Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Take Your Cat to Work Day is Stupid

This weekend I became aware of a movement to institute a national "Take Your Cat to Work Day". Apparently, somebody who doesn't own a cat decided that this would be a good idea, and now I am going to have to spend considerable time convincing my human companions that this is a bad idea. A very bad idea.

If I wanted to go to work I'd get a freaking job. The fact is, I get to spend my days chasing imaginary animals around the house, napping, and begging for food. Why would I want to interrupt this endless pleasure for the monotony of listening to people talk on the phone?

I am sure that lots of people would like the idea of a cute, fuzzy cat hanging around their desk all day. And I'm certainly not going to claim that I don't find occasional pleasure sitting on top of my daddy's desk, swatting at his pencil, and chewing on the papers that he is trying to read. But that is in the comfort of my own home and I don't have to listen to Matilda talk about her rash.

My suggestion is, if you want to take a pet to work, take a dog. (But don't take a Yorkie. They aren't real dogs and they are very annoying.) Or better yet, get a goldfish. You can just leave it on your desk in a little bowl, and then when it dies, you can take it home to feed to your cat.

Friday, April 23, 2010

An Idea

I have an idea for a really neat invention, but since my dad won't let me use power tools, I need some help. I think someone who can drill holes and cut wood should be able to make a prototype very easily. But I'm a cat, so what do I know.

My idea is to take a piece of wood about 8 inches long and drill a hole in it. Then take another piece of wood about 10 inches long and drill a hole in it. Put the two pieces of wood together, taking care to line up the holes. Then pound some nails into the boards so that they stay together.

Turn this assembly on its side and drill a hole into the other holes. Take some string and push it through this hole and then tie it. Repeat the string step 2 more times, so that there are a total of 3 pieces of string tied to the wood.

Next, put the wood on something that is kind of high in the air and let the string hand down. Then step back and watch your kitties play and have fun. I have a lot more ideas like this.

For example, I think somebody should invent something that I will be able to turn on just by thinking about it. This thing will then scamper about like a mouse, but it won't run and hide behind the stove. It would really be cool if this could also fly, because I love to jump real high at flying things. In fact, I love jumping so much that sometimes I do it even when there isn't a flying thing around. But I digress.

My sister Rikki sometimes comes up with ideas, but to be honest, they are not very good. For example, she thought a good toy would be to nail two pieces of wood together, drill a hole in them, attach some string, and then put the wood up real high. I don't know where she gets such silly ideas, but I suspect that she was dropped as a kitten.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Regulation without Representation

It has recently come to my attention that the Obama Administration wants to regulate cat food. In making the announcement Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack called cats "one of our sacred national treasures" and expressed concern that cats might be receiving food that is not worthy of "their elevated status".

I don't know anything about this Vilsack fellow, but what I eat is none of his damn business. He doesn't own me, he doesn't feed me, he doesn't pet me. In fact, he doesn't know me or anything about me. What perverted ideas does this man hold that he thinks he can tell me what I can eat?

Vilsack singled out Tuna and Egg as an example. Tuna and Egg happens to be my favorite treat. I don't get it often, and the thought of never having it again makes me want to hop on a bus and go poop in his shoes. But I don't have money for the bus fare and I doubt that my human companions will let me borrow their credit card.

But a deeper issue is at play here. My limited understanding of American history tells me that the colonists rebelled when England began taxing them without their consent. They disputed the right of the King to tax them while denying them representation. Regulating my food is no different--it is regulation without representation.

The last I checked, I am not allowed to vote. (I'm not allowed to drive either, but that is a different issue for a different day.) Even though I have no voice in electing the President or members of Congress, the federal government now proposes to come along and yank away one of my life's greatest pleasures. And why? Because Vilsack claims that Tuna and Egg contains tuna that isn't fit for human consumption.

Well I've got news for this intellectual retard--I'm not a human. I'm a cat. And I am perfectly happy eating whatever it is in the can labeled Tuna and Egg. Christ, I lick my butt after all. Why does he think I care about the quality of the tuna in my Tuna and Egg? I know why--because he is an intellectual retard.

I've got news for Vilsack. He can have my Tuna and Egg when he pries it from my cold, dead lips.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Nap, Therefore I Am

The French philosopher Rene Descartes is perhaps best known for his statement "Cogito ergo sum", or "I think, therefore I am." This was the foundation of his philosophical system and it had a significant impact on Western philosophy. While others may find great profundity in the statement, I am troubled by it.

Descartes claimed that the fact he could ponder his own existence was evidence of his own existence. But what about all of the other things in the world? Did he doubt their existence? According to my rather limited knowledge of Descartes, he began his "meditations" by doubting all of existence. Upon "proving" his own existence, did he then conclude that other things exist as well? And if so, on what basis? Philosophical cats want to know these things.

It seems to me that I could just as easily "prove" my own existence by declaring "I nap, therefore I am." Since I am cognizant of the fact that sometimes I am awake and sometimes I am asleep, I am aware of an activity. And for there to be an activity, there must be something engaging in it.

The fact is, I can observe things--like birds, squirrels, and my food bowl. My eyes do not delude me, filling my head with fantasies. And if I can ever get my mouth on one of those juicy squirrels, I will prove it so convincingly that even Descartes could not doubt it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I'm a Scaredy Cat

I have to admit it, I'm a scaredy cat. I don't mean that in some figurative sense--I mean it literally. I am easily scared. If my human companions do anything that is slightly unusual I go running and hide under the comforter on their bed. And then I will stay there for hours, huddled in the darkness, waiting for monsters to attack me. But they never do.

Last Sunday while I was hiding (and sweating my butt off) I started wondering why I do this. I really haven't come up with an answer, but I suspect that I need to get over this. I really get nothing accomplished while I am hiding, not that I ever truly accomplish much. But I certainly can't be looking out the window at birds or beg for food in I am cowering under the comforter.

I once heard someone say that fear can be thought of as False Expectations Appearing Real. This makes some sense to me, because I keep expecting monsters to attack, but they never do. I have an expectation that never materializes, and yet I keep acting as if it does.

So how does one overcome fear? I think that one must look at the facts and judge them for what they are, rather than cling to false perceptions. This could be rather difficult for me, since I do not possess volition and my reactions are automatic, rather than the result of a careful consideration of my observations. However, given the fact that I am able to even consider this issue, let alone write a blog post about it, does give me some hope that I can overcome this little problem of mine.

These might appear to be pretty deep thoughts for a cat, and perhaps they are. But as you might have concluded, I am not your average cat. I am one of the philosophical cats.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pondering my Past and my Future

While slipping in and out of consciousness during a recent nap, it occurred to me that my life really doesn't have much purpose. I spend a large portion of my day napping, with an occasional burst of energy motivating me to saunter to another room to find a cozy place for my next nap. When I was a kitten, I certainly envisioned a different life when I grew up.

Like many young cats, a lot of different things appealed to me. At one time I thought that I wanted to be a carpenter. The smell of freshly cut wood had a definite appeal, and the idea of transforming a mental image into a utilitarian product seemed rather romantic. But the absence of an opposable thumb made it difficult to hold a hammer or use power tools.

I next considered repairing computer printers. Spending a lot of time in my human companion's home office, I soon realized that printers have a tendency to get paper jams, particularly if I am sticking my paws into them while they are trying to operate. But after doing a little research, I discovered that printers are so darn inexpensive that repairing them seldom makes sense.

I tried a business venture with my brother and sister, but the recession had a huge impact on the business and we had to close it. (If you know anyone who needs 456 cases of Tuna and Egg or 129 gallons of mistinted paint, let us know. We can make a deal.)

I am starting to conclude that I cannot deny my nature. I am a cat, and I will never be anything else. While it pains me to make such an admission, it would be irrational to deny the facts. As Aristotle noted, a thing is what it is--A is A. I can guarantee that I would not do well as a carpenter, a printer repair technician, or a business owner, no matter how hard I try.

And so I will strive to be the best that I can be. I will be the bestest cat that ever was. Which reminds me, it's time for a nap.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our Most Delightful Cat Tree

When we were kittens our daddy surprised us one day by building us a cat tree. Part of the reason for our surprise was the fact that we didn't know what a cat tree is, but it sure sounded like a spiffy thing. And our daddy even let us help him build. The picture on the right is Kaycee holding something in place while daddy got ready to hit it with a big metal thing.

We weren't sure what a cat tree should look like, so we had to defer to daddy's judgment. We have to admit it turned out pretty neat, and we like to spend a lot of time laying on it, scratching the posts, and generally showing our daddy how much we love his gift.

I don't know all of the technical details of its construction, but daddy explained that it was relatively easy to do. He began with a plywood platform, which he covered with a soft material. Then he attached 4 4" x 4" posts of different heights. He used some big pointy spiral things (I think they are called lag bolts) to attach the posts. He covered these posts with different things, but mostly he used a heavy rope.

He then attached plywood platforms to the tops of the posts. This was for us to sit on. He covered the platforms with the soft material too. He tried attaching several toys on strings, but Kaycee kept pulling them off. (I would never do such a thing, because I am very respectful of daddy's work.) He even added a tube for us to hide in, though Kaycee isn't very good at hiding.

If we had to make another cat tree I would have some suggestions this time. For example, we don't have anywhere to put our book if we want to lounge on the cat tree and read. Also, now that we are bigger the platforms can get a little crowded if two of us want to lay on one at the same time. But these are pretty minor complaints.

If you want to build a cat tree for your cats, and why wouldn't you, you can get some pretty cool ideas here. Your cats would really love you if were as nice to them as our daddy is to us.

Friday, March 26, 2010

My Favorite Cat Toy

When I was a kitten, most of my time was spent playing with the various toys that my human companions dutifully provided for my entertainment. As the demands of adulthood have foisted themselves upon me, I find less and less time for such activities. But I still occasionally find time between staring out the window and napping to engage in a few minutes of carefree frolicking.

By far my favorite companion is Fishy Fun. It has a delightful aroma and its hard body feels good in my mouth. I love to roll around while chewing on it. Perhaps my favorite aspect of this toy is the fact that it slides very easily, so the slightest swat can send it scurrying just like a real fish might do if I was allowed to have one. This allows me to practice my pouncing.

However, the ease with which is slides can be a problem on some flooring, like ceramic tile and laminates. The damn thing will slide under the refrigerator or under the sofa and hide just like a fish out of water. I then have to go find one of my human companions and instruct them to remove my toy so that I can continue. This can be very disruptive when one only has a short time to play before resuming a nap.

My sister and brother have their own favorite toys, though they do occasionally like to play with my fish. Fortunately, we have a lot of them laying all over the place, so I can usually find one pretty easily. (I've also hidden a few, but don't tell anyone.)

What, you may ask, do cat toys have to do with philosophy? In a word, everything. If the purpose of one's life is one's own personal happiness (which it is), then having the proper toys is a crucial element. And if your cats can't express it quite that well, then trust me. I'm one of the philosophical cats.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thoughts on Animal "Rights"

The philosopher Peter Singer, among others, has written that it is "speciesist" to ignore the suffering inflicted upon animals by humans for food, clothing, entertainment, and other activities and values. In his book, Animal Liberation, he writes:
Racists violate the principle of equality by giving greater weight to the interests of members of their own race when there is a clash between their interests and the interests of those of another race. Sexists violate the principle of equality by favoring the interests of their own sex. Similarly, speciesists allow the interests of their own species to override the greater interests of members of other species. The pattern is identical in each case.
I may only be a cat, but this strikes me as patently absurd. If it is "speciesist" for humans to treat other animals differently from humans, then it is equally "speciesist" for me (or other animals) to do the same. For example, I prefer the company of other cats and find great enjoyment in pouncing on the occasional mouse or lizard that finds its way into my vicinity. But according to Mr. Singer, I must consider the feelings of these pathetic little rodents and reptiles:
If a being suffers, there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into consideration.
To be honest, I haven't given any thought to the suffering I inflict on these creatures. I have no choice in the matter. Does this make me immoral? Mr. Singer might argue that my lack of volition excuses me of any moral culpability. If this is the case, then volition would seem to be a distinguishing characteristic and one of vast importance.

But regardless of Mr. Singer's argument, the fact is that my very nature is fundamentally different from humans. I lack reason and the ability to make conceptual choices. The entire realm of morality does not apply to me, for morality applies only to that which is volitional. One cannot be held responsible for that which is beyond one's capacity to choose.

To further illustrate the absurdity of Mr. Singer's position, last night I wanted some Tuna and Egg instead of my normal dry food dinner. My human companions refused to satisfy this desire, resulting in what I can only describe as a brief period of intense suffering. Should I consider my human companions immoral for failing to provide me with Tuna and Egg? While I was admittedly disappointed, I don't think that any reasonable cat could declare such an oversight immoral.

I have more thoughts on this issue, but I just saw a lizard.