Cute Kitty Twitters: your cats are stupid.

15 Jan

I had been looking for this precious NYer cartoon for years and could never find it:

Cats are stupid.  Dogs are infinitely smarter.  The problem is that we anthropomorphize their behavior.  So, we imagine our dogs to be warm, happy, affectionate, sloppy, loyal, protective, fun and everything else we’d like our best friend to be.  Our cats, meanwhile, need lots of alone time; she likes her boundaries well-maintained, so she’s always searching for that peace that will allow her exquisite intellect to operate smoothly….except when she needs to scratch a hard to get-to area, or when she’s hungry, which is when she’ll rub your calf with the rear side of her body…  Dogs move around the house and are accommodating; cats take forever to judge a spot adequate to sit in, as she very well should do, since she’s going to be sitting in that exact spot for ages.

When you come home from your fourth deployment in Afghanistan or Iraq in that many years, your dog will come howling and bounding at you, knocking down your toddlers and probably your wife, to hug and lick and play with you and show, in every way possible, that he misses you.  The house’s cat will elegantly pause while it’s coming down the stirs, turn to look at what all the fuss is about through the rails, and then continue to where she was going — probably where there’s some food left out.  When the dog sees you pull up the driveway, he’ll leap off the couch and run out to the car door and start scratching it.  The cat will just stare, with a stare as fixed out the window at the driveway with the car in it as it was before the appearance of your car.

All these ways we think of dogs as loving and relatable and cats as distant, elegant and self-composed have nothing to do with the very human meanings and prejudices we attach to those adjectives.  It’s all plain biology.  Cats are dumb.  Dogs are smarter.

A dog’s brain is much larger and produces a much broader set of emotions/ideas and the mechanical ability to express them outwardly than a cat’s.  But we never think of that.  We ascribe human qualities to what are the cat’s essential stupidity: elegant, serene, poised, a girl of few words.  But she’s not any of those things.  All those things come from her small brain’s lessened capacity for interaction with the environment and with other creatures. 

Sorry.  Your cat’s not sitting in the same place you last saw her hours before because she’s hit an especially high and open nirvana state while cleaning her chakras there and the chi is right or something.  She’s just sitting there because her brain is too small to come up with any alternatives right now.

Addendum: Remember this connection between inability to relate and brain-size; it’s a useful way to judge people too.


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