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.
Edward Snowden has finally been granted temporary asylum in Russia. My sources tell me that North Korea was happy to take him, too, but their only airplane is grounded at Pyongyang airport after the pedals fell off. Snowden, you may recall, is the man who exposed the extent to which America spies on its own citizens. A noble cause indeed, although it´s rather undermined by fleeing to a country that … spies on its own people. According to siliconangle.com, back in 2000 Putin introduced a new law that made it possible for eight different intelligence agencies to access all internet
US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has left the Moscow airport where he has been staying since June, his lawyer told the BBC. Anatoly Kucherena said Mr Snowden had received the necessary papers to enter Russian territory from the transit zone at Sheremetyevo Airport. Russia is currently considering his request for asylum. The US has charged Mr Snowden with leaking details of its electronic surveillance programmes.
National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander jousted with a few hecklers as he defended the U.S. spy agency´s surveillance programs at the Black Hat security conference on Wednesday, but largely kept the crowd of cybersecurity experts and hackers on his side. ´Read the Constitution!´ one heckler shouted at the 61-year-old four-star general as he responded to polite but tough questions selected in advance by conference organizers. ´I have. So should you,´ Alexander shot back, triggering sustained applause. The four-star general, who wore uniform shirt sleeves, was the opening keynote speaker at the annual convention in Las Vegas
With only thin justifications, NSA agents have been spying on Americans online without a warrant- reading emails, chats and browsing histories. Today, The Guardian broke down the process by which NSA analysts tap internet activity by publishing a training guide used to introduce new analysts to X-Keyscore. Described as the ´widest-ranging´ database, X-Keyscore allows analysts to wiretap basically anyone. Snowden was referring to the system when he said in June: ‘I, sitting at my desk can wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email.’
Every cat owner likes to think they share a special bond with their feline friend, but experts believe that many people might be missing the chance to communicate effectively. Britain´s leading cat charity has produced a video guide to cat behaviour after a study found many owners struggle to understand their pet. The Cats Protection video dispels popular myths such as cats licking their lips when they are hungry or wanting their tummies scratched when they roll over. Animal lovers are often at a loss to explain why their cat extends its tail upwards or rubs against them.
This morning Suzanne Moore has written a typically pugnacious piece in the Guardian attacking what she calls “the anti-feminist backlash”. According to Suzanne, the “Right-wing establishment and its lackeys” are launching a “pre-emptive strike” on the feminist movement. Examples of these lackeys range from Liam Gallagher, through to our own James Delingpole and Toby Young, to Iain Duncan Smith. Even poor old Nick Clegg gets a good shellacking. “Women haven´t won,” she writes, “we are losing our hard-won rights. [Snip] But Suzanne Moore is wrong on one very important point: men aren’t cowed by modern feminism, we’re laughing at
Britain´s diplomatic war with Spain over the Rock of Gibraltar escalated today after border guards turned away truck loads of concrete thought to be destined for a crucial infrastructure project. The Foreign Office issued a strongly worded statement demanding an explanation from Spain, saying the situation was "wholly unacceptable". Express Online has discovered that lorries containing concrete were refused entry at the border yesterday. It is understood the concrete was earmarked for the expansion of an artificial reef off the coast of Gibraltar, a project that has infuriated Spain. The Gibraltar government, which has already protested about what appeared to
Today, Lord Howell is a former Cabinet minister, George Osborne’s father in-law and one of the most decent and thoughtful men in public life. He has also suddenly come to more widespread attention after becoming embroiled in one of those ridiculous rows in which the British governing class now specialises. Earlier this week, Howell dared to volunteer an opinion that parts of the North of England should be used for fracking, because they are empty and “desolate”. It was as though he had proposed carpet-bombing Sunderland. Inevitably, the peer had to apologise for what he tells this
A never-before-heard tape of Monica Lewinsky telling then-President Bill Clinton that she could ´take all my clothes off´ if he agreed to an illicit meeting with her has reportedly surfaced. The tape, which records the White House intern desperately trying to lure him into meeting her, was reportedly released to the National Enquirer after it was obtained by a cleaner hired by friends of Lewinsky. It was long thought that the raunchy four-minute tape, which was recorded in November 1997, had been destroyed after the sexual affair was revealed in 1998, according to the Enquirer. The recording, made months after
In 1936, a grandson of Robert Peel, the great Victorian prime minister, travelled to the British mandate of Palestine to settle the conflict between Arabs and Jews. Why do I mention this? Well, the solution proposed by Lord Peel’s commission in 1937 is, in all essentials, the same as the one that John Kerry, the US secretary of state, urged upon the two enemies when he opened the peace talks in Washington on Tuesday. That solution is the partition of the Holy Land into two states, Israel and Palestine. “To both Arabs and Jews, partition offers a prospect – and
The US economy grew at an annualised pace of 1.7% in the second quarter of the year, the Commerce Department has said. That was a faster pace than expected by economists. It was also up from the growth rate for the first three months of 2013, which was revised lower to 1.1% from 1.8%. A slowdown was widely expected due to the impact of federal spending cuts, but also from the continuing weakness in the global economy. In March, $85bn (£56bn) of public spending was cut as a result of a deal between Democrat and Republican politicians.
Today would have been Milton Friedman’s hundred-and-first birthday. The Chicago economist is already acquiring that almost Homeric status that normally comes only decades after a man’s death. Perhaps social media have speeded up the process, or perhaps it’s the fact that Friedman’s strongest enthusiasts are often students with no direct memory of their hero. Friedman’s ghost speaks to us through YouTube. The interviews he recorded in the 1970s remain as persuasive an exposition of free-market economics as you’ll find, and are cult viewing among young libertarians. It comes almost as a shock to be
Mark Levin, who hosts one of America´s top radio talk shows and is considered by supporters to be the people´s pundit on the Constitution, is rallying his 8.5 million-strong audience to demand an historic convention of state governments to halt the "oppressive power" of the federal government. The author of two New York Times bestsellers on the threats to the Constitution, Levin hopes his latest, "The Liberty Amendments," out mid-August, will spark the state lawmakers to tap a rarely used Constitutional provision to institute measures that would brake President Obama´s use of executive orders, bar thousand-page laws and
The former commander of special operations in Northern Africa told a closed-door briefing today that he was largely detached from events the night of the Benghazi attack as he was traveling at the time. The testimony of Col. George H. Bristol, USMC, Former Commander, Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara, Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command Africa, had been eagerly anticipated by members of Congress. Originally, lawmakers had been told by the Defense Department that he had retired — the actual date is Aug. 1, an “administrative error” according to the Pentagon — and that they didn’t have
FORNEY, Texas - George Zimmerman, the former Florida neighborhood watch leader cleared of all charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, was pulled over for speeding in North Texas on Sunday, CBS DFW reports. According to the station, Zimmerman was armed when officers pulled him over on Highway 80 in Forney, east of Dallas. (Snip) The officer reportedly did not recognize Zimmerman, who was driving a Honda pickup. Zimmerman told the officer he was armed and was then told to put the weapon in his glove compartment, according to the station.
Arizona Sen. John McCain was the Republican Party´s 2008 presidential nominee and he still wants the keys to the Oval Office. But he is beginning to sound more like a fan of likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. "She´s a rock star," he said in a newly released interview. "She has, maybe not glamour, but certainly the aura of someone widely regarded throughout the world," he added in a reference to her work as secretary of State. McCain, reportedly trying to win back his reputation as a GOP maverick, was asked by the New Republic
President Obama has been rolling up his sleeves campaigning across the country delivering a surreal stump speech message supposedly aimed at the middle class: big government works, Obamacare is manna from heaven, the wave of recent scandals are “phony” figments of the imagination, and all economic problems are the fault of the Republicans. Conveniently, he leaves out the bankruptcy of Detroit, a city run by his own party for more than half a century. His message is so stale and unconvincing, that even The New York Times and Washington Post have noticed. Both papers, usually loyal to Obama, remarked that
Gotta figure her lead would be even bigger without Joe Miller in the field here. Her nomination for the taking? Alaska should be a top tier pick up opportunity for Senate Republicans next year…but their top choice of a candidate is Sarah Palin. 36% of GOP primary voters in the state say they’d like Palin to be their standard bearer against Mark Begich to 26% for Mead Treadwell, 15% for Dan Sullivan, and 12% for Joe Miller.
Embattled Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner and an attorney in the Federal Election Commission’s general counsel’s office appear to have twice colluded to influence the record before the FEC’s vote in the case of a conservative non-profit organization, according to e-mails unearthed by the House Ways and Means Committee and obtained exclusively by National Review Online. The correspondence suggests the discrimination of conservative groups extended beyond the IRS and into the FEC, where an attorney from the agency’s enforcement division in at least one case sought and received tax information about the status of a conservative group,
Sen. John McCain — a Democrat? There was confusion Wednesday after the Arizona Republican mistakenly strolled into President Obama’s meeting with Senate Democrats at the Capitol. The room full of Democrats — who happened to be meeting in the same room where the Senate GOP usually holds their weekly policy luncheons — erupted in applause and laughter as the former Republican presidential candidate made his entrance. As McCain, 76, walked out of the Dem-filled space, reporters pressed him as to why he stepped foot in the room.
Serial sexter Anthony Weiner’s wife partly blamed herself last year when her horndog husband confessed to her that he was at it again. Friends and family told People magazine that Huma Abedin was kicking herself at the time for bailing out of couples counseling and focusing more on their newborn baby boy. But, thanks to a new round of joint therapy that continues even now, the couple was able to put the relapse behind them. “They really became a unit, and she feels much closer to Anthony now,” a relative told the magazine. That’s a long way from how Abedin
In an interview on National Public Radio (NPR), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said her new agenda for women will give mothers access to day care so they can “earn without carrying the burden of child care.” During the interview, aired on Weekend Edition Sunday, Pelosi spoke about her newly announced agenda, which is on her website, and is titled, “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds: An Economic Agenda for Women and Families,” a plan that includes universal pre-school and access to day care for working women, and an increase in the minimum wage.
In preparation for the release of Oscar-bait film The Butler, Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, and director Lee Daniels (Precious) sat down with Parade magazine. The film chronicles a butler (Whitaker) who works in the White House through seven administrations. Winfrey plays the butler’s wife. In the interview, Winfrey explained her sadness that so few Americans know about the history of the civil rights movement: “They don’t know diddly-squat. Diddly-squat.” She then said of the historic use of the n-word, “I always think of the millions of people who heard that as their last
In her first speech since taking over the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy came out swinging Tuesday and promised to ramp up the aggressive climate change agenda laid out by President Obama.(snip)“Can we stop talking about environmental regulations killing jobs? Please, at least for today,” she said during remarks at Harvard Law School. “We need to cut carbon pollution to grow jobs. We need to cut carbon pollution to strengthen the economy. Let’s talk about it positively. Let’s approach this as an opportunity of a lifetime. There are too many lifetimes at stake.”