Zoölogists seem to consider the cerebration of cats and dogs about 50-50—but my respect always goes to the cool, sure, impersonal, delicately poised feline who minds his business and never slobbers.
We shall see that at which dogs howl in the dark, and that at which cats prick up their ears after midnight.
We call ourselves a dog’s “master” — but who ever dared call himself the “master” of a cat? We own a dog — he is with us as a slave and inferior because we wish him to be. But we entertain a cat — he adorns our hearth as a guest, fellow-lodger, and equal because he wishes to be there.
Throw a stick, and the servile dog wheezes and pants and stumbles to bring it to you. Do the same before a cat, and he will eye you with coolly polite and somewhat bored amusement.
The meeting in the open of two dogs, strangers to each other, is one of the most painful, thrilling, and pregnant of all conceivabale encounters; it is surrounded by an atmosphere of the last canniness, presided over by a constraint for which I have no preciser name; they simply cannot pass each other, their mutual embarrassment is frightful to behold.
The cat is classic whilst the dog is Gothic — nowhere in the animal world can we discover such really Hellenic perfection of form, with anatomy adapted to function, as in the felidae.
It is no compliment to be the stupidly idolised master of a dog whose instinct it is to idolise, but it is a very distinct tribute to be chosen as the friend and confidant of a philosophic cat who is wholly his own master and could easily choose another companion if he found such a one more agreeable and interesting.
I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton. Let each man hope and believe what he can.