Recently, while perusing the JagWire, I found myself reading a disturbing article. The article titled “In appreciation of canine companions,” erroneously claimed that dogs are the best pets known to man. As a proud cat owner and enthusiast, I’m here to disagree.
According to the Smithsonian, cats have lived with humans for around 12,000 years. When humans first started farming, storing food and creating civilizations, wild cats became useful as pest control. Thus, the symbiotic relationship between felines and humans first appeared: cats ate the pests and the humans were left with undamaged crops.
As time went on, many civilizations began to see how beneficial and extraordinary these domestic felines were. Ancient Egyptian, Roman, Greek, Indian, Persians and Chinese cultures all had a special history with cats. Most of these populations revered cats, viewing them as sacred, even divine, animals. The Egyptians loved their cats so much that they would shave off their own eyebrows in mourning if one of their pets died.
Historical evidence aside, cats have long been important in human households, not just because they are useful, but because they are cuddly, friendly and fiercely independent. As any cat owner will tell you, cats can be aloof, condescending and autonomous; it’s true. But once you gain a cat’s trust, they are loyal to you for life. They’ll settle down on your lap, rid your house of mice or provide a source of silent support when needed.
Many people will claim to hate cats just because they are more partial to dogs. I’m not saying that dogs are evil, or any worse than cats. I simply believe that cats are superior pets. No cat will drool on you or clamor for your attention. No cat will wake you up in the wee hours of the morning because they need a walk. No cat will bark whenever a stranger comes to the door. While some will meow or beg for food, a well-fed and pampered cat can be a delightful companion. Cats are wonderful, individualistic, anthropomorphic, low-maintenance pets – what more could a human ask for?
Unsurprisingly, America agrees. According to the Smithsonian, cats are the most popular house pet in the U.S., with over 90 million felines in American homes. In our culture as well, cats have become beloved icons, with representative figures such as Puss-in-boots, Garfield, Grumpy Cat, Hobbes from Calvin and Hobbes and Tom from Tom and Jerry.
Cats can also be inspiring, as well as comforting, pets. According to Buzzfeed, Nikola Tesla, the original inventor of the light bulb, started to study electricity after his cat gave him a static shock. Cats have superhuman powers, too: they can run three miles per hour faster than Usain Bolt, and they can make over 100 vocal sounds, which is pretty cool.
Personally, I love my cat. Just the other day, while I was sitting on my couch and avoiding my homework, he climbed up into my lap and went to sleep. His comforting warmth gave me a feeling akin to a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter day. In my opinion, nothing compares to the face of an adorable kitten, especially when they crawl up to you, looking to be scratched. I wouldn’t trade my furry feline friends for any amount of dogs in the entire world – and that’s that.
Illustration by Ryx Zan