I’m surrounded by dog lovers—friends, family, neighbors, strangers at Home Depot and Lowe’s Home Improvement, where if you don’t have a dog, there is apparently a kiosk where you can get a loaner. How else can you explain the sheer volume of pooches padding past the plywood?
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Dogs are just fine. With the exception of the two howlers living close by that have me typing in synch with their maniacally spaced barks hour after hour. Those two I could do without. On one particularly noisy afternoon, I left my laptop long enough to step across the street, post up in front of their fence and bark back at them. This went on for a good five minutes so, yeah, that’s not crazy.
Truth is, I only stopped barking at them because it suddenly dawned on me everybody videos everything these days and I didn’t want to end up on NextDoor or worse. (Although is there really anything worse than NextDoor with its procession of cranks and whiners? This morning someone lost their poo because Arby’s ran out of roast beef. Is this really a community concern? Besides, everybody knows the horsey sauce is the best part. Just smear that stuff on a bun and I’ll barely notice the difference.)
But I digress.
Loyal readers know I’m a cat person. Before you mutter, “Boy howdy, that explains a LOT” let me just say cats aren’t merely aloof creatures only concerned with themselves and their own needs. No, no. They are aloof creatures only concerned with themselves and their own needs, who are hungry.
I need some Ozempic for Joey and Chandler, my twin tuxedo cats, but I’m too lazy to give them the injections and they lack the dexterity to do it themselves. Opposable thumbs are highly underrated. Also, I feel like Ozempic should only be used by the people who truly deserve it: nondiabetic B-list celebrities in need of a career reboot.
Sometimes, to us cat lovers, it seems all the good news is about dogs. They clearly have a better handle on PR. So last week’s big announcement was no surprise: Researchers in Japan reported elderly people who own dogs have a 40 percent lower risk of developing dementia compared to non-dog owners. The findings also confirmed owning cats has virtually no effect at all on the risk of developing dementia.
The study included approximately 11,000 participants between the ages of 65 and 84 and took place from 2016-2020. Researcher Yu Taniguchi concluded “Dog care helps people maintain daily exercise habits and opportunities for social participation which in turn leads to a lower risk of developing dementia.”
Oh, shut up Yu Taniguchi.
I’m sorry. That was uncalled for. It’s just that why can’t cats catch a break? It’s always the dog saving drowning toddlers, etc. Remember the story about how dogs could detect cancer simply by smelling their human? Creepy, sure, but also who knows how many lives were saved by early detection?
During the same time, cats everywhere yawned, stretched, casually tore a lizard’s head off its body and walked away.
In defense of cats, you could argue they are here to teach us how to deal with difficult people. Dogs are easy, reliable people-pleasers for the most part. (Not the ones across the street, to be clear, but the rest of them.) It’s easy to love and accept a dog because that’s what they give in return.
Cats, on the other hand, challenge us to love the–if not unlovable exactly–difficult, hateful, obnoxious, and most vexing among us. I refer, of course, to Vivek Ramaswamy.
My cats may not reduce my chance of getting dementia, but they will teach the value of eternal vigilance. Because the rest of that lizard is somewhere in here and I can’t sleep until we find it.