Cat versus dog—an old debate started by people incapable of nuance. Regrettably, we all have had to choose a side, except for the people who like birds, hamsters, or fish. And sure, there’s that strange kid in school who had a rat but we don’t talk about him. C’mon rats? Well, okay, maybe if you’re that prisoner in the Green Mile, but he didn’t have too many other options. Oh, and it was a mouse—not a rat. Mice are cute, despite the fact that they’re essentially very small rats.
We never hear about the potential of a cat-dog, however—especially in an age where genetic engineering makes anything possible, even things we really don’t want like 3-D movies or the Apple watch. We should dream big here people! A cat-dog could be the answer to all of our problems; it could restructure the world of human thought and prove compromise can please both sides.
The science of a cat-dog is fuzzy because it hasn’t been discovered yet, and to explain it to you, we’d have to delve into Einstein’s theory of relativity, a bit of quantum theory, and why bits of plastic bag are impossible to get off your hand. But all you really need to know is one end is a dopey-faced golden retriever, the other a downy calico. Sounds good right? It will be a good idea until whoever decided to make the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean takes over the project and completely ruins everything. Oh right. Disney.
Alas, the feverish, white-coated Disney goons will somehow create a creature that is the worst of both animals, something that will be both dumb and mean, that will chase its tail, catch and maul it, and then bring it to you as a present without actually knowing what it did. The biggest problem, and what we’ll all wonder about, is where it will, you know, crap. It’s unfortunate that none of the Disney personnel will think of that either (probably because they’re film producers and animated cartoons, not genetic engineers), and the cat-dog will die an awful, awful death three days after creation.
Of course, only the idiots will get the first version. Microsoft will pick up the brand from Disney, and cat-dog 2.0 will be completely rebuilt, fixing a couple of the worst buggy problems of the first cat-dog. The biggest change of the cat-dog will be to combine the features of a cat with a dog into one cohesive animal.
Unfortunately, they will also add a whole host of new problems and make you update your cat-dog with thousands of unwanted features including a fifth paw and a can opener attachment in the cat-dog’s tail, something no one wanted—especially Gertrude.
Then of course Apple will get in the mix, completely redefining what a cat-dog can and should be and thereby making it inaccessible for anyone who doesn’t have three thousand dollars hanging around in their couch cushions. The cat-dog will be renamed Delphi, although no one will really know why.
The main change will be the integration of additional traits from different species like the hamster and the now-extinct Caribbean monk seal. The upside is that the pet will have retractable nipples and the biggest brown eyes you have ever seen; the downside will be it nibbles holes in all of your cupboards and will smell like a dead fish. Also, it will only eat dead fish.
Cat-dog Manganese (the Google version) will cross the DNA with some sub-atomic photons, chromosomal plant matter, and some Cheetos Frazier dropped into the machine “accidently.” The results will be a cat-dog that’s a virulent shade of orange, and the animal will in turn be rebranded as ORANGE. It’s like the RED label, except ten percent of ORANGE proceeds will go to people with orange related diseases, and—come to find out—there aren’t many. Essentially, Timmy from Milwaukee will get over two billion dollars because he will eat thirteen orange crayons. Timmy will also die.
All along the way, third-rate companies will create a bunch of side pseudo animals like the bunny-duckling (a best seller), the pig-rat (not a best seller), the pigeon-bear (the government model), and the Jimmy Choo (actually a pair of overpriced shoes).
The cat-dog will generally be integrated into our homes and families, and we will wonder how we ever functioned without it. With the cat-dog doing all of our shopping, shoveling the walk, and creating new apps for our cell phones, we really won’t know what to do, except play the best selling game: Fetch, the game you can never win or stop playing. That’s essentially where the story ends. We will become the pets, and Rover ahem… excuse me, Delphi and Manganese will become the Masters.
Where the whole thing really went off the tracks, if you ask me, is when tech giants will decide to create an animal. What did we expect anyways? The best thing about any pet is that it’s not a computer, but that’s beside the point—and at least fifty to five hundred years in the future. And if we know anything, we know the future is a weird place full of hover cars, slick urban environments, disembodied voices, and people with really white teeth. Like unhealthily white.
So for the present, let’s stay out of the future. And dear god, let dogs stay dogs, let cats stay cats, and let mice stay undersized rats.
Ben Rietema (’14) lives in Wanaka, New Zealand at the moment. Besides staring at and running in mountains, he makes a wicked hospital corner and can clean a bathroom like Gandhi (if he were a housekeeper) at his job at a local lodge. He also enjoys saying “HOUSEKEEPING” in the highest pitch voice he can muster before entering a room to service it. benrietema.wordpress.com/