I don’t like to be controversial, but here goes.

I think we, as a world, need to bring up the tough topics, like which is better: cats or dogs. Allow me to lead you through an unbiased discussion. I’m not going to make any final judgment calls here about ultimately which is better, because it’s not my place. And we all know how overly-sensitive cat people can be.

Full disclosure: During my life, I have owned 3 dogs and 0 cats. I feel that makes me impartial because I won’t have any of the negative associations that come from owning a cat.

So, let’s look at the evidence in different aspects of both dogs and that other animal.

Behavior. A lot of people tell me, “My cat is great! He’s just like a dog! He comes when I call him, loves to snuggle, and even does tricks!” In other words, the best thing about your animal is that it imitates another animal?

When’s the last time you heard this conversation go the other way? “My dog is great! I can’t even find her in my house half the time, she shreds my furniture and my curtains, and gives me looks to let me know how much she wishes she could feed herself so I wouldn’t be needed in her life.”

For that matter, when’s the last time you ever heard of an animal being praised for behaving like a completely different animal that wasn’t a dog? “Oh, the chicken we have is great! She’s just like a rhinoceros. She’s always charging around, knocking things over, and…engaging in other well-known typical rhino behaviors.” (Well, clearly I should have given more thought to what animals I picked for my analogy, but it still stands.)

But the goodness of an animal is often judged against what we consider to be the ultimate animal: dog.

Love. Do we even have to discuss this one? Have you ever seen a video of a cat reacting to their owner returning from deployment? You never will. Dogs love you. Cats hate you, except when you’re feeding them, during which they manage to tolerate you. That and static electricity are as much warmth as you are ever going to get from a cat.

Hygiene. It is true that cats seem to be more concerned with general cleanliness than dogs. Sure, both have been known to vomit in your bed. But cats, while ignoring your health, are deeply concerned with their own personal hygiene. Dogs haven’t given thought to anybody’s hygiene. It’s not because dogs don’t want to be clean. My dog and I just happen to disagree about what an appropriate way for her to smell is. I periodically have that same disagreement with people I sit next to on the bus. That doesn’t make me better than them. It just makes me better at bathing and social situations and…you know, that was another bad analogy.

Dead things. It is a well-known fact that cats will bring you dead things. That isn’t okay. My dog has never ever, ever brought me a dead thing. I suspect it is because anything dead she finds, she eats. That is also not okay. Sometimes she comes running into the house, more excited than normal (which is A LOT of excitement), and she leaps into my lap and begins adamantly licking my face. I notice her breath smells worse than usual (which is A LOT of smell) and I wonder what she has gotten into. Given her penchant for eating things (Owning a dog, I have had to repeat things I never dreamed of saying even once, like “Would you stop licking the bathtub?!”), I’m sure her breath smells because of something she’s eaten outside. Maybe it would be slightly better if I thought she caught something like a squirrel, which she killed and ate it, as opposed to finding something already diseased and decaying. But I know this is not the case. Her lineage is one in which the skilled hunters were passed over by possible mates in favor of sheer adorability.

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If looks could kill, my dog still wouldn’t have a chance at killing anything. Other than chew toys.

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Poor…um…moose? never stood a chance.

To recap, in the category of dead things, cats may in fact take a slight lead over dogs. But ONLY because the dead things cats get involved with are slightly newlier dead.

Tune in next time for the thrilling conclusion!  You won’t believe who wins!

Unless you’re a dog person.

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