Living in cat city: the case for kitties

One of the things about writing a weekly essay about the things you love is that you appreciate life’s blessings more. You notice ’em going by, because you’re telling people why they are cool. Case in point: babbling about my dead cat Buddha last week reminded me that cats are, in fact, one of my favorite things ever!

Cats! Kitties! Itty bitty fuzzy wuzzy kitty babies! They are soft and companionable, except when they’re sharp-edged, anti-social, barfing in the night, or insisting that it’s your turn to get up and fetch them a beer.

(This be mah baby boy, Rumble. He has never once fetched me a beer).

Like a lot of childless adults, I treat the current cats, Rumble and Minnow, pretty much as substitute kids. Oh, when I was twenty and we got our firstborn, Obiwan, I declared that I wasn’t going to be the person who refers to herself as Mommy. That lasted maybe six months.

I write them songs. I get all charmed when they learn to open locked cabinets and hide treats in there. You know, so they’ll open the locked cabinet and go Hey, Treat! And then do it some more. Even though actually having the cabinet looted twice daily is really annoying. Yes, this does kinda tell you who is the brains of this particular domestic operation.

I am not, however, the most cat-centric person I know. That honor must go to hard SF writer Peter Watts, who is pretty upfront about which species he prefers and why dogs and most humans are lesser beings in every way. Peter followed Rumble’s kittenhood from afar, demanding updates and photos. He put Rumble in Behemoth (as a head cheese, but still). Peter has even been gracious enough to forgive Rumble for absolutely refusing to have anything to do with him, ever.

Peter Watts once wrote a passionate adopt-a-cat love letter to a beat-up street feline named Banana. Then when offers poured in to adopt him, he was all: “WTF, people? You can’t have my baby!!”

Banana leads a very calm and trauma-free life now:
Cats of Watts

It is a rule at Chez Watts that if you are in the kitchen and Chip the cat requests it–which he does–you will put butter on your nose and let him lick it off. Peter is not a guy who’s paying lip service to feline love, if you know what I mean.

Chip, who incidentally will always leave just enough butter on your nose to squick you out:
Cats of Watts

But enough about Peter, even if he is such an amazing and awesome writer that I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you to drop everything and go read Blindsight right now, and then start on his Rifters series with its opener, Starfish. This is about cats!

Arguments in favor of cats:

You can leave them alone for the weekend and they’re fine. Try doing that with a comparably sized human and you will go to jail.

They keep away the vermin! They kill mice and lick spiders to death (except for Milos, who once let a wolf spider the size of a donkey wander all over him, with a look on his face of: “Oh, I have a friend. As for you, I like that you’re waving a broom. Performance art, perhaps? And you’re screaming… why?”)

We need them more than they need us: The World Without Us says that if humans vanish from the face of the planet, the cats will be fine, thank you.

They are photogenic! Too wet or cold to go out and take pictures?
(This be my baby girl, Minnow).

They can be toilet trained! Okay, most of us don’t make the effort, because who wants to have to wait until Kitty is done with the bathroom, but how cool is that?

Cats are science-friendly: Remember that Schrödinger guy? Or say you’re worried that the laws of physics may have changed in the night while you were asleep? Cats will be only too hapy to throw a family heirloom off a high shelf to reassure you that up is still not down.

What do your cats do to make your life ever more a paradise?

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Alyx Dellamonica lives in Vancouver, B.C. and makes her living writing science fiction and fantasy. Her first novel, Indigo Springs was released in 2009 to rave reviews. She also reviews books and teaches writing online at the UCLA Extension Writers' Program.

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15 Responses to “Living in cat city: the case for kitties”

  1. kormantic says:

    I like cats and cats like me. My lungs have separate opinions on cats, however. Even so: hooray, cats! (boo, allergy triggered asthma!)

  2. Rebecca Stefoff says:

    Awww, Rumble and Minnow. Not to mention Banana and Chip.

    I can’t begin to enumerate the things that Xerxes does to make life ever more paradisal chez us, but one of his endearing habits is to run to the door, squeak for his leash (never goes outside unless leashed), and then, when I say “paw” and “other paw,” obligingly raise first one and then the other so that I can put on his harness. No doubt he thinks I’m the one doing the trick that would be mildly amusing if performed by a rather slow two-year-old.

  3. kelly says:

    Life without cats is not worth living.

  4. Laura Shapiro says:

    I adore cats, always have. And it’s a mark of my deep appreciation for them that even as I gently mock the Internet for its excess of cat pictures and videos, I still go and look at them all. And enjoy posts like yours.

    Also, there was that one time when I vidded my cat.

  5. Melodie says:

    What’s the point without cats?

    Nonexistent, is what.

  6. Penni says:

    My cat is pure evil and I still love her.

  7. Matt says:

    You are quite good at taking cat pictures, by the way. Surely there’s a way to profit from this? (I’m no expert, but I think pictures of cats on the internet could REALLY CATCH ON BIG)

  8. Thank you! I’m good at taking pictures of my cats; Peter shot Banana and Chip himself.

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