A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Lessons of the Cats

It is the cold time of the year, and Anne Marie and I are more conscious of this fact whenever one of our cats wants to spend time on the sunporch. It is a lovely place to be during warms days of the spring and even hotter days of the summer. However, in the winter the uninsulated porch becomes a walk-in freezer for us humans. Of course the cats don’t mind the temperature difference because they insist on wearing fur 24/7, 365 days of the year.

We don’t mind them using the porch, but it does become an issue whenever they come back into the living room. Being cats, they have mastered the art of pushing the door open to come back in, but pushing the door closed so that it doesn’t dump our heat out is beyond their padded grasp. At this point, one of us lazy humans has to get up, walk over, and close the door. At first we would accompany this action with a snide comment that we hoped would goad them into closing the door themselves. Unfortunately the old line, “What’s the matter? Were you born in a barn?” gets very stale after the 500th or so time. Now that I think about it, that line never worked on us humans either.

It’s even more maddening when these same cats want to go back out onto the porch five minutes later. Once again one of their human staff has to get up and open the door for them, closing it just as the tip of their tail clears the opening. The human will then return to their seat, but why do we bother. The door will only be pushed open again in another few minutes, and the whole business will be repeated. Perhaps this is their way to make sure that their humans get exercise, but I doubt that they are that calculating.

Aside from opening and closing doors, I have noticed a variety of other tasks at which cats are totally useless. For example, they can’t open their own cans of wet food, or refill their water dishes. Cleaning their box is also beyond their brain capacity.

On the other hand, I suppose that if they were able to do these things for themselves then they would have no further use for us. Naturally we are good enough to pay the mortgage that keeps the roof over their heads, but they survived nicely in the wild for thousands of years without this convenience, and they could probably make do nicely in the future if the need arose.

Off the top of my head, I can think of several other activities for which felines are useless. They can’t pick us up at the train station when we return from our annual vacation, but to be fair they’re not the ones that drive us to the station in the first place. Why should they be obligated to bring us home, when we were the ones that left them all alone of our own free will.

Also they have continually demonstrated an inability to negotiate a lasting peace between the Arabs and Israelis. I really hate to harp on this, particularly since human beings have been unable to do this too, but you’d think that, as fellow co-habitants of this planet, they would have a vested interest in mideast peace. Of course, this is way beyond their understanding of the way they fit into the great scheme of things.

I could go on, but the list would be endless. It would be easier to list the one thing at which cats are great: relaxation. In this regard my cat, Steven, is an excellent teacher. He spends his days curled up on our bed, and many times he will relax between my legs while I read the paper in our easy chair.

This is the lesson we should take from their lifestyle. It’s as if they are telling us, “Don’t worry so much about everything. Nature or God or whatever will sort it all out in the end. Just relax in the sunshine, and when you are tired of doing that, get up, stretch, turn over and relax some more.” That is a good lesson, if only they could close the sunporch door.


Blogger RG said...

Ah yes ... Rabbits are simiar, although they know and don't know dfferent things than cats do, few of which are useful to humans!

But - a rabbit snuggled in your lap for a half an hour of peacefulness is very good!

February 13, 2008 at 6:07 PM  

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