Cat’s Freedom


Pic of the day:  Sleeping Jeppe, by Bruno Liljefors

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Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people’s countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for “the universal brotherhood of man” — with his mouth.

Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth

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I am sitting here around 11:30 at night on a Sunday, the night before I go on another interview for another job that I hope will finally bring me the thing that I want most, a permanent full time job.  My wife is holding one of our cats, and he does not look all that happy.  Every time I turn around to look in his direction, it seems that he is looking at me begging to be set free.  And every time I look at him he mews at me.  Meaning that is exactly what he is saying.

So I decide to get up and save the boy.  He looked at me almost expectantly. He knew freedom or his conception of it, which by his lights is simply not being held by a human, was imminent.  He started to squirm in my wife’s arms and as I walked over he started to mew more plaintively.  She looked at him and said “Do you want your freedom, Roddod?”  She can read him as well as I can, even though she is less wrapped up in what he wants than I am.  He mewed again, an obvious yes.  The furry little bastard knows English better than I do some days.

I used the gesture I use when I normally pick up either of our two cats.  Both hands palms up and open, close them quickly twice, and repeat the process.  They both know that means I am picking them up.  Roddy did not look pleased at this.  He thought he was getting his freedom, but here I am signalling that I am going to continue oppressing him.

My wife did not want to give him up, but I looked at her and asked her for the cat.  I said “Gimmeh teh Roddod, so I can givez him teh freedums.”  I am a silly human sometimes, as I will at times when speaking in front of the cats break into lolspeak.  After I sat down next to my wife on the couch, she looked at me as plaintively as the cat had mere moments before.  She said “Noes!  Do Not Want!” But smiled and handed over the cat.  More properly put she poured the cat into my hands.  And anyone who does not know what that means has never had a cat, and cannot understand.

And there I am holding a cat who does not want to be held.  An animal who simply wants freedom.   So I looked him in the eye and said to him “Go.”  He looked at me expressing something that was not even close to being akin to gratefulness.  On the contrary, he was if anything unhappy at being held at all.  By his lights, I offered him freedom and now here I am keeping him from it.  So as I said go I let him go, and he poured himself out onto the floor.

And instantly showed his complete displeasure with being held in the first place in the way he always does.  He quickly shook his head and then looked back at me as if I had done something to him.  I leaned over from my perch on the couch and gave him a scritch on his left ear.

All was instantly forgiven.  The cat had what he wanted and was getting attention that he liked.  That was the exact opposite of what he had a moment before.  He was free and life was good.

Cats don’t care about anything but being free it seems.

Freedom is fickle when you are fickle, and happiness is the key to feeling free, and cat’s freedom is freedom of movement.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

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