09/05/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

I, the Kitty

Ha. Looks like she isn't around. Good. If she found out I could do this, I'd have to kill her, which would put a crimp in my dinner plans.

So anyway, I wanted to talk about this scientific study I heard about a little while ago. She was watching the box, and I was sitting on her lap having combined laptime-naptime,. ("Time is money," as they like to say. I don't know exactly what "money" is, but from the reverent tone they say it in, I guess it must be some kind of superpremium food or a nice, fresh catnip mouse.) Then I heard the box say "cats," so of course I had to pay attention. I swiveled an ear around and opened one eye a slit.

Seems there's this lady scientist in a white coat, in England, whatever that is, who had done a "study," as they say, about who was smarter, cats or dogs. It makes you wonder about their whole species, I must say -- they have to study this?

Of course, they believe that they are the smartest of all. Because only they have language, they like to say. Well, first of all, if language is the relationship between forms, meanings, and functions, they don't have it. Like, when you see them talk, A goes blah-blah, and B goes yadda-yadda, and so on and on. But do they ever do anything? Of course not! So you have to figure, their utterances don't have meaning. So that's not language.

On the other paw: let's say I am out patrolling the perimeter, and I run into the Dangerous Other Guy (DOG), nosing into my personal turf. Well, I say something, and he says something, and so on, but then something happens. You betcha. So that's language. Case closed.

And science is the activity they're most smug about -- the proof, I gather, that humans are logical and rational, the epitome of smart. So when something is supposed to be "science," it ought to make sense and its arguments should be water-tight.

But here's this lady in white saying she has shown that dogs are smarter than cats. How did she discover that? Well, seems she attached a goodie to the end of a string, and put the string inside something, so you had to manipulate the string to get the goodie. The dog did; the cat didn't. Q, she says, ED.

Oh yeah? I think to myself. What happened next? Well, obviously once the test is over, the scientist didn't want to leave the goodie on the floor -- could attract vermin, you know. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, but they don't like it.) What to do with the leftover goodie? Why, remove the string and give it to the cat. Who has been weaving around underfoot, looking hopeful.

So: the dog had to work to get the goodie. (And the human had to work to get the experiment together.) But the kitty? Just sits there, does the look -- and gets the goodie for free!

Who's smarter? The one who has to futz with the string, or the one who gets someone else to do it for them? Obviously. So much for science. There is a logical error in the reasoning the size of the Dangerous Other Guy.

Hey...wait a minute. If they realize we're so smart, they'll stop waiting on us. Uh-oh. The good deal is predicated on the assumption that we are too dumb to do anything for ourselves.

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