Beyond the hard-to-refute argument that they are the world’s most useless animals, cats appear to have everything going their way. In the past 20 years, they have overtaken dogs to become Britain’s most popular pet, relentlessly raised their social profile, and colonised the internet to such an extent that Google has now installed special programmes to monitor their advance. For what can appear, at first acquaintance, to be a small, fur-coated, heat-seeking digestive tract that sleeps 16 hours a day, this is some achievement. Not that the cats show any signs of easing up. Last week they pulled off another
Comments: Please don´t indulge in naughty remarks (which will get the thread closed). This is a funny piece and invites funny--but nice--responses.
#1, no, those are ´Rats...not cats. Cats will hopefully run the ´rats out of Washington DC. I already think my kitties have been making a plan to eliminate the ´rats. Even my big fat Whitey-cat has learned to master some stealth moves to protect his territory. He even surprised big macho Stranger and showed his dominance (neck hold) in a stealth pounce that made the big macho cat cry!!
When I lived in Rome, stray cats were everywhere, and I mean everywhere. They inhabited the Colosseum (famous for its cat population) and the streets. I did have a couple of cats in Rome, both rescued. But my favorite feline was one that my boyfriend and I rescued from the U.S. Embassy parking lot. She was about ten days old, barely having opened her eyes. We heard her mewing from our open window; her mother had been hit by a car. We brought her to work in a shoe box and fed with an ear cleaner (!). She learned to hold her "bottle" with her front paws. She was a pretty little tiger whom we named Charlie and nicknamed "Chuck". As Charlie grew older she had a habit of stealing loose change and bills lying around and stashing them under the couch. We joked that she was just saving for a rainy day. Once I took a picture of her walking out onto my terrace with my checkbook in her mouth; she was smaller than the checkbook, still being a kitten!
The article is quite a nice confection. Perfect for a Sunday. The writer´s take, his viewpoint, his gentle [and appreciative] wryness, and his writing talent are all appreciated and necessary in making this piece.
There are some wonderful lines in it. Examples include "a small, fur-coated, heat-seeking digestive tract that sleeps 16 hours a day" and "furred Reich." Discover more on reading.
But it led me to think the old observation, that "dogs have owners, cats have staff," could be wrong. Certainly, those roles appear to be operative. But dogs must have "owner"-provided support activities daily. Period. Cats one can leave to themselves for a day or two. Well, as long as you don´t mind the possibility of coming home to a surprise from time to time.
This dolt doesn´t understand the primal significance of cats to human civilization itself.
Cats were what made Sumeria´s ancient civilization possible for one. The kitties ate the rats that ate the grain supplies, allowing human beings to stock piles of grain to get through the winter and beyond instead of spending all their time hitting rats with brooms and shovels. With the cats taking care of that vital job - cripes, it was the food supply! - human beings had lots of extra leisure time to build walled cities and trade with each other. They weren´t spending all their time swatting rats. The surplus grain saved by the cats allowed the creation of more than just bread from the grain too - beermaking was the other thing Sumerians learned to make with their excess grain stocks, and a fine thing that is. Without the cats, the beer would not have been possible.
Cats have been present in every single great civilization in the ancient world because they played a VITAL role in protecting the grain supplies from mice and rats. They were there and revered in Sumeria, in ancient Persia, among the Assyrians, the Hittites, the Inca, even Mohammad just loved cats. They all understood the vital role cats played in enabling civilization to flourish. For that, human beings own kitties a debt of gratitude and should be happy to pamper them as beloved pets forever more.
#12 Yes, I read those stories. And when I was pregnant my husband didn´t let me near the litter box. Besides, I have had cats (I have six now) ever since I can remember. I dare say more people died from the Black Death than from cats infecting us. I´ll take my chances.
FTA: ´´The times we live in are less sociable, more self-fixated than most of us have known before, but cats have known little else, and now we may have to look to them for guidance.´´
Apocalypse aside, I agree with above posters´ mouse observations. Few folks get to see how naturally useful cats are as perfectly-engineered mousers. Last year, through a sloppily drawn-out remodeling project, we found our crawl space populated by field mice. Our normally-somnolent furball assumed the role of mouse eradicator as if she had been training for it her entire life - with a combination of patience, persistence and ruthlessness I have never seen displayed in canines.
Thank God for cats. My 18 year-old brown tabby died recently, and a more regal, unflappable and loving pet there never was. She would sit by your side, as wise as a sphinx and hold your hand in her paw and pet you by flexing her paw and unflexing it. No one believed it until they experienced it. All the time, she would purr her great and jolly purr. Here´s to you, Tippy, and to all God´s creatures, great and small.
I´ve had cats since I was a toddler and that´s getting on for 70 years now. Until I was around 20, those cats were outdoor/indoor cats. Since then they´ve all been indoors and it´s better that way--for the cat and his or her staff.
The toxoplasmosis scare is overblown. To contract the disease you have to eat infected meat or touch an infected cats feces and then put your fingers to your mouth, is the way I understand it.
I think the way tennis great Martina Navratilova got infected with toxoplasmosis from her cat was that the pet was indoors and walked anywhere it wished.
If the animal is infected, it´s pretty easy for the virus to be passed on. Luckily I haven´t gotten anything that I know of. When we were kids, it was suggested that a dog´s lick was safer than a human´s germs. "Ya can´t get dog diseases. They don´t have human diseases."
Agree, #9. A relative of mine keeps miniature donkeys and some goats. He went to the barn one evening to care for his animals, and was horrified to see dozens of mice running all over. They were attracted to the animal feed.
The next morning, he visited a neighboring farm and adopted some barn kittens. He took them home, fed them, and gave them a nice bunk in the barn. Inside of a week, the rodent population was gone.
I have my 3 cats for 12 years. They´re all loveable and intelligent. They each know their names and certain human words like "food" and "chick-chick" (chicken, a special food for one).
A friend of mine once stated that cats have great basic programming (he was an engineer) and I couldn´t agree more.
Cats are vertical and dogs are horizontal --meaning where they get to. My cats can get on top of the doors, the refrigerator, the closet, etc. They also can open drawers and kitchen cabinet doors to explore inside (looking for mice, no doubt).
In the winter, they sleep with me on top of the covers and electric blanket. My cats can always find the most comfortable spot in the house at any given time.
I have nothing against dogs, it´s just that cats are that much better, especially if they´re 100% indoor felines.
#7 my daughter´s cat woke up the neighbor during a fire the article says it was the woman´s but it was my Corie´s the cat had free roam of the whole building http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/local/metro-west/12008744831494/woman-credits-cat-for-saving-her-from-house-fire/ Love that cat!!
My cat alerted me one night when I put the tea kettle on & forgot about it - it´s not the whistling kind & the cat came to the room where I was & wouldn´t leave me alone until I followed her to the kitchen. She knew something was amiss & she "told"me. Also, in the hours before we had an earthquake in this area, she kept going into the basement & hiding in the corners. Very unusual behavior. I tried to coax her out, but she kept hiding. Again, she knew something was about to go wrong. I also remember a cat my brother had in his awful college apartment. His cat would chase & EAT cockroaches. They earn their keep. Here´s a good joke - if you provide a dog with food, a soft bed & a home, he thinks you are God - if you do the same for a cat, he thinks he´s God!
As I write this, a small companion sits perched on my stomach. He doesn´t read or post on this site, preferring to leave the staff work to me; however, I´m sure he would want me to thank the OP, article author, and other posters for helping to improve my understanding of his needs. I see no Heinlein on this thread yet, so perhaps this:
"Anyone who thinks protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat." -- Robert A. Heinlein
Cats are beguiling. But like everything in nature, they require checks and balances to keep them from overpopulation at which point they would no longer beguile. My method is to keep them in the barn where they can find all they need to sustain them so long as they self limit their population. They keep the rodents from destroying the horse feed and gnawing on the leather tack. Oh, they can leave the barn alright, but if they do so they are likely to be nipped up by a passing coyote. My population control seems to be working. I´ll leave it to others to find their own. And #9, I do appreciate your point about the beer.
The White House has announced that the President and First Lady will be traveling to South Africa next week to pay respects to Nelson Mandela. Mr Obama and his wife Michelle will be attending memorial events for the fallen South African leader but the specific details of when they will arrive or what events they will be attending have not been disclosed. The South African government announced that the formal state funeral will take place on December 15, capping off a 10-day mourning period. The Obamas are just two of a long list of international dignitaries who are expected to
Sasha and Malia Obama helped their dad ring in the holiday season tonight by attending the 91st Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony outside the White House. President Obama joked that he would only count down from five to light the tree, since he didn´t want to keep anyone waiting in the rainy weather. ´It´s a little wet out there, so we shouldn´t start at 10,´ the president said. The president then flipped the switch and the tree sprung into multicolored life. The dramatic lighting was followed by performances from Aretha Franklin, who sang ´Joy to the World´, and Mariah Carey.
Family doctors have been accused of failing cancer sufferers after the first ever GP league tables found more than half are not referring such patients to specialists quickly enough. [Snip] Experts said the failure to refer patients quickly explained Britain’s place at the bottom of European league tables, with worse survival rates for major cancers than many countries in Eastern Europe. The national performance data--which covers all 8,000 GP practices in England--enables patients to look up their own surgery, and see how it performs against dozens of indicators about diagnosis and treatment of most of the common diseases and
Almost 50 Russian diplomats and members of their families have been charged in a massive health care fraud scheme, officials announced Thursday. Federal officials allege that 58 of the 63 births to Russian officials living in New York between 2004 and 2013 were fraudulently paid for by Medicare at a cost of roughly $1.5million to US taxpayers. The Russians were applying for these benefits while emptying their pockets at famed stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Jimmy Choo’s, Prada and Tiffany & Co, officials said. The fraudsters carried out the plan by applying for a range of benefits, including Medicare, by falsifying information
A blind pensioner was left lying on the pavement for an hour and a half, waiting for an ambulance after she fell over and broke several teeth. Dorothy Andrew, 75, who walks with a white stick, was left in pain by the side of the road in Southport, despite frantic calls to emergency services. After more than 90 minutes police officers, who had arrived at the scene, took her to Southport Hospital in their patrol car. [Snip] ‘An hour and a half later, we were still waiting for an ambulance. The police were concerned that I was very cold so they took the decision to try and get me in the police car and take me to hospital themselves, which they did.
"You know nothing about Nelson Mandela," spat Julius Malema. It was May 2010, and a foreign correspondent had just asked the African National Congress’s fire-breathing youth leader how he dared compare himself to the secular saint the world is mourning today. In the Western imagination, Mandela stood for racial reconciliation, whereas Malema was given to referring to whites as "criminals" and "the enemy". Mandela also stood for justice, whereas Malema was an open admirer of the murderous Robert Mugabe. At first glance, Malema’s presumption seemed obscene, but he was right on at least one score--the truth about Mandela
Here´s some weapons-grade drivel from the Government´s Environmental Audit Committee. (What else did you expect from a panel chaired by Tim ´Trougher´ Yeo?) Globally, subsidies for fossil fuels exceed $500 billion a year. They are inconsistent with the global effort to tackle climate change, providing incentives for greater use of such fuels and disincentives for energy efficiency. [Snip] We´ve been here before, haven´t we? Lots of times. This fossil-fuels-more-subsidised-than-renewables meme has been spread, inter alia, by the Guardian´s ludicrous Damian Carrington; by Labour MP Barry "Dork Brain" Gardiner (Vice President of the sinister GLOBE international);
I have never been much of a conspiracy theorist. For me it was always Oswald by himself from the Texas School Book Depository and nothing in the intervening fifty years has disabused me of this notion. For the most part, I’m an Occam’s Razor kind of guy — the most obvious explanation is likely to be true. (Snip) To put it bluntly, Occam’s Razor has moved. Things that were once possibilities now seem almost certainties to me. Principal among those is that Obama’s academic records are perpetually unavailable for a reason — and that reason is most likely that they reveal
Last summer on his $100 million family tour of Africa, Barack Obama hoped for a priceless photo op with Nelson Mandela, the ailing freedom pioneer who went from prison cell to the presidency of South Africa. Mandela´s family suggested that wouldn’t happen. So, the Obamas did a photo op in Mandela´s former prison cell. Which Obama’s White House quickly tweeted upon word of the icon´s passing at 95. [Skip] But Obama was also caught staring at television coverage of Mandela’s passing, which became Obama’s Photo of the Day.
Hardly a week goes by without Hillary Clinton receiving another award. Last month she was named a “Global Champion” by the International Medical Corps, received the American Patriot Award at the National Defense University Foundation and the Hermandad Award from the Mexican American Leadership Initiative. [Snip] At this rate, if a bunch of elderly left-wing Swedes toss her the Nobel Peace Prize early on, the way they did to Obama, it will barely rate mention among all the other glittering trophies that have been bestowed on a woman whose only actual accomplishment was being married to a crooked governor with
Speaker John Boehner said his party should support gay Republican congressional candidates and urged his colleagues to “be a little more sensitive” when running against women. “Some of our members just aren’t as sensitive as they ought to be,” Boehner said. When asked if he thinks his party should support gay candidates, Boehner simply said: “I do.”
In February, the Bush family’s personal emails were hacked by Guccifer, a hacker who uncovered photographs of former President George H. W. Bush in a hospital bed and George W. Bush’s oil paintings in the process. It seems Guccifer has struck again, this time targeting former President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Library. The hacker has reportedly uncovered doodles of Clinton drawing on what were, at the time, classified documents. Among the doodles is apparently a picture of a penis. The document uncovered is a briefing of the strategic measures the United States could take prior Clinton’s decision to intervene in
Denver - A baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony must serve gay couples despite his religious beliefs or face fines, a judge said Friday. The order from administrative law judge Robert N. Spencer said Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver discriminated against a couple "because of their sexual orientation by refusing to sell them a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage." The order says the cake-maker must "cease and desist from discriminating" against gay couples. Although the judge did not impose fines in this case, the business will face penalties if it continues to turn away gay
Amid an array of “knock-out” attacks against a number of Jews in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood, a city councilwoman pointed to the success of the Jewish community as triggering the aggression. Councilwoman-elect Laurie Cumbo emphasized that while she “admire[s] the Jewish community immensely” for its work ethic, black teens may see it differently. “While I personally regard this level of tenacity, I also recognize that for others, the accomplishments of the Jewish community triggers feelings of resentment, and a sense that Jewish success is not also their success,” Cumbo, who was recently elected, wrote in a letter. Chief among the issues