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All the pundits who are forecasting the November election, busily analyzing blue states, red states and those all-important purple swing states, are spinning their wheels.

At the risk of sounding even more presumptuous than usual, I contend that they are wasting their time and yours.

If you want to know who’s going to emerge victorious, all you really need to do is find out how many people have cats living with them and how many have dogs. The cat people, I have decided, will go overwhelmingly for Kerry; the dog lovers will do the same for Bush.

It isn’t simply that women, who often prefer felines to canines, tend to vote Democratic. It really goes to the nature of the animals.

Cats are finicky. Which is just a Madison Avenue euphemism for being snooty, snobbish and stand-offish. Dogs are honest, friendly and loyal. Just looking at them makes people feel good. Which is why you even see them in TV commercials that have nothing to do with kibble or flea collars.

Cats speak French. Or are you going to insist that “meow” doesn’t sound like something nasty a Parisian would say behind your back? Dogs speak English, and they’re plain spoken. Cats arch their backs and hiss. Dogs wag their tails and let you know you’ve been missed when you’ve been out of sight for 30 seconds.

With a cat, you can’t do anything right. With a dog, you can do no wrong.

If you want to get your cat’s undivided attention, you have to turn on the electric can opener. If you want to get your dog’s undivided attention, you merely have to be breathing.

A dog’s favorite toy is a ball. A cat’s is either a living mouse or a toy filled with catnip, his drug of choice.

A dog will dive into a raging river to save a stranger’s life. A cat wouldn’t step into a puddle to save yours.

A dog, if he were a human neighbor, would be the kind of guy who’d come over and fix your plumbing. A cat, if he were your next door neighbor, would borrow your lawn mower, and not only would he not return it, but would try to sell the thing at his next garage sale.

Even politicians who disagree with his policies all seem to like President Bush.

Nobody, including the ketchup queen, seem to care for Sen. Kerry. Which is no big surprise, considering he is so cat-like, in spite of his bloodhound countenance.

In fact, the only apparent difference I can distinguish between Kerry and a cat is the latter’s ability to clean itself with its tongue. But, I’m taking nothing for granted. For the next few months, I’m definitely keeping my eye peeled for hairballs.

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