This might be why corporate leaders are called ‘fat-cat CEOs’
By Mark Rutledge
Saturday, July 28, 2018
Our little dog, Max, recently held a group meeting in front of the family flat-screen where he gave a PowerPoint presentation outlining an ambitious business proposal. Max, who has banked plenty of ideas but no startup capital, has been working on a new line of designer collars, chew toys, and doggie beds. He needs investors to ensure a strong pre-Christmas presence on the shelves at big-box pet stores.
Every human in the room was quite taken aback, to say the least, by Max’s product innovations and strategic marketing plan. Not only were we unaware that Max is a driven entrepreneur with a flair for design, we didn’t even know he could operate a clicker without opposable thumbs.
Max broke the ice by disclosing that he has made excellent use of his daytime hours spent alone in the house. He’s been busy taking online courses to earn an MBA.
“I figured that if I’m going to have masters,” he joked, “I might as well have a master’s, too.”
None of this story about my dog is true, of course, but according to a recent scientific study, it should be true. By all accounts, and Max’s cat-related dietary habits, he should be a genius when it comes to making bold business decisions.
A study released last week purports to measure the effects that a cat-poop parasite has on the brain. “What do you need to become an entrepreneur?” asks the story in Forbes magazine. “A good idea? Dedication? Drive? How about some cat poop?”
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, indicates that exposure to a parasite found in cat droppings can make the parasite host significantly more likely to major in business.
If this helps to explain why I majored in journalism and sociology, then I don’t feel so bad about the relatively low pay.
In addition to creating a desire to start a business, the parasite also causes its host to be less fearful about taking entrepreneurial risks.
By that measure, Max should either belong to three country clubs or be living on the street.
After my wife, Sharon, brought home a stray kitten last year, Max quickly developed a taste for anything the cat would leave inside the dog’s fenced portion of the backyard.
We have tried everything short of separately fencing in a litter box to eliminate access. But that would quickly become a massive maintenance issue due to several other outdoor cats in the neighborhood.
The Forbes article discourages intentional contact with cat poop, citing the potential for other, less positive psychological effects from the parasite. Maybe those more negative effects can help explain why we sometimes find Max in the bathtub — arguably the place he hates the most.
The study further finds that mice exposed to the parasite will become less fearful of cats. That must be true, because I have noticed a similar pattern with Max.
Instead of sitting by and trembling whenever the cat occupies his bed, Max has begun strongly suggesting that the cat find another place to lounge.
When I catch him actually drawing up plans for a cat-proof bed, I will know that we can finally order the yacht.
Contact Mark Rutledge at firstname.lastname@example.org or like him on Facebook at Mark Rutledge Columns.
Cutline: Max sees no reason to design a new doggie bed.