Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

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Location: Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, United States

Friday, December 02, 2011

How many cats is a three dog night worth?

Trying to keep warm

It’s a cold night in Albuquerque. It’s also a windy night. The predicted low is 24 degrees (Fahrenheit), and the winds are howling, gusting to 50 mph and sometimes even higher. According to NOAA, the wind chill means it really feels like 12 degrees or colder.

During the day, a wind gust of 78 mph was clocked in the far northeast part of Albuquerque, and the Sunport reported a gust of 53. Our storm door was flung off its hinges, and in the process, the hydraulic closing cylinder punched a hole in the front door. The result is that the door is letting cold air in, so it’s hard to keep the house warm.

I was listening to my favorite radio station on the way home from work, as my little Vibe was getting knocked all over the road by gusts of wind, and the DJ commented that it was going to be a “three dog night,” as a segue into a song by the band named after that concept.

For those who don’t know, the phrase comes from medieval times, when home heating was, to put it mildly, not exactly efficient. On an especially cold night, the humans in a house would derive extra warmth by having their dogs, often large ones, in their beds to help keep them warm. A “three dog night” was an especially cold one, as it required three dogs to keep the bed warm enough.

Unfortunately, all Pat and I have is a cat. And Dulce is not exactly a large cat – she probably weighs in at about six pounds. So she’s about a tenth of a large dog.

Now, we do have friends who could be described as cat herders. These friends have large numbers of cats on hand. And those cats are probably larger than Dulce – I’m guessing the average cat is 10 pounds or more. Also, cats’ normal body temperature is slightly higher than that of dogs, so maybe it doesn’t take as much mass of cat as of dog to produce the same amount of heat.

So I open this question up to the cat herders I know: If it’s a three dog night, how many cats is it?

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6 Comments:

Blogger O Docker said...

Big beds are very handy if you need to keep your pet in one place while you are asleep or have passed out. They are useful if you don't want your pet wandering around or if you have cold feet and want to minimize your exposure to arctic blasts. But to stay truly warm you need a neurotic little dog like we used to have that would actually crawl under the covers and curl around our feet - after we'd gotten into bed.

I've never heard of another dog or cat that would do that.

Fri Dec 02, 08:06:00 AM MST  
Blogger R W Rawles said...

Dobies! Always Dobies. Two Dobermen or Doberwomen on your bed will keep you warm enough in any wind chill. Especially if they're trained to nestle in the small of your back(s).

Fri Dec 02, 12:13:00 PM MST  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

O Docker, actually we used to have a cat who would do that. Except he would keep relocating to different places under the covers as the night went on, so as to keep us awake.

Fri Dec 02, 12:55:00 PM MST  
Blogger O Docker said...

Maybe it's just the pets of bloggers that do that, then. Most dogs won't stand being covered by a blanket for a second. This guy would burrow right down to the foot of the bed.

And I guess I shouldn't be so quick to parody spam comments. When the spam is removed, the parody makes no sense at all.

Fri Dec 02, 01:19:00 PM MST  
Blogger Baydog said...

Carol Anne, first thing to do is get some duct tape and cover that hole in the door.

I don't know about how many cats, but one wiener dog normally generates enough heat for a cold night.

Fri Dec 02, 01:20:00 PM MST  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

Actually, Baydog, the duct tape might improve the insulating quality of the door -- it's hollow core, with no insulation in it, dating back, I'm sure, to the house's original construction in 1954, when energy efficiency wasn't a priority.

It happens that we're planning to sell the house in the next year or so, and a nice, shiny new front door and storm door will add to curb appeal -- I hope.

Fri Dec 02, 08:34:00 PM MST  

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