Column: The best thing about a cat is … versus the best thing about a dog

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 6, 2005

By Debbie Irmen, Tribune managing editor

Nowhere has the split between dog and cat lovers been more evident than at the Tribune office.

An informal survey around the office indicated a 8 to 6 preference for dogs, with three people admitting they liked both pets equally.

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Publisher Scott Schmeltzer, a dog fan, has long lamented the lack of canine coverage in the Pet of the Week feature, published in the Tribune each week.

He actually congratulated the newsroom for its recent showcase of a trio of dogs.

Week after week, as cats are featured, I have to reiterate we have no conspiracy plot against publishing dogs on Tribune news pages, but I must admit we consider running the canines inside the paper on the occasions they are the featured pet.

The friendly argument on the advantages of a dog versus a cat brought us to this column. Scott lives with Molly, a 3-year-old chocolate lab; and I have four cats: Frazier, Zoie, Spencer and Botat (don’t ask about the latter’s name; my son named him. I have no clue where he came up with it.)

It should be plain from the content of the point or counterpoint who is making the claim for their favorite pet:

Point: The deal with dogs is they can learn Latin faster than cats can learn the word no.

Counterpoint: Cats know the word &8220;no.&8221; When I tell my cat to get off the counter Š he backtalks, but he jumps off the counter. As to Latin, why would you want your pet, or any pet for that matter, to speak a different language? Cats are simply above such silliness.

Counter counterpoint: First, wouldn’t it be cool if your dog could speak Latin? And secondly, why is your cat on the counter?

Point: With a cat you won’t walk through your yard or the park stepping on cat poop.

Counterpoint: That just shows a dog’s intelligence: Name another animal that has his people picking up after him.

Point: Dogs can protect you and be your eyes if you are blind and sniff out drugs. You don’t see many seeing-eye cats.

Counterpoint: Cats also won’t sniff private areas on a person’s anatomy. Nor do they lick your face after licking their own private areas.

Countercounter point: When you give a cat a bath, does the fur stick to your tongue?

Point: You can make plans for the weekend and leave the cat to fend for himself.

Counter point: With a dog you don’t want to leave them for the weekend &045; they are part of the family.

Point: If you have a dog, you don’t become the crazy cat woman with 895 cats roaminhg around. You never hear about the crazy dog woman.

Counterpoint: Cats don’t typically attack people and have to be destroyed.

Point: Cats take up less room on the bed.

Counterpoint: If you have a dog on the seat next to you, you can use the car pool lane.

Point: Dogs eat the food out of a baby’s hand.

Counterpoint: You can’t train a cat to stay off the counter.

Point: Eight cats can’t pull a sled, so how much fun can they be in the winter?

Counterpoint: Eight cats are far smarter than one dog: why would they want to pull a sled? As for what good are they in the winter, they make nice neck cozies.

Point: Cats are far less expensive than dogs on a monthly basis.

Counterpoint: Dogs love their people more than they love themselves.

Point: Cats will never pee on your shoe in their excitement to see you.

Counterpoint: Exactly my point: what else would get so excited they’d pee on your shoe? Not even my wife gets that excited when she see me.

Point: I don’t like a cat’s Freddie Krueger-claws that can rip you to shreds.

Counterpoint: Dogs have a killer tail. I’ve never seen a cat’s tail sweep a table clear of its knick-knacks, or whack a kid to the floor.

Point: What about wet, stinky dog fur? Cats keep themselves clean.

Counterpoint: If you threw a cat in the lake, it would stink too.

Point: Why do cats have nine lives?

Counterpoint: So they can haunt dog-people over and over.

Point: Dogs are indiscrimate in their affection. Cats choose to bestow their affection. Dogs are just too happy.

Counterpoint: I want my love unconditional. I don’t want to have to hunt my affection down.

While I’m not sure either Scott or I made a solid case for our favorite pet, we did agree on this

Point: Perhaps the best thing about cats and dogs is they don’t talk, you don’t have to explain anything to them and they don’t ask any questions.