The Black Cat Edition
The Short Story - Issue 16 - July.2021
This week I’ve been thinking about cats — mostly, black cats. It’s easy for me to think about black cats because I have two of them and they’re pretty obsessed with me. It’s like I have two extra black shadows following me all around the house. It’s good for my ego.
Everything I’ve written in the last eight years has been written with a black cat in my lap. As soon as he hears my laptop open, Panther jumps into place and can’t be dissuaded. So, I’ve had to learn to write with a soft, purring creature sleeping on my hands while I type. He’s sure he’s helping.
Cats are notorious for being picky, aloof, and even annoying — but they’ve held the world’s fascination for centuries.
So, let’s stretch out in the sunlight, knock something off the counter for no reason, and then pounce into The Black Cat edition.
Black cats have gotten a bad rap. While cats in general have often been associated with negative behaviors — poor black cats have gotten the worst of it. They’ve been linked with witchcraft, bad luck, or seen as harbingers of doom.
The Spruce has a great article about how in other parts of the world, black cats can help improve your love life or even bring you prosperity and luck.
I love this article from Bustle that reminds us that you never really “own” a cat. From the cat’s perspective, we’re at most their equals. “… According to some experts, cats might think humans are cats, too. Bigger, clumsier cats, sure — but cats nonetheless.”
I mean, it makes sense, right? Just like humans, cats can be tricked by optical illusions. And perhaps, most importantly, we even look like cats.
“I don’t think people have thought, ‘That person looks a lot like a cat.” The Guardian has a fascinating (and hilarious) article about Gerrard Gethings photographs of people/cat look a likes.
The Cat’s Pajamas
Cats have been important to humans since the Neolithic period when they first helped our ancient farming ancestors keep rodents at bay.
And, while our modern societies have evolved, cats have gone from agrarian helpers to cultural icons reflecting the important role they’ve played in human society for centuries.
There are few creatures we attribute so many positive AND negative qualities to as cats. They are affectionate, but aloof; soft, but sharp; childlike, but calculating. Yet, they remain interwoven into our culture and our lives.
One of the things that makes cats so endlessly fascinating to me is the fact that despite how much love and affection we show them, cats are always gonna cat — and they don’t really care if you care. Unlike dogs, they have little desire to please or impress us. Our relationship is mutually beneficial in that we provide them with food and shelter and they deign to grant us an audience.
Scientists discovered that cats understand quite a few words, including their own names, but they don’t really care when we use them. 0% of cat owners were surprised by this.
Cats are always and reliably just gonna be cats. It’s frustrating, but reassuring. They don’t care about our human trappings. Oh, you reading that? Don’t mind if I sit right there then. Writing a manuscript in ink and can’t make mistakes? Good for you, human. *yawn*
I think the reason I’ve ultimately been a cat person (aside from having a major allergy to dogs) is that I see waaaay too much of myself in them. At 5’4” and squishy in stature, I may not seem particularly threatening, but like my favorite cats, I’m prickly and particular.
Maybe being like a cat is a good thing. In fact, French author Stéphane Garnier argues that living like a cat may be the secret to happiness and success. So, if you need me, I’ll be over here on the softest blanket in the house, staring out the window, getting ready to bite anyone who touches my stomach.
Okay, that’s it for this edition! Panther and I had a great time writing this for you. He said you’re all welcome to give him treats anytime and he highly encourages you to keep on being the best hairless cats you can be.
Until next time,
Ava & Panther
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