Thursday, January 30, 2014

Confessions of a Cat Lover

Confessions of a Cat Lover was written for, and first published in Complete Wellbeing magazine, Volume VIII, Issue No.2, December 2013.

The world is polarised between dog-lovers and cat-lovers. While no one likes to find fault with dogs as they are the eternal symbol of best-friendship; cats, unfortunately, are notoriously victimised by the anti-feline. Just last night; I had a big argument with someone I had just met, endangering our budding friendship. The polemical debate? He, a dog-lover and cat-hater, versus I, a cat-worshipper, indifferent to dogs.

The ardent cat lover that I am, it breaks my heart to see how much these gentle beings are misunderstood and subjected to extreme psychoanalysis. The first words of accusation that spurt out of the professed cat-haters being that cats are emblematic of cunningness, stealth, and deceit! Moreover, there is a strong case for why cats are favoured more by women, as I learned to my horror during the argument. As my otherwise-friendly friend put it, women are like cats – they fake affection to go after a fisherman with their tail perked up, and when they gain their prized piece of fish, they turn their backs, flick their tails and strut away in smugness. The fisherman is forgotten, along with his act of kindness, for now the cat has gotten what she wanted. If you haven’t picked up on the analogy already, he was hinting at the ­­capricious nature of women to enchant unsuspecting ‘innocent’ men, catch them in their nets, and cast them away after satisfying themselves with their own version of fish. I had begun to lose track mid-way of the quarrel as to whether we were defending our respective preferred animals at all.

I therefore have to see myself as this defender of cats—and no, that does not entitle you to call me ‘Cat-Woman’. Though, with the incidental alliteration that my name has with my favourite animal, I am sometimes given the sobriquet of “Catty”. I don’t see why these benign creatures should be seen as anything other than divine manifestations of angel-like serenity and beauty. C’mon, they were deified by the Egyptians!

Other than dissecting cats psychologically, including accusing them of being lazy and selfish, dog-lovers [read cat-haters] have this compulsion of dismissing them as good-for- nothing, unlike dogs [the ferocious hounds score brownie points for their knack of assisting mankind with their intense sense of smell, memory, alertness, loyalty, blah-blah].

Objection, my lords and ladies! How can you afford to shut your eyes to all the cleaning up you have to do running after their poop? As for cats, I doubt there is another creature with such an intrinsic sense of cleanliness. What about all the ruckus dogs create with their incessant barking at the hint of a guest at home, not to forget the street-dogs that either rouse you from your slumber, or never let you sleep at all? Case-in-point: I am constantly asked by bewildered friends when I talk on the phone, what I am doing out on the roads or in my balcony at mid-night; and each time I have to tell them that being in the innermost room of my house on the 4th floor is not sound-proof enough to shut out all the barking coming from the roads.

Cats, on the other hand, are the most peaceful companions for all ages. They radiate a sort of Zen, with their calm demeanour and closed eyes – a picture of pure meditation and tranquillity; you can almost see the halo.

Yes, cats do have a mischievous streak to them! Take the scratches on my arms and legs, for example. I have sometimes noticed the questioning look in strangers’ eyes, wondering if they are signs of domestic abuse. Or when my favourite piece of fried pomfret vanishes into thin air, the second I look away from my plate. Oh, but aren’t these just adorable idiosyncrasies that come along with the package? They bring out the inner strength in me when I face the tirade of censure I receive from my mother when she finds the blanket full of cat-fur, or the freshly mopped floor with little paw-marks of dirt from the garden. Or the hollering I hear from dad when he gets bitten, only because he stepped on mademoiselle’s tail that was so impudently laid right where he placed his foot. Ah, the pleasure of defending my love. Makes a true knight in shining armour out of me, eh?

I must say that a wave of change is now coming. Thanks to Facebook celebrity Grumpy Cat, cats are now being viewed more respectfully, or at least the grumpier versions of them. They are now seen as paragons of sarcasm and in-your-face retorts that I am sure many of you secretly envy them for. They will stand no nonsense, nor bow down to doggish slavery. They are their own masters and command human subservience. The debate of superiority between cats and dogs ends thus-
Dog: Humans feed me, pet me and love me. They must be god.
Cat: Humans feed me, pet me and love me. I must be god!

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