There are few debates as puerile and meaningless as the one that pit cats against dogs.
Cats are clearly superior pets, the real discussion ought be whether cats are better than children.
Admittedly, I don't know much about children except they're noisy and irrational creatures with perpetually sticky fingers. I've never bred any myself. My knowledge of little humans is derived from baby-sitting and observations while riding the bus.
I don't get asked to babysit much. I have a tendency to drink too much scotch in the evenings. I also have no great desire to protect a biscuit tin that isn't mine and I have an altogether laissez faire attitude toward bedtimes.
This is why on the few occasions that my neighbours and friends, the Wright family, asked me to babysit I always said yes; because I knew they'd exhausted all possible options by the time they called on me.
Every friend has been rung, every colleague, and every teenager at the local school. When it comes to options for looking after loved ones it's everybody in the world, then me, then a pack of rottweilers.
A while back a prominent newsreader lamented publicly that she had put her career before having children and she feared she'd missed the bus.
Regret is the worst of all human emotions, and I felt for her. I still do. But for me, not having kids is hands-down the greatest decision I've ever made.
I feel grateful for that decision every Saturday morning when I wake and get out of bed whenever the hell I like and then do whatever the hell I choose for the rest of the day.
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Often that means lounging on a couch without 4,000 types of crumbs between the couch cushions. But most importantly, and here's where I arrive at my primary thesis, it's because cats are better than kids.
I have two cats. And by blind good luck, they happen to be the best two cats in the world. But even your average moggy is a royal flush compared to the best of children, which are a pair of twos.
Cats are self-cleaning creatures, designed as tremendous balls of fluff or, like mine, with all the curves and style of a concord.
Tragically, like the concord, some flights end in disaster. For cats this usually involves crossing the street. While tremendous enthusiasts for such journeys, cats are far from adept at crossing roads.
Instead of looking right and left, they sit on the side of the road, often under a parked car. Then, picking a number at random, they count up to it and dart across at full tilt yelling, 'Damn the torpedos'. It's an ill-advised form of pedestrianism, but they just can't be told otherwise.
Roads are eight of the reasons cats have nine lives.
One of mine, James K. Blackster (Blackie), got hit a few weeks back. He lost a patch of skin from his side and a lot of fur, and he walked into the house sideways like a crab. With terrible discomfort he settled into one of his favourite spots and I touched him gently up and down, feeling for injury. His tired yellow eyes looked at me with trust. I whispered to him that things would be okay.
"It's alright, bro," I said. "I'm here."
I wasn't certain what to do; a trip to the vet is trauma if it's unnecessary. I patted him so very gently that day, the way one might an injured bird, and eventually and quietly he purred. "It's okay, bro," he said.
By day two he was gingerly back on his feet, and by three he was wandering outside. The relief allowed me to consider the impossible sadness I would feel if I outlive either one of my cats. Anybody who has even a basic menagerie will know a love of animals is very real.
And here I found myself forced to think that children, with their greater longevity – given their genetics, love and luck – might actually be better than cats. Could that be? No. Of course not.
As kids grow older they yell, "Okay Boomer" or similar before the ungrateful sods put you in a nursing home. And then what will you have? That's right, a cat on your lap.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that some people will be reading this and thinking, 'because Jarrod's overseas sunning himself in South America with money he's saved not having kids, he has nothing important to write about and this column is a filler written while he's drunk in a hotel bar" but you people are half wrong.
I'm writing this because I miss my cats. I genuinely miss those little cat bastards.
But one thing is also certain; neither will care a damn that I'm gone and they'll only be pleased to see me come dinner time. There will be no hugs, smiles, or even wagging tails on my return.
So okay breeders and dog owners, maybe we can call it a draw.
• Dr Jarrod Gilbert, the Director of Criminal Justice at the University of Canterbury, usually writes about crime.