Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Biggest Controversy to Ever Hit the Internet

I don't even remember how it first came up, but now it seems that we're going to get a divorce over it.

At some point last night, Alex made the ridiculous claim that cats have arms.

Now, it used to be when Alex and I had these very important disputes about things of this nature, I had to turn to my blog. Now I have twitter. So it happened that I screeched, "I'm going to ask the internet!" and started furiously typing.

He might have still been talking. I vaguely remember hearing words like "hate" and "you" but I was too busy twittering:

Immediately I got the validation I so wanted. Both Lori and Kimberly almost instantly wrote back "4 legs."

Then Kimberly tweeted about a friend of hers trying to find a home for two cats in the NY/NJ area, which gave me the perfect opportunity to respond, "So that would be 8 legs worth of cats, right?"

Lori also followed up with "or whichever you think, b/c i'm on your side," which was nice, but unnecessary because logic and science had dictated that she had already made the correct choice.

Because arms? On a cat? That's absolutely ridiculous.

Which is why I was so disappointed when Navi came up with the answer "um... both." I told her that I would tell Alex that he got half a vote. (I didn't tell him though. 'Cause I'm a bitch that way.) Then, because she was actually working at a library at the time, Navi went ahead and did further research for me. She claims that the following backs up her answer:

I say that "the forelimb of a vertebrate" is clearly defined as "corresponding to an arm"—not in fact an arm, for which the first definition is "a HUMAN upper limb."

I repeat: a human upper limb. I think even Alex would be hard pressed to make a case for a cat being a human.

From there, the dissent got worse. Magpie made the outrageous claim of, "2 arms, 2 legs on a cat. in my house, anyway," followed seconds later by another tweet: "But, we haven't any cats anymore..."

Of course at this point I made the assholish comment, "Is it because you made them do chores with their arms and opposable thumbs? Oh, wait! They don't have either of those." In reality, the reason she doesn't have cats anymore is probably a lot sadder than forced window washing, which is probably why I didn't hear from her for the rest of the night and why she's probably having papers drawn up right now to blog friend divorce me.

Do you see how terrible things come out of these controversies?

Then, news came in that I'd destroyed another marriage with my controversy. Wife and Mommy twittered: "The Husband and I just disagreed...I say four legs. He says two arms two legs. Now our marriage may depend on the right answer." Fortunately, Carrie of myterrific2some has a more reasonable husband. Both members of that couple agreed: 4 legs.

Then Joeymom, who apparently has had some bad experiences with cats wrote, "Cats have four legs. Unless they are attacking you." I'd love to hear that story. If it's as good as the turkey attack, I'll laugh really hard.

KerryInMaine based her reply solely on the evidence she had observed: "It depends on the cat, of course, but all the cats I've ever met have had 4 legs, no arms." Maybe she never met Magpie's cats.

I thought the matter was all settled and then I went to bed. But like all good controversies, this one continues. I woke up this morning to this persuasive tweet from Chef Kate: "not sure if you got your answer, but legs attach to hips and arms attach to shoulder blades, so 2 legs and 2 arms"


I close with conflicting evidence from Kerry. Kerry had originally answered with the very correct response "4 legs," and then later, "I'm pretty sure that the term '4 legged' is always applied to cats," but when I checked my email this morning, I found this:

"When the cops arrived, and told the cat to put his arms in the air,
he complied. So maybe they do have arms."

Clearly this is far from over.

And, yes, this is pretty much the kind of thing that Alex and I chat about. It's like we're 10-year-olds. I'm glad to see that the rest of you who are tweeting on a Friday night are just as infantile as us.

So now, I turn the controversy over to you, dear blogosphere. Just remember that Alex never gave you nothin'.*

* I'm not sure I've ever given you anything either, but let's try not to remember that.

p.s. Magpie, come back!!!!


  1. Four legs. And I want that orange kitten! All for me!

  2. Wow! I've been quoted! Hilarious post and I don't know if we'll ever know the truth.

  3. You gave me a luggage tag so I'm clearly on your side.

    xoxo, SG

  4. i am clearly not having enough fun on Twitter.

    i asked my cat. she gave me the finger. with her front leg, of course.

  5. OK Stimey, I think you are screwed. Apparently they have a shoulder and humerous, so that means "arm" right? Sorry...
    google "feline anatomy". You don't have to tell Alex though. I'll keep your secret.

    [yeah, I was never fun at parties either]

  6. if my cat had arms, it'd be doing the dishes.

    four legs.

  7. sorry...humerus (although your post was humorous)

  8. This is hilarious! And I feel so honored to have been mentioned in your post!! :)

  9. Um, yeah, Ange is right. See this:

    You can see their itty bitty shoulder blades, too.

    This means my two cats have seriously been holding out on me and I'm gonna put their furry asses to work now! Sheesh! You'd think they'd at least help fold the laundry after getting their hair all over it, right?

  10. Ok, wait, you don't HAVE a cat! WTF?? Why does Alex even care? Why do you care? I'm so confused now. Need chocolate. Or catnip.

  11. You gave me my luggage tag too, and many enjoyable posts to read. But Alex is a conservative in a liberal household. There's a kinship there.

    And I have 4 cats.

    I'm trying so hard to be Switzerland. The hips and shoulders thing threw me. But um - I'm pretty sure we have 16 cat legs in my house.


  12. OMG. I just googled feline anatomy as suggested. The musculoskeletal system for both dogs AND cats - shows a knee on the rear leg - and an ELBOW on the front. So NOW I am arguing with myself. Thanks a heap.

  13. We do have cats. Two of 'em.

    I am so impressed by your level of commitment to this question. I can't believe y'all are doing research. I mean I'm totally grateful that you guys are doing it, because clearly my level of research is to ask twitter.

    I can't believe Alex is gaining on me though.

  14. If cats have arms, do dogs have arms? Do cats have four feet or two hands and two feet? In my house, dogs have beaks.


  15. If cats have arms how come they never wear vests?

    4 legs!

    Four legs good, two legs bad. Shessh. Read your Orwell.

  16. Stimey has 2 very fat cats if a remember correctly...which means if you can't feel their shoulder blades, then Alex will never know the truth...

    And you know me...all about the evidence-based shit. But this case I would tell Alex only the anecdotal evidence! ;)

  17. ...and this is why I don't twitter (yet) I can't type, think, and spell all at the same time...

  18. Obviously I went to bed too soon.

    For the record, the cats DIED tragic sad AWFUL deaths - medical problems, not window washing accidents. I still haven't recovered.

    Also, my husband says that cats have four legs. How 'bout we swap husbands?

    As to Goon Squad Sarah's reference, I think it answers the question. The cat in "Babe" is clearly the bad enemy, therefore casts must only have two legs.

  19. Since you gave me that awesome luggage tag last year, I absolutely have to side with you! 4 legs!

  20. I'm on your side Stimey, according to Merriam Webster a leg is: a limb of an animal used esp. for supporting the body and for walking. Hence cats have 4 legs, regardless of the shoulder argument. Mwah!

  21. "Four-legged friends." Nuff said.

    (He's baiting you. Those lawyers just looooooove to argue, right?)

  22. Wait, did I sleep through the post(s) about the cats?? Damn. No wonder my grade sucks in this class!

  23. Does that mean my dining room table has two legs and two arms?

    We are siding with you on this one Stimey. Count two votes for four legs.


  24. four legs (amazing how much loyalty can be generated by a luggage tag)

  25. In a rare moment of clarity, my husband agrees that cats have four legs. Anatomy be damned.

  26. My husband is with me on this one: 4 legs. I say they are legs, but the front legs are different from the back legs, still not arms, though. There's my distinction. And my husband & I resolve arguments via twitter all the time, but I'm wondering when he is going to realize that my tweeps will never be on his side.

  27. You are cracking me up!!! I'm a huge cat love and I've always said 4 legs. When I was dating my husband, his parents cat got cancer in one leg and had it amputated. He was a 3 legged cat, not 2 arms and 1 legged cat. LOL

  28. I really shouldn't have read this before going to bed. How am I ever supposed to get any sleep? I'll be tossing and turning all night pondering this.

  29. Thanks for introducing this controversy into my home! As if M and I needed something else to disagree about. He was sure they have 4 legs immediately after I posed the question but I am not so sure. He went off to research the definition of an arm so I am sure I will be hearing about it soon.

  30. You know where I stand on this. On Four LEGS!!!!

  31. If cats have arms, then they definitely should be doing chores.

    And my beagle is even LAZIER than I suspected.

  32. We call their paws "hands." But sometimes we say "leg hands." ...Is this any help?

  33. Funny, I almost tweeted back "How do you want me to respond?"

    After reading all of the comments, I am a little confused. I still stand by my answer of cats having 4 legs but the more I think about it the more I think my dogs may have arms.

  34. I myself was rather undecided on the issue, but my boyfriend was quite certain about his answer. Here is a recap of our conversation (keep in mind that he is German):

    Me: So, Christian, I've been meaning to ask you, do cats have 4 legs or two legs and two arms?

    Christian: Cats? Cats have paws!

    Me: Yeah, but those paws are at the end of something.

    Christian: ARMS! Of course four arms!

    Me: Wow, I hadn't heard that answer yet. You seem pretty certain about that.

    Christian: I don't know what kind of cats those people have, but the cats I know have arms.

    Let it be noted here that, to the best of my knowledge, doesn't know more than 2 cats and that cats also do not traditionally have 4 arms in the German language.
    Thanks for letting me post the longest comment ever.

  35. You guys know that horses, pigs, cows, sheep, etc. all have shoulders, too, right? And no one is arguing about them having arms.

    Arms are just a modified leg in the grand scheme of evolution.

    The fact that a cat can grab my ankles and shred them with those "legs" is completely irrelevant.


  36. Just to bang it home about cow shoulders (and elbows):

  37. Oh, by the way... whales have shoulders, too. Without arms. They have flippers.

  38. Glad to see that my hubby and i aren't the only ones to have crazy debates over such "important" issues. This was too funny. Thanks for the giggle.

  39. I have nothing to add to this conversation because I am not nearly funny enough. But for a luggage tag, I'll say whatever you want me to say. And I need to stop going to bed so early - I'm missing good stuff!

    (And cows DEFINITELY have four legs! Seriously.)

  40. Of course, the REAL question is, do gerbils have arms?

  41. I am so thrilled to know that other people's marriages depend on stuff like this.

  42. i'd have to agree with you on 4 legs. the way i see it, no one walks on their arms. yet cats use all 4 limbs to walk. I've yet to see a cat walk on it's two hind legs only (at least for any length of time). Therefore, all 4 limbs are legs. right?

  43. Chef Sarah, I believe you made the most convincing argument yet!

  44. As a former vet tech I have been both slapped and kicked by cats, but I always thought they had four legs since they consistently walk around on all fours.
    BTW, if you wonder what it's like to be slapped by a clawless cat; wrap a wooden ruler in a washcloth and have someone wack you across the face as hard as they can. Those cats have some STRONG front legs!

  45. My cat is sleeping on the chair next to me right now. I woke him up to ask him about this matter. He says he has two legs and two arms! ;)

  46. My entire office now thinks I am crazy since I was rolling around on the floor, crying, since I was laughing so hard at this. Thanks!

    What was Stimey's original argument again? Whatever it was I agree with her! (Where do I get my luggage tag?)


  47. I think "arms" implies an appendage with thumbs... therefore cats have four legs.

  48. The majority of "walking" animals are quadrupeds, including cats. That's Latin for four legged. Get all scientific on your hubby.

    And yeah, I know this because I was (and am still) living in Turkey when they showed a zillion videos of the family who walked on their hands, and made a zillion programs about quadrupeds and pinnipeds and tetrapods. Yeah, drop those names as well :)

  49. i have 5 cats. every single one of them...has 4 legs.

  50. I have to go with 4 legs for a couple of reasons. The first reason is because Alex says cats have arms. Alex is a man. Therefore, as a woman, I must automatically disagree because men are wrong. Period.
    BUT- animals that walk on all four LEGS as opposed to walking on just two have LEGS, not arms. Gorillas and chimps have arms. Cats? Nope. No arms. Legs. Clearly! If they can't walk on just two of their four limbs, those suckers are called LEGS. My research is based solely on female common sense. Something which Alex naturally fails to possess. Therefore dear Stimey, you are correct.


Thanks for commenting! May you be visited by unicorns and kittens.