Hello, two-legged visitors! Greetings to you from Lucinda, your literate cat. A reader recently submitted a question to me, which I am happy to answer. The question relates to the issue of the cat vs. the dog. The visitor wanted to know which I thought was superior, and why.
I did some thinking (sometimes our minds think for us while we sleep) and some research, just to make sure I gave as unbiased an opinion as I could. However, do realize my answer is based on my perspective as a cat. You may or may not agree with my conclusions.
First, as to how the two different animals get along: Realize that there are dogs and then there are dogs. The same with cats. Let me explain.
In most cases, a cat is smaller than a dog. That difference tends to make us very wary and careful around these creatures, especially if quite large, until we get to know each other. Depending on the dog, we may always have to be careful around this animal.
Some dogs are so ingrained with the “chase and kill” instinct that they will always be a threat to a cat. These dogs I avoid if at all possible. And two dogs who gang up on a cat — I’d immediately look for the closest escape route.
Other dogs, especially if they are part of the family, may come to the point of acceptance of the cat, and at times an actual friendship develops between them. For this miracle to happen, both animals need to be willing to be friends.
Then, there are cats who have a hissy-spitty fit if they see any dog. These cats have come to mistrust all dogs, perhaps because of some bad experience in their past, or perhaps just because they are instinctively mistrustful of all creatures different from themselves. I have noticed that some of you two-leggeds tend to develop this same attitude.
Small dogs, now, that tend to be aggressive may find more than they bargained for when confronting one of us. As for me, if a small dog thinks he will get the better of me, I am happy to take him on. A few one-two punches to the face are often enough.
Or, I might just jump on his back and ride him around for a while, just to convince him we are not to be messed with.
Cats and dogs have different world views. Most dogs believe that their role is to be subservient to you two-leggeds. They acknowledge you as lord and master and themselves as your slaves. They will do anything to please you.
Cats, however, see themselves as your equal. We will be partners and companions, but will never submit to slavery. We believe our role to be one of protection. We will slay all little varmints that might sneak in your house to steal or to do other damage.
In return for this service, we expect to be fed and housed in a suitable manner. If you perform this service well for us, we will reward you with loyalty and affection.
You two-leggeds have a saying that fits quite well: “Dogs have masters; cats have staff.”
Once we are invited in to share your home, we will inspect it thoroughly to make sure it meets our high standards for comfort. Once we have decided we can stay, we take over the role of house-owner and share the residence with you.
If there is something called “rent and utilities” that require a thing called money to keep them going, you will have to take care of that, as we do not own or use money. In exchange, we will keep the house free from varmints who might eat up your food.
If for some reason we do not like the house arrangements or the two-legged staff members, we can always leave and look for another place.
Oh, I digress — back to dogs. When you invite a dog into your home, you are acquiring a slave. You two-leggeds have a song with a repeating line, “You gotta quit kicking my dog around.” I observe that you have no song about kicking the cat around, because such a thing is not done in civilized circles.
However, the dog, who is subservient, is an easy target. Why do dogs allow such behavior?
That question brings up another issue. Who is smarter, the dog or the cat?
Well, I don’t think submitting willingly to slavery shows a lot of intelligence, but that’s just a cat’s opinion.
Of course, I think cats are smarter. One reason many two-leggeds believe the dog is smarter is that there have been a lot more tests done with dogs to determine their intelligence. A cat can be studied only if the cat is willing to be looked at so closely. Because we are so independent, at times we do not cooperate as readily as a dog.
Some of you have asked, if cats are so smart, why don’t they come when they are called? Don’t they know their names?
Ah, yes, we know our name and we usually do hear you calling us. When we hear you, we have to make a decision as to whether we will come or not. Sometimes, for example, if we are at a crucial part in an important hunt, we decide we’d better finish what we are doing first; then perhaps we will return home.
You two-leggeds have another saying that fits this situation rather well: “Dogs come when they are called; cats take a message and get back to you.”
It’s a known fact, though, that we are better hunters than dogs. Perhaps that’s one reason why dogs are so willing to become slaves — they enjoy a good meal, just as we do. If we must, we are better equipped to feed ourselves.
As for problem solving, I’ve read and known of many examples of a cat figuring out a solution to a problem by studying the issue and applying trial and error. We will try to duplicate a two-legged behavior that we observe if it will give a solution.
We cats are also better at keeping ourselves clean. We bathe daily. A dog doesn’t do that. He may try to clean himself, but his idea of “clean” is much different than ours.
Dogs like to roll in smelly stuff, or dead things. Yuck! A cat is so fastidious (a new word I just learned) and will not do such a thing. We cats pride ourselves on looking and smelling clean whenever possible.
But a dog — Phew! He should learn to wear some kind of perfume or good-smelling powder, because he just naturally stinks.
I’m so glad we are equipped with our own built-in laundry system. I wouldn’t want to roll around in soap and water in a machine. I’ve seen how you wash your kind of “fur,” which you change all the time. I would not want to adopt your method to clean my lovely coat. Sometimes you bathe us in a tub, but few of us like that.
It is true that a large dog might offer his two-legged more protection from harm, but we have been known to act that part very well at times. Also, our keen sense of smell allows us to warn our two-leggeds of a potential problem, such as a gas leak or a hidden fire.
We do our best to serve, even while maintaining our independence and dignity.
I am sure I could find other ways in which we cats are superior to dogs, but this post will do for a starter. If you have specific questions about the dog-cat issue, please let me know.
Meanwhile, if you have a cat, be sure to tell him that you do realize how wonderfully smart he is.