I am definitely a cat person. So much so that it’s almost a deal-breaker if anyone says to me, ‘oh, I don’t like cats!’ This makes me wonder whether I should bother to speak to them any further. If I’m already friends with them, I feel concerned about the amount of time I’ve invested in getting to know them – surely this was futile and wasted if they don‘t like cats??!!
Because seriously, cats have got to be some of the most impressive animals in the world. They are beautiful, clever, self-reliant (mostly) and supremely self-confident. Like a good scientist, I always wondered what it was about cats that made them so impressive to me (and to themselves). And then I realised – the universe only exists in the minds of cats.
Yes, you may laugh. But consider the evidence. Cats always look really really pleased with themselves, and rather contemptuous of other life-forms. Well, imagine if you were thinking the universe – and then you saw a pathetic human having a rage attack over an insignificant puddle of vomit on the stairs. You’d look pretty unimpressed too.
Cats clearly have an excellent understanding of quantum uncertainty too – that’s why they always want to be in two places at once, often both inside and outside the back door. Schrodinger’s cat was no idle thought experiment – in fact it revealed something fundamental about the nature of cats – something that puny humans can’t fully comprehend with our less advanced brains.
There also has to be an explanation for why cats are always soooo tired. I thought I’d found the answer when I read Posy Simmond‘s lovely book Fred, about a sleepy cat whose owners find out after his death that he was in fact a rock star by night (and therefore very tired by day). But now I think this was an elaborate cover-up organised by cats.
If you’ve ever woken a cat from its almost endless snoozing, you’ll know that vaguely irritated look they give you, as if you’ve interrupted an extremely important dream. They stretch in an exaggeratedly exhausted way, and look at you as if to say ‘what do you want now?’
My theory also explains the very one-sided relationship between cats and humans – it’s almost abusive, but that’s never bothered me. I’m quite happy to serve them in any way I can. Perhaps because that’s exactly the way the cats want it…
I think cats’ superiority might also be why we find it so funny on the rare occasions when they do stupid things – because on some level we realise how unusual and strange this is. It’s also why cats look so extremely embarrassed when you see them falling off a chair or into a pond (my cats have done both these things).
So next time your cat is being ‘unreasonable’, try to consider the world from his or her point of view. If you were busy creating everything with your mind, would you care that 6am is not a convenient time to be fed? Or that some human wanted your spot on the sofa? Just stop and think about the stress they’re under – no wonder they need to unwind with some string every now and then. You’d look smug too if you were in charge of everything.