Sunday, August 26, 2007
See that potato sack? See that river?
Oh Macavity? Hey you! Stupid, over here!--I'm going to write something now that will get me in a world of trouble. People are really going to yell at me because I am about to attack one of their most cherished beliefs. Boy, I'm in for it now.
Cats are about a smart as door knobs. They are genuinely stupid animals.
Cats are so stupid that cat lovers (who are truly weird) can anthropomorphise all kinds of attributes into their cats and feel sure they are seeing truth. T. S. Eliot wrote Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (used by Andrew Lloyd Weber for his show Cats) posited that the reason you get no reaction when you call a cat by its name is that you don't really know its name. It is a mystery that cats keep to themselves. In fact, they don't respond to their names because they are much too dumb. Dogs get it almost instantly, and if a dog changes owner (say through a dog pound) and acquires a new name, it learns that almost instantly and without regret. Whatever. So now I'm Fido. Cats have no sense of humor, no sense of shame, no loyalty. They understand almost no human language. They are stupid animals. There, I said it.
What triggered this treacherous scree was a study from the University of Alberta, Canada, on what cats remember and how, published in Current Biology. They tested the cats by tripping them up while they had to go over hurdles. Cats remember things physically, not visually, it turns out. They will remember bumping into something and avoid it in the future but won't remember it is there if they just see it. And they only remembered the obstacle for 10 minutes. The researchers said they found the same thing with dogs and horses, but that doesn't harm my thesis that dogs are a lot smarter than cats. (Editors note: I've had four cats. I think the only thing cats remember is who fed them last.)
Remember the song, "Memory," from Cats? Forget it.
While we're on the subject, researchers on the Big Island of Hawaii report that the slopes of Mauna Kea are infested with thousands of feral cats, posing a threat to the wildlife, particularly birds, on the mountain and could become a threat to humans. The cats have been there for years, probably descendants of house cats gone free. They are a potential threat to humans not because they are going to jump up and bite your neck, but because they carry diseases, including toxoplasmosis. They also have feline versions of HIV and leukemia. They wander between 6,500 and 9,000 feet, and eat birds they can find, including some that are endangered. If they come down from that height and mix with domestic cats, the diseases could spread to people. Any attempt to hunt down the little buggers would, of course, trigger a violent reaction from cat people.
[Picture above, of course, is Bill the Cat from Bloom County. I miss him.]