Monday, November 26, 2012

The Lack of Empathy of Cats

On some other occasion, a child cruelly labelled my cat and we cruelly took photographs.

My cat is back. He was gone these last three days. No one knew where he was. Camping, perhaps. A week before, he'd done the same thing—gone feral for a few days, a plump kernel of corn returning to native maize. Then, at 5 AM, there he was, at my back door, making his patented screech owl-choking-cry. I opened the door.

I want food, he explained. And I was so glad to see him, this cat-for-hire in search of cans of special urinary tract management food. He's back, I thought, truly as if my life were to be greatly enhanced by the continued presence of an enormous, long-haired cat who expresses his love through open-clawed massage.

And then he left again. Disappeared. I should have taken him to the vet. He's hiding because he's ill. Perhaps, now, he's already dead. Clearly, we needed to run hundreds of dollars worth of tests. Ma'am, your cat is just an asshole. There's nothing else wrong with him. Please pay at the front desk. I should have taken out pet insurance. Let us cover the mirrors and dress in black. Let us think of ten good things about Marmalade. Are there ten good things?

Mikalh made this:

This morning again: Mrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaoooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He's back! This is starting to be fun, to have a ritual quality. Or to be dysfunctional, like a marriage that needs to end. I am going to insist that my cat get some counseling or I am leaving him. He acts exactly as if nothing has occurred, but wants two cans of the expensive food.

"Do you realize," I ask him, "the impact this has on me?"

He doesn't. Wherever he has been, nursing wounds or traveling the block, my feelings clearly did not enter into it. One can always count on the lack of empathy of cats. But, since he is here, he will not forget me. He has eaten, bathed, and done his yoga. It is important, he reminds me, to take care of oneself first. Now we can think of others. It is the time to sit in my lap while I am trying to type. He purrs like a muffled shekere, digs his knife-sharp claws into my thighs. Don't you like it? He bites if I interfere and raises his rear into my face. The tail goes under my nose.

I do love you, says the cat.

"Yes," I tell him. "I know. Now get down."


  1. Sounds like any one of my cats! They don't go outside, but just last night I told my husband that if our male cats were humans, they'd be sociopathic murderers.

    P.S. - I love the Star Wars figures!

  2. Oh Lord! Yes, this is familiar to me. I have a house full of cats. Literally. When people ask how many I tell them I don't know, because I refuse to count them. It makes me feel less like a crazy cat lady/hoarder. I love your picture too. My Bufus somehow got a heart sticker stuck to his butt and I have pictures... my cat with the heart tattoo. :-)
    Thanks for the laugh! I needed that!

  3. I don't have cats, but I've had many cat-people for friends over the years and enjoyed their cats, and so I love this post! Dryly funny and unsentimental!


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Faith in Ambiguity by Tara Adams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License