats all appear in media aimed at children.
Would a child’s perception of cats slant towards the negative if they were not exposed to them outside of this presented media? Most likely.
While dogs have evolved and been selectively bred by humans to serve specific purposes, cats have remained largely the same throughout history.
The same, however, cannot be said for perception. In ancient Egypt, the feline was worshiped. Deceased cats were mummified and treated with the same respect as humans. Statues were constructed in honor of Bastet, a cat goddess represented as half feline, half woman.
From a less mythological/social standpoint, cats were — and are — invaluable to ecosystems. They are capable of eliminating rodents that would otherwise spread disease among concentrated human populations. This was how the cat was “domesticated” — people noticed that cats were taking care of the rodent problem, and so to support them they provided them food, water and shelter.
In fact, the “Black Death” plague that devastated Europe could partly be blamed on the absence of cats. Because of a witch scare, Europeans set out to exterminate cats — which in turn led to an overpopulation of rodents. Even if rats were not direct carriers of the plague, their invasion of streets, homes and other spaces meant a severe lack of hygiene and thus a dangerous vulnerability to rampant spreading of the disease.
Speaking of that, while dogs regularly groom themselves and have their own systems for keeping clean, they can’t hold a candle to their feline counterparts. Perhaps most significantly, a cat’s tongue is nature’s version of a comb. It possesses tiny keratin hooks specifically designed to pick up shed fur and other particles. Ever wondered why a cat was softer than a dog? Ever wondered why they don’t smell as much as dogs? Well, now you know.
Also, it’s far easier to potty train them than dogs because of their natural instinct to carefully bury their waste. They don’t bark and the sound of their purr actually has health benefits ranging from reducing stress to strengthening bones.
So those are my two cents in the cats vs. dogs argument. Sure dogs might be man’s best friend, but cats are definitely man’s coolest.
Soondos Mulla Ossman is a senior DIFT, English and computer science triple major. She is the Features Editor for the Newswire from Cincinnati.