Thursday, July 02, 2009

Why Cats Are Better Than People

Well, a lot of people, anyway.

-They're furry and warm. While some people are somewhat furry, they aren't so much as cats, and a cat's body temperature is higher unless the person has a fever, which is beside the point.

-They fit neatly into your lap. Even a Maine Coon Cat can manage it. If you're talking leopard, well, that's a whole other kind of cat. We're talking Felis domesticus here.

-Cats don't lie to you. Oh, it isn't like they won't try, especially if something has been broken around the house. However, they're just not any good at it.

-They never make promises and then don't keep them.

-Their noses are usually nicer.

-Seldom do they go grey and prematurely bald.

-They're graceful. Mostly. When they're not, it's terribly funny and they always act like they meant to do it.

-When you're sick, they don't avoid you like many people do. A cat will come to you and spend time with you because it knows you don't feel good.

-Many people are just plain unsanitary. Cats groom themselves all the time. Sure, humans don't hack up hairballs, but they have other nasty habits which are worse. Such as politics.

-You can get a cat stoned out of its mind with a completely legal substance that doesn't require lighting up and avoids the expense of things like bongs.

-They really do catch mice. In the case of mine, they regularly take out lizards & roaches, and one of them knocked off a couple of snakes. Many people, upon seeing a snake, scream like a little girl. This hurts my ears.

-They PURR. Let's see a human come up with anything that tops that. And don't even bring some slobbering dog into the conversation. I don't need to point out that cats are better than dogs. This is the way God made them. Look it up, it's in the Book of Leviticus somewhere....

-Sure, they go into heat. At times. It isn't like people, who are in heat all the time and constantly looking for a score. This, too, can hurt my ears.

-If there's anything cuter in the world than a kitten, I don't know what it is. Babies, BABIES are not as cute as kittens. Most babies look a lot like Winston Churchill. Without the cigar.

-LOLcats are very popular. Are there LOLhumans? No, no, no....

-A cat will never ask you to turn on FOX News. Cats are blessedly apolitical.

-Kitties will sometimes lick you as if to groom you. Show me a person with that much courtesy.

-Cats come preternaturally disposed towards being trained to use a litterbox. It takes you a couple of years to get that through a kid's skull.

-Who hogs the bathroom, people or cats? Huh? Sure, the cat will sleep in the sink sometimes, but it won't use up all the hot water on you or flush while you're taking a shower.

-Cats don't fight over who has the remote control.

These things come to mind, among others, because my older cat, a Siamese named Arwen, died yesterday. She was 14, which is not exceptionally old for a cat, but she'd had major illnesses in the last couple of years and was frail. This time, even with the vet's best help, she couldn't win. She wasn't in pain or suffering, which is a grace, but I was very close to having her put to sleep just to let her rest. I'd made the decision to take her today, but she didn't make it. Maybe she knew I'd made the resolve to say goodbye. Cats know things like that. My wife kept telling me that she was tired and just wanted to rest; cats have no more sense of mortality than that. At least, as far as I know. Are there cats in heaven? Well, if it's a perfect place, then one would suppose there must be. Then again, that point of view means that other people would insist on dogs being there, too, and I can't stand the beasts. Suffice it to say that God's love will be enough.

And therein lies my point. God's love is all around us, even though we mostly forget to look, and He sends us reminders in all sorts of ways. We notice the big ones, like the significant people in our lives, but might miss something as simple as a cat's devotion. I didn't miss it in this case, thankfully. Look behind the eyes of any pet and you'll see a little something that reflects a higher power saying "I sent you this reminder to tell you I love you." I don't think I'm overstating it. A cat, by its basic nature, is a loner and a predator. Yet they've become domesticated, fond of our company and of one another. Coincidence? Nah.

I'll miss a lot of things about Arwen, including the way she'd lie against the keyboard and keep me from typing straight. She won't be getting a replacement any time soon. For one, I don't really have the heart right now, and for another, I have another wonderful cat, a Tonkinese named Bridget. Great breed, great fun, and just beautiful. She has a playmate in the form of my daughter's cat, Moose. So, even though a part of me is drooling over the entertainment value of a new kitten, it'll have to wait.

Still, none will ever quite be able to take Arwen's place because of the particular time she was with me. If you've never had a long-term illness, my advice is "Don't." Unfortunately, I can't seem to follow my own advice (as is so often the case in life), and Arwen was with me as it progressively invaded my life more and more. She visited me every day, never forgot to write or call, and always let me know that she cared. I can't say that for a lot of the people I know. But there she was, ready to hop up in my lap whenever I needed cheering up, or to commit such wonderfully entertaining acts as the infamous Ham Incident. I wrote about Arwen and the Ham Incident on my blog previously, linked here.

I have to laugh at the memory of that and other amazing stunts that she pulled. I'll also have to clean up my computer/music room here, where she spent her sick time, as there's fur everywhere. She was shedding like crazy, and one of my computer speakers is covered with hair from her rubbing against it. I guess she loved that speaker. Who can explain the affections of a cat?

So, remember not to take the small things for granted. If you can't think of any, then get a cat. It works for me and about 80 million other people in the US (outnumbering dogs by millions). They also have the unique ability, with their feline superiority, to remind you not to take yourself too seriously. "Who do you think you are? Now feed me, human" can be a helpful little nudge to renew your perspective: You're not the most important thing in the universe. OK, so the cat isn't, either, but together you make a pretty spiffy team.

Call me unnecessarily sentimental, but I think that's an awfully good thing.

P.S. Thanks to Mariann for some of the reasons that Cats Are Better Than People.