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on the question of cats

me being almost swallowed by a giant space cat

Heigh ho, Tom Turtle here again, this time with my head buried deep in my shell. Why? Because someone black and furry is nosing at my head hole. You can see why I might be grumpy, therefore, especially if this furry personage gets me over on my back. I can be left spinning for days in that position. So let me ask you this: Why cats? Why do people keep cats as pets instead of, say, badgers or porpoises? I suppose because porpoises tend to drive up the water bill, and badgers, well, they frankly aren't good with litter boxes. They tend to go right through the bottom. But that explains why not badgers and porpoises, it doesn't explain why cats. You see, cats don't really do anything. They don't even fetch or roll over. Yes, they look cute occasionally, I guess, when they aren't ripping up the sofa or puking on the carpet or torturing turtles, but that would explain “why a picture of a cat.” It doesn't explain the presence of the cat itself.

Women tend to be very fond of cats, and the crazier the woman, the more fond of cats she is. We don't really need psychiatrists: we can now rank how crazy a woman is directly by the number of cats she has. As in, “she's a twelve-catter,” or “she a 22-catter.” The twelve-catter is only months away from being institutionalized. The 22-catter has foiled the normal screening process, and has only avoided the straight-jacket because no one knows she lives in her home: they had thought it was an abandoned shed or a Friskies warehouse. This being so, we should question whether owning one or two cats is sane, either. It is sort of like poison. A lot of poison is bad, but that doesn't make a little poison good. One cat may just be the beginning of the end, mentally.

Yes, we really need to consider the link between cats and insanity. And to be thorough, we should study the female component here as well. After all, you never see a guy with 22 cats. Six dogs, maybe, a couple of sheep, sure, but never 22 cats.

I have a very raw theory, cobbled together really, just from bits of string and floss, that maybe women like cats for the same reason they like men. Just think about it, you don't see old lesbians (or young lesbians) with 22 cats. Cats aren't really a lesbian thing. Cats are a thing for over-40 women who once liked men. Why? Because cats are a smaller, cuter, tidier version of a man. Just think about it: a man is a furry, lazy beast who sleeps as much as possible. He generally detests and avoids all other creatures, except those whom he can use and/or torture. He looks down his nose at any and all work, is not open to suggestion, pretends he doesn't hear you, and hates to bathe. Sound familiar?

To start with, a cat can outsleep any animal in any kingdom or phylum. Even at his best, a man can't sleep more than 12 or 14 hours a day, but a cat can sleep 20 hours a day, day in day out, without missing a beat. I don't know where the idea of the catnap came from, since cats don't take short naps. They take 8 to 10 hour naps, at least twice a day, broken only by a few moments eating, a few moments of scatching in the box, and a few moments destroying the house in slow motion. Women are instinctively composed to find this charming, we suppose, since when the instinct is aimed at a man, it is guaranteed to continue the species. When the instinct is aimed at a cat, it begins to look even more odd.

Women always complain that men are lazy, but we see from the above that what men should really do is strive to sleep more. Women imply that that would be a problem, but women are famously out of touch with their own feelings, as we turtles know. They don't love cats despite the fact that cats sleep all the time, they love cats because they sleep all the time. They like cats better than men because cats sleep more than men. The reason they prefer this, without knowing it, is that more sleep means the cat is out from under foot more than the man. And this is good because the cat is therefore more an idea than the man. The cat is a sort of hypothetical beast, a thing one loves most when he isn't around. The woman likes to think of the cat, likes to play with her idea of the cat, and likes most to cuddle with the image of the cat in her head. It is easist to do this when the cat is asleep in the other room.

Of course we can apply all this to the man as well. It has long been known that a woman much prefers her idea of a man to any man. So the best thing any real man can do is be asleep in the next room. From that distance, he is sure to be adored to the greatest extent he can be.

Now let's go back to bathing. I will be told that cats wash themselves, but that's just rationalizing. Licking a paw and rubbing it on your head isn't bathing. If your mother tells you to wash your hair and you say, “But Mom, I just licked my hand and rubbed it on my head!” she isn't going to go, “OK, fine!” She is going to tell you to get your ass in the tub. That's the bottom line: cats don't ever go in the tub. Even dogs go in the tub occasionally, or they smell like garbage. Cats never bathe and no one cares. Just imagine what your hair would look like if you only licked it a couple of times a week, for a year or two. It would be so stuck to your head. Maybe cats are like that. Maybe they aren't supposed to look like they do, maybe they are supposed to look much better. Has anyone ever shampooed a cat, blown it dry and then moussed it up with some nice product? This is what we should do, I think, to be fair. Dogs don't want to go in the tub, but people still put them in there. Why are cats getting a pass?

We are told that cats are so clean, but are they really? They muck around in the litter box, stepping on their own stuff, and then they walk all over the kitchen table. Is that a tidy cat? From there they jump on the bed, walk all over the pillowcases, then walk right on your face. You might as well skip a couple of steps and wash your face in the litter box.

Cats are also completely untrainable. They either have no memory or they like to pretend they don't. You can tell them 100 times a day not to claw the chair, and they still claw the chair every time they see it. And they have the gaul to look surprised every time you scold them. I don't know how they do it. I couldn't do it with a straight face. After the 98th time in one day, I myself would claw the chair and then go “OK, I know.” But not the cat. He is surprised every time.

How can women put up with this? They can't and don't put up with it from the children. When children act like that, the woman goes ballistic. When the cat acts like that, she just smiles and shrugs it off. Why? Because the cat is her man substitute for the day. The cat strokes her instinctual need to be ignored. There is some deep-seated, cruel, pathetic need in a woman to be ignored one moment and rubbed on the next, by a lazy, furry, self-centered beast.

Women like cats, they say, because cats are independent. But are cats really independent? No. Most cats are clingy to the nth degree; they are only good at faking independence. They make you think they are independent while they eat all your food, hog your bed, and walk all over everything you own. If they find something in the house they don't have a use for, they shred it. While they are doing that, they also perfect a subtle toss of the head, a certain tilt of the brow. They fine-tune their nonchalance with long practice, although it was already innately almost pitch-perfect. Again, sound familiar? Men are just like that. If you shaved a cat from the brow down, you would just have a very skinny, very quiet man.

And finally, let's analyze that “quiet.” Women complain that men are silent, that they don't share their feelings, and so on and on. But we see from above that men should study the relationship of the woman and the cat, and that if they do they will become even quieter. For it isn't men's silence that is the problem, it is what they say when they quit being silent. They problem isn't silence, it is that they don't agree with the woman. Does the cat's silence vex the woman? No. Why not? Because the woman is sure that the cat is silently agreeing with everything she says. The man can achieve this same sort of symbiosis only if he remembers to nod or purr at the right times, otherwise the woman gets suspicious.

And this answers our first question. People love cats and other pets because they are silent. They have no opinions. They never disagree. They are little ego-stroking ideas, with soft fur and graceful outlines, and they seem completely satisfied with their limited roles. They hardly ever get bored, they never make you watch their movies or listen to their music, and they don't demand sex. You can see why, for a certain type of woman, they would be better than chocolate.

In a pile
Upon a log
Over the water
Third from the bottom
Secreting my own hard shell
Tom Turtle

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