Confession: I used to be scared of cats. Very, very afraid. Despite having now lived in close proximity with three of them, they still put me a little on edge. Why? Because they come across as very... powerful. In a disconcerting way. And it's completely unlike my dumb ol' dog, Groucho, who is the least scary thing ever and will do literally anything for a piece of cheese. Turns out, my suspicions were correct, because according to a new study published in PNAS, cats are in fact better at life than dogs. (Sorry, dog lovers. It's science. Ever heard of it?)
So here's the backstory: The arrival of felids (aka prehistoric cats) to North America from Asia is directly related to the extinction of more than 40 ancient species of dog, due primarily to limited resources. Yep, you read that right. Cats and dogs competed for meals and cats won. Like, really won.
During the study, an international group of scientists analyzed more than 2,000 fossils before concluding that competition for food resources had a significant impact on the evolution of dogs, even more than climate change has. During their peak, over 30 different dog family species inhabited North America. Now there are only nine. In other words, they were straight up out-skilled by cats.
I mean, sure, there's a whole group of huntin' dawg breeds out there now — but that's only because they are the cream of the crop, the top of the genetic line, descended from foxes and wolves and stuff. Also, every cat I've ever had the displeasure of knowing could and would kill mice. Not every dog is a hunter, remember. Case in point: Pugs still exist. So does this thing:
To be honest, this news really hurts my soul, because I love dogs very much and a lot of my skepticism of cats comes from a place of morbid fascination. Like, cats are super weird. I don't want to be on their team. And yet, science has spoken: They're better at existing, which is pretty important.
Then again, I've always been a sucker for the underdog. Heh. See what I did there? (Sorry I'm the worst).
Images: Fotolia; Giphy (2)