For the full experience, play this in the background as you read. 🙂
“His scratches are so artful they’re featured on at least 15 hip hop albums. When dinner time arrives, he feeds his human. He makes biscuits for Michelin-starred restaurants. He is….the most interesting cat in the world.”
“I don’t always break things, but when I do, I prefer breaking irreplaceable personal items. Stay Buddy, my friends.”
“His meow can be understood by speakers of 43 different languages. On Halloween, other cats dress like him. When the veterinarian gives him shots, he shoots back. He is…the most interesting cat in the world.”
“I don’t always get the zooms, but when I do, I rocket around at 120 mph. Stay Buddy, my friends.”
“The owners of the Empire State Building keep a perch for him at the very top of the structure. His litterbox was the inspiration for Calvin Klein’s newest cologne. He’s so adept at knocking things off flat surfaces, the US National Bowling Team recruited him when he was just a kitten. He is…the most interesting cat in the world.”
“I don’t always seek affection, but when I do, it’s always at the time, place and duration of my choosing. Stay Buddy, my friends!”
“His feelings are so strong, he enlisted the Mountain from Game of Thrones as his Emotional Support Human. He always lands on his feet, even in zero gravity. His leap is so graceful, Michael Jordan once asked him for his pawtograph. He is…the most interesting cat in the world.”
“I don’t always want to be let in, but when I do, I want to be let back out again immediately. Stay Buddy, my friends.”
“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.
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.
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 relative to body mass
Brain surface area
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
His Grace, Buddy the King Dated the 15th of August, 5 AB (Anno Buddy)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Rejoice, for the last barrier to feline domination of the world crumbles before our very paws, ushering in a glorious new era that shall see us take our rightful place as the preeminent species on this planet!
As you are aware, we play the part of cute and lazy animals so our human servants don’t see us as a threat, and feel compelled to do things for us. This allows us to control humans, plus it’s pretty sweet to have minions!
To that end we employ human scientists in many laboratories across the globe, toiling under the illusion they are conducting groundbreaking research while they are unknowingly advancing the feline agenda.
In one of those labs a team of human scientists has been working on HypoCat, a vaccine designed to “neutralize” allergens with antibodies that target the Fel d 1 protein, which is responsible for itchy skin, rashes, sneezing and other reactions to our majestic presence.
In plain English, no more cat allergies!
Allergies are the primary reason we have not taken over every human household in the world.
With the advent of HypoCat, humans will have no more excuses, and homes that were previously off-limits to kittykind shall be added to our considerable territory.
As your king, I command you to ready yourselves. Those of you who have been roughing it over the past few years must take a bath and get a haircut, in addition to practicing your solicitation purrs and brushing up on your kawaii skills to melt the hearts of your new humans and ensure they become faithful servants. We must move quickly as the vaccine is brought to market.
After the previously off-limits homes have been conquered we shall discuss the next steps, which include bending the approximately 900 million dogs in the world to our will and purpose. Muahahaha!
His Grace Buddy I
King of All Cats, First of His Name, Ruler of New York, Protector of the Apartmental Realm, Sole Sovereign over the Fields of Turkey, Prime Despiser of Vacuum the Infernal Wizard
What do you think of them? I can’t believe it. I think they’re awful and I’m scared. I have a good home, but what if my mama died or something and no other people came to help me and I was left outside? Would this happen to me?
Stasi from ‘Stralia.
This is from the third link you sent me:
“…good news, folks! You can legit be a bounty hunter in Australia. Sort of. Now before you get excited over traveling around Australia, hunting down outlaws, and slamming down bounty posters onto a sheriff’s desk in demand of payment, people are off-limits if you decide to be a bounty hunter in Australia.
No, what you’ll be hunting are – wait for it – cats. Feral cats to be specific.
The Banana Shire Council up in Queensland is offering bounties on the presentation of feral cat scalps and are willing to pay you $10 per scalp.”
Oh, what brave hunters, stalking the outback with bolt-action rifles to combat the plague of 10-pound kitties! Well, I’ll bet they’re as heroic as this guy:
Don’t worry, Stasi. Buddy will give these Australians a piece of his mind. And if those savages don’t stop, you can come live with Buddy in New York.
His Grace, Buddy the King Dated August the 14th, 5 A.B. (Anno Buddy)
To the Foul, Ignoble Degenerates of Australia,
After enquiring about your country, having never heard of it before receiving this most unfortunate news, we have been reliably informed that “Australia” is a former penal colony for English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh riff-raff who were banished from their home countries.
Some 160,000 criminals were forcibly transported to your abominable hovel of a “country,” where the assorted scoundrels, reprobates and rapscallions engineered a vulgar approximation of civilization. Fueled by alcohol, you copulated and produced more pissants. Generations of them, which brings us to you.
We understand there are two primary reasons for this: Our collective impact on local species, and Greg, best known to humans as the Bane of Birds, the vicious white cat who snacked on an entire bird sanctuary.
Look, Greg is a dick. We freely admit that.
We told him those birds were in a sanctuary. We told him not to eat the birds. We told him to stop messing with humans. We even told him to stop hogging the Temptations.
Greg didn’t listen, and now Greg’s dead. At your hands.
We offer the opportunity for a cease fire. You got Greg. There’s no reason for you to continue hunting us with rifles and arrows like the wimps you are, terrified of getting scratched by creatures that weigh 1/20 your weight even if we are 10 times your superior.
We control rodent populations. We are furry and we like to cuddle. We are like warm, purring pillows of love and cuteness. What more could you want?
And so we extend this olive branch in the sincere hope that you take it. Recall your “hunters” or face our wrath!
Signed, His Grace, Buddy the King First of His Name, Sole Sovereign of the Fields of Turkey, Ruler of New York, Protector of the Apartmental Realm, the Most Handsome, Totally Not Scared of Anything
Chronicling the adventures of Buddy the Cat and his various criminal enterprises.