Subscribe to Newsletter

Why you needed to be in New York on the weekend

Where the answers to an age-old question were revealed

There are a lot of reasons to head to New York City: Broadway, the music scene, those guys who sell awesome falafel and near deadly hot sauce on 53rd and 6th. But last weekend NYC was the place to be because, well it hosted a chat about whether cats or dogs were better.


This wasn’t just any chat, this was an event organised as part of The New Yorker Festival. The festival has been going strong for 15 years and this year’s shindig featured the likes of Neil Young, Lena Dunham, Edward Snowden, Sting and Stephen Sondheim.


But there was no way Sting and Sondheim could compare with finding the answer to a question that has plagued humanity since before the internet was born (and made Boo and Grumpy Cat the stars they are): which are better, dogs or cats?


The panel included novelist Joyce Carol Oates (Team Cats), former executive editor of the New York Times Jill Abramson (Team Dogs) and actor Jesse Eisenberg (Team Cats – sort of).


Unsurprisingly, dogs won. And of course they would, with arguments such as:


“This whole debate has massive national-security implications,” New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell said, describing how he had once witnessed a dog tirelessly (and heroically) sniffing every last suitcase of a flight threatened by a bomb, something, he claimed, a cat would never do.


“Why are cats so resolutely indifferent to pulling their weight in the war against terror?” he asked.


“How many lives have been needlessly put at risk? We are engaged in a life-or-death struggle in the West, and the cat is sleeping on the sidelines.”


So next time you’re planning a trip to New York, check out what’s on beyond the Broadway shows and filmings of The Tonight Show or just pick up a copy of the New Yorker and read it at a dog park.



Image: ( Leo Cullum/The New Yorker)


No pets were allowed to attend the event unless in service of a human – possibly in an effort to keep the peace.


Full disclosure, I’m allergic to cats (both the animal and the musical – Andrew Lloyd Webber, I want those hours of my life back). And my dog, though very cute and gentle to a fault, is confused by his own farts.


Click here to read the latest issue of traveltalk Click here to read the latest issue of traveltalk
Written by: Gaya Avery
Published: 13 October 2014

comments powered by Disqus