Tag: cats vs dogs

Would Your Cat Wait Outside The Hospital For You?

A story about an extraordinarily loyal dog has touched the hearts of animal lovers all over the world, and probably has many of us thinking: If I had a medical emergency, would my pet chase an ambulance to the hospital and wait there for days until I emerged?

That’s what Boncuk the loyal dog did after her owner, Cemal Senturk, suffered a brain embolism and was taken to a hospital in the northern Turkish city of Trabzon on Jan. 14.

Boncuk waited patiently for her best friend until Aynur Egeli, Senturk’s daughter, took the loving pup home the first night.

The next morning Boncuk was gone, and Egeli knew exactly where she was going.

“She comes every day around 9 a.m. and waits until nightfall,” Muhammet Akdeniz, a security guard at the hospital, told local media. “When the door opens she pokes her head inside,” Akseniz said, but the polite pooch “doesn’t go in.”

Boncuk
Boncuk poked her head inside but knew she wasn’t allowed inside the hospital.

Boncuk was reunited with Senturk on Wednesday when an orderly wheeled the man out to the hospital entrance. Senturk was later discharged.

In photos and a short video of the reunion, Boncuk is the image of happiness and relief: Her tail wags uncontrollably and she can’t contain her enthusiasm as she literally jumps for joy.

“She’s very used to me,” Senturk said. “And I miss her, too, constantly.”

Boncuk’s story reminds us of Hachiko, the Japanese Akita dog who was so devoted to his owner, Hidesaburō Ueno, that he’d run to Shibuya station every day to greet Ueno as he stepped off the subway. Ueno was in mid-lecture in front of a class of students when he suffered a brain hemorrhage and died on the spot.

Hachiko returned to Shibuya every day at the same time for the next 10 years, waiting for his beloved human.

It’s a story of animal devotion that resonates so strongly with people that Hachiko was memorialized with a statue just feet from the spot where he stood every day, waiting for Ueno.

turkishdog
Boncuk waits for her owner in front of the hospital.

Yes, this wonderful story begs the question: Would my pet do the same for me?

Putting aside the problem of actually getting to the hospital — which would be almost impossible given the distance, traffic and the fact that he’s an indoor cat — if Bud were allowed to stay in a hospital room with me, I believe wholeheartedly that he would remain by my side.

Like other pets who have strong bonds with their people, he knows when I’m not feeling well, and when I was sidelined with Bell’s palsy and a debilitating headache a few years ago, he never left my side.

That is not to say he wouldn’t be his usual incorrigible self. You know that little button that calls the nurse? He would abuse the hell out of it if he knew its function, and he’d probably think the nurses were there to serve him, bring him snacks and fluff his pillow.

Buddy Buddy
“Nurse! In here! My pillow needs fluffing! Also, could you be a doll and fetch me some Temptations?”

The truth is that pets are not allowed in the vast majority of hospitals. Writing in PetLife, Alicia Beyer notes pets “not only brighten patients’ spirits, but hospitals are reporting that the pet visits can have dramatic effects on patient’s health, recovery and emotional well-being.”

In Canada, there’s an organization called Zachary’s Paws, which was started by Donna Jenkins in honor of her 25-year-old nephew.

“While Zachary was in the hospital for many weeks and very sick after having a stem cell transplant,  he begged to see his dog, Chase,” Jenkins told Bored Panda. “We sneaked Chase into ICU to see him and the effect it had on Zachary was remarkable. When Zachary realized he was not going to survive his cancer, he made me promise to start the organization.

But as PetMD notes, there are good reasons why most hospitals don’t allow pets, including problems pets can pose to patients with compromised immune systems and allergies. Hospitals that do allow pet visits have strict standards, and the animals must be thoroughly cleaned by staff before they’re allowed in.

Alas, even as more hospitals allow pet visitation or therapy animals, many exclude cats, and a 2015 report by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America says cats “should be excluded.” The report claims cats can’t be trained as well as dogs, the risk of bites and scratches is higher, and more patients may be allergic to cats.

A Comedian Explains Why Cats Are Better Than Dogs

Zoltan Kaszas starts off his stand-up routine by declaring he’s a cat person.

“I’m not anti-dog, you know?” he says, reassuring the dog-lovers in the audience. “Every time I tell someone I’m a cat person they’re like ‘What do you mean, you don’t like dogs?’ No, I like other people’s dogs!”

“I like dogs, but I like them over there. And I’ll go over and play with them, but then afterward, go back over there,” he says, gesturing to an imaginary pooch and drawing laughs from the audience.

“I don’t need that kind of energy in my house, you know what I mean? That annoying dog best friend, in-your-face-all-the-time kind of energy? … All the time? Ugh! No thank you.”

“That’s why I like cats. Cats are like ‘Hey, what are you up to? Oh never mind, I just remembered I don’t care. I’ll be in the kitchen, see ya later.’ I don’t need a best friend, I just need an apathetic roommate who wants to hang out sometimes!”

Of course, what Zoltan really means is cats are better for people like him. Or, since you’re reading this blog, people like us.

He’s right: Dogs and cats bring a distinct kind of energy to a home, and studies show reliable differences in so-called dog people and cat people. Among them: Cat owners are comparatively more introverted and cerebral, while dog owners enjoy less intellectually challenging activities like sniffing glue and eating paste. Sorry, couldn’t help myself!

Most of Zoltan’s set revolves around cats, their amusing antics, and the diet struggles of his rescue cat, Jessica.

There’s also a hilarious anecdote about his wife’s new hobby — reading stories about special needs animals on the internet and crying.

Considering how baffling and hilarious cats can be, it’s surprising there aren’t more comedy sets like this. Zoltan proves that cats can be just as funny as any other topic.

The internet’s done its part, launching the San Diego-based comic into the viral strata, and now Zoltan is known as the Cat Guy of Comedy. One thing’s for sure: Cat people like to talk about their animals.

“I get messages all the time from crazy cat people across the country who send me pictures of their cats,” he told an interviewer. “I respond to all of them. ‘Gee, she’s fuzzy.’ I’m running out of things to say to people’s cats, but it’s a good problem to have.”

No, A Study Did Not Conclude Dogs Are Smarter Than Cats

“Study finds dogs are more than twice as smart as cats,” the clickbait headline reads:

A study gives dog owners solid scientific evidence that dogs really are smarter than cats.

A study led by Vanderbilt University counted for the first time the number of neurons in the cerebral cortex of the brains of cats and dogs and found that dogs have more than twice as many neurons as cats.

The research found that dogs have about 530 million cortical neurons while cats have about 250 million. These neurons are the brain cells associated with thinking, planning and complex behavior, which are all considered hallmarks of intelligence.
That’s from a story published Aug. 30 on Local12.com, the website of a Cincinatti-area news station.
So what’s wrong with the story?
  • It’s dishonest: The study was conducted in 2017, but the Local12 story presents it as news in August of 2019.
  • It quotes the study’s lead author, giving the impression a reporter from Local12 spoke to her. That did not happen. The quotes were copied and pasted from the press release that originally announced the study two years ago.
  • It misinterprets the study’s results: Neither neuron count nor brain size — relative or absolute — are reliable indicators of intelligence.
This is what passes for news in 2019: Old, recycled content presented as new information, slapped together by a web producer who didn’t bother to read more than the study’s abstract.
It’s all about traffic and designing pieces of content ready-made for Facebook feeds.
But what about the central claim, that the number of neurons in an animal’s brain correlates to intelligence?
If that were true, we’d be living on a planet dominated not by humans, but by elephants: Earth’s largest terrestrial animal has some 260 billion neurons compared to an average of 100 billion for humans.
Elephants
“Hear that, son? We have more neurons than humans!”
Research suggests the number of neurons in the cerebral cortex, as opposed to the entire brain, may be a better indicator of intelligence. Indeed, that’s what the study focuses on. The cerebral cortex is associated with higher cognitive functions. As you’d expect, humans have unusually high neuron counts in that region of the brain.
But by that measurement, humans aren’t at the top either.
If neuron density in the cerebral cortex was the primary indicator of intelligence, the long-finned pilot whale would reign supreme, and other types of whales and dolphins would rival humans.
Not only do pilot whales have twice as many cortical neurons as humans, their brains have much more surface area, which scientists once believed corresponded to intelligence.
Pilot Whales
“Actually we are the Earth’s smartest creatures according to cortical neuron count. Suck it!”
So if we’re keeping score, intelligence is not determined by:
  • The number of neurons in the brain
  • The number of neurons in the cerebral cortex
  • Brain size
  • Brain size relative to body mass
  • Brain surface area
  • Brain “folds”
At one time or another, each of those things was thought of as the way to measure smarts. So if none of those things are true markers of intelligence, what is?
That’s the million-dollar question. We don’t have an answer, which is why scientists conduct this kind of research in the first place.
Contrary to what the article claims, cortical neuron count does not provide “solid scientific evidence that dogs really are smarter than cats.”
But that doesn’t make for a clickable, shareable headline, does it?
In truth, we can’t even define what “more intelligent” really means because each species sees the world differently, and has different priorities to enable it to survive and thrive.
When we measure intelligence, we measure it on a human scale, according to how we humans see the world. That’s hardly an impartial way of evaluating the intelligence of animals with much different needs and ways of seeing the world, and it doesn’t yield many useful insights.
Keeping that in mind is particularly important when it comes to studying cats, who have their own agendas and priorities. Dogs are eager to please and obedient. Cats only listen when it suits them.
That doesn’t mean one is smarter than the other, it simply means they’re different