Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is. - Oscar Wilde
Animation, Art, and Other Shiny Things
In taking a stroll through the blog here I noticed a definite trend: Cats.
You would think that I would’ve noticed it before – this is my blog and these are my posts – but then the forest is indeed hard to see when amidst the trees. I just write what catches my attention and post it if I can actually finish the piece and it appears to make sense. (I have a seriously overloaded Draft folder of posts in progress…)
Between the animals we’ve domesticated and the habitats we’ve encroached on, humanity is living amongst a pretty sizable menagerie. Arguably the most interesting beast on the urban landscape is the Crow. One of the few, if not the only, truly omnivorous bird. (well, maybe pigeons are too, but they aren’t even half as interesting as crows.) Check out the PBS Nature episode A Murder of Crows for a great look at one of the most intelligent creatures on earth. (full episode streaming goodness! A digression, certainly, but a worthy one…)
On the micro-urban landscape, at least on mine, the most interesting beast is the common house cat.
Now, about this blog’s trend; If you’re waiting for an apology and a heartfelt promise to balance my posts more between cats, dogs, and perhaps even the occasional budgie, well…. I do feel bad for you because you won’t be getting one, and if you’ve read any of my blog, you know how deeply I care about my readers and their feelings.
And really, when it comes right down to it, I’m a “cat person” anyways.
No offense to dogs. I’ve had some great friendships with dogs – grew up with them – like ’em in general. (except for those little nervous, yappy things)
There are some distinct advantages to cats over other domestic pets, not the least being that they all come in generally the same size: About 650 cubic inches in volume; two-fifths of a cubic foot. (empirically speaking, actual cat size is completely independent from the size the cat thinks it is) This handy, standardized size means that accessories and furnishings are consistent as well. No problem of having to check the size on that collar that catches your eye when it’s for a cat.
Another major bonus is that a cat does not need to be walked. In fact it’s contraindicated in the vast majority of cases. While initially trying to take your cat on “walkies” it is more of a test-of-wills drag or perhaps a spirited rodeo-on-a-rope, eventually though Muhammad will come to the mountain – and you are that mountain. Easy access to a First Aid kit is an essential precaution should you decide to attempt this feat.
Thirdly, and the most fascinating to me, is that a cat does not rely on it’s humans to define it’s self worth, and they make that very evident. A nice, self-contained psyche. This does not mean you can’t play mind games with a member of the feline persuasion, I make it a point to do just that, (I have a diploma from the Monty Python School of Cat Confusion [correspondence] so it’s OK.) but be aware that you can lose a battle of wits to a cat and they modify your behavior.
These things alone make it easy to quickly find yourself with your very own pride of domestic lions prowling the living room savanna.
To further complicate the matter try walking into your local rescue shelter then doing a bit of math. Assuming a 1000 square foot home, seven foot 2 inches in height, you get about 7,160 cu ft of volume, enough space to fit nearly 18 thousand cats! Now, stacking cats like cord wood is a practical nightmare, ask anyone who’s attempted to put a single feline in a box without said tabby’s consent.
In practical terms, however, our home is beholden to the ubiquitous force of gravity so we really can’t think of it as a volume, but rather as a collection of potentially grimalkin-laden surfaces. In looking around my local habitat there appears to be about 5 percent of the floor area Izzy can’t access, however in most cases there is a corresponding surface atop the offending furniture item. Assuming a cat covers about three-quarters of a square foot this makes our cat potentiality just over 1300 felines.
Unsurprisingly one can assume that as cat density rises, cat attitude drops, and it would be in the best interest of our health to factor that in. Averaging the take-no-prisoners temper of Jazmine with the inquisitive acceptance of Izzy I come up with a reduction factor of 15 making our herd about 86 and a tail. (you’re free to check the math yourself) This allows for nearly 12 square feet of area per cat.
86 is still a largish number but can logistically be managed assuming that small-space cat herding is your primary occupation and you have a small personal fortune to finance truckloads of kibble, the salary of a full-time veterinarian, and annual furniture replacement.
And this is how a crazy cat lady is created; by doing the math. And by doing those calculations and coming up with numbers that sound perfectly reasonable it becomes easy to consider adopting a whole wall of caged cats from the rescue shelter.
Yet it’s also those beautifully precise figures that illustrate the fact that there are just too many kitties for one crazy cat person to save, no matter how many square feet per feline. We could adopt every cat from every shelter and by next week their cages would be re-filled.
So what can we do to make a difference (short of convincing neighbors and friends to become crazy cat ladies)?
Adopt a cat. Fix the cat. Love the cat. When your cat passes on – do it again.
You can be a crazy cat lady with a single cat. I am.