Cat Versus Booby

Key's Cupboard

Which is the most stupid member of the animal kingdom?…

I have been thinking, as I sometimes do, about the ineradicable stupidity of certain members of the animal kingdom. These thoughts were prompted, today, by the newsagent’s cat. It really is a bewilderingly stupid cat. I then found myself pondering the blue-footed booby, a bird which gives the impression of being as witless as any cat. The newsagent does not have a pet booby, alas, so I had to make do with examining pictures.


A blue-footed booby. You already know what a cat looks like.

I then began to wonder which one is the more stupid, the cat or the booby. Surely the best way to find out would be to pit one against the other in a (lack of) intelligence test – a “brain-off” between the newsagent’s cat and a blue-footed booby. Unfortunately, it was at this point that I learned – by consulting my manuscript copy of the Bumper Book Of Facts About Things The Lower Extremities Of Which Are Blue – that the blue-footed booby is not native to these shores. Apparently they are to be found from the Gulf of California down along the western coasts of Central and South America to Peru.

The wonders of space age technology mean that their far distant habitat need not deter me. All I need is for a Dabbler reader resident in that part of the world to get hold of a blue-footed booby and stick it in front of a computer. I will do likewise with the newsagent’s cat, and we can link up using Skype. I cannot foresee any problems whatsoever with arranging this. We can then subject them to a series of tests, the one against the other, cat versus booby, to determine which one is the thickest.

I will post an account of the contest, and its results, as soon as we have managed to conduct it.


By Aerostat to Hooting Yard: A Frank Key Reader is available to buy for Kindle from Amazon now.
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About Author Profile: Frank Key

Frank Key is a London-based writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his Hooting Yard blog, short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which has been broadcast weekly on Resonance FM since April 2004. By Aerostat to Hooting Yard - A Frank Key Reader, an ideal introduction to his fiction, is published for Kindle by Dabbler Editions. Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives was published in October 2015 by Constable and is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.

3 thoughts on “Cat Versus Booby

    Jeff Guinn
    August 22, 2014 at 12:02

    I then began to wonder which one is the more stupid, the cat or the booby.

    I have seen boobies. I have cats.

    Cats by a furlong.

      August 22, 2014 at 19:26

      I have seen boobies.

      Stop showing off, Jeff.

    jonathan law
    August 22, 2014 at 16:46

    The Somerset grocer-poet James Knight Jennings takes a very poor view of the “imbecile fool booby” in his Ornithologia, or the Birds, a systematic description of the entire avian kingdom in verse. In his very copious notes Jennings comments:

    It is an indolent, senseless, and cowardly bird, submitting to all sorts of depredations upon its happiness with indolent imbecility; yet it is, occasionally, when much excited, ferocious.

    Although a shockingly dull poet, Jennings is in other respects an interesting figure: amateur scientist, friend of Coleridge and Southey, author of one of the first family encyclopedias. His other works include a glossary of Somerset dialect words and a treatise arguing for the cultivation of tobacco in England.

    On reading that quote again it occurs to me that I am almost certainly a blue-footed booby.

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