If you were an animal, you would be… I am quite convinced that there exists an absolutely no-one with any sort of presence on the internet that has NEVER answered this question. Trust the personality tests. This is probably the most important distinction in your life – just shortly after your Hogwart’s house and not far ahead of the colour of your soul. Your spirit animal determines the very YOU. And as much as I cannot believe I just wrote that (while completing an Are you a sociopath? quiz, of course, such a good source of definitely accurate knowledge of oneself!), it is hard to deny that we, as Internet folks, are kind of obsessed with that question. So here I am, ready to expose myself to the universe. I, my dearies, am a human cat.
When I was just a little baby, well, maybe a bit older, somewhere around the age of 6 to 7, I used to own what we called in Poland ‘The Golden Thoughts’. It is kind of interesting to know whether that used to be a thing in other countries too; I know for a fact that young Polish girls nowadays still make these. The Golden Thoughts were nothing more than a simple notepad, filled with personal questions that we would pass around to all the people we knew. Which animal are you? was always a good one. I don’t think I have ever seen one of these without the animal question.
The reason I am mentioning these (other than a walk down my own memory lane – I think I still own my Golden Thoughts somewhere back at my parents’ house) is because from what I remember the number one animal to be was always a cat.
But that cannot be true, right? A world containing only cats would be a nightmare to live in. I agree, it would be plain beautiful – but so un-functional. Any internal structure that a cat touches is doomed to fall apart. And yet the world goes on. It is arguable whether the direction it is going in is good or bad – but it exists. Something, someone pushes it forward. Someone makes sure that these cats do not destroy each other and everything in their way.
Could it be that as children we were simply more lenient? I can almost hear people laughing at the idea of merciful children, ready to ignore the faults in each other. True, kids can be cruel; but maybe at least they are nice to cats. At the end of the day, we used to pick them for– what we naively thought were – good qualities. I am a cat because I am independent, this explanation was very popular. Because I like to do things my way. Sometimes we would be a bit more honest in our I am a cat because I am lazy. But at the end of the day there was one thing none of us wanted to say but we all thought it: I am a cat because I am better than others.
As someone who lived her whole life as a human cat, and someone who met many other cats, furry and more human-like, I can tell you: there is nothing glamorous about being a cat. It may even be the single worst thing one can be. Here are a few reasons I think I am a cat right now and I promise you they have very little to do with our childhood misconceptions.
Cats can never make up their bloody mind
How many of you actually own a cat? I do. Not the first one in my life as well. There is this oh-so-familiar scenario of my cat sitting in front of the door and meowing to be let in only to go out the second after. And then, usually, back to meowing to be let in.
Oh, and this one habit in which he really really really wants a bit of what I am eating only to lose all interest in it as soon as I throw him some.
As a human cat I change my mind quicker than the mainstream journalists’ views after a general election.
I can never decide on anything. The only way to get me to do something is to tell me to do something, full stop. Never ask me what I want to eat – you’ll end up frustrated and hungry.
Cats never experience any kind of emotional stability
My cat loves me and hates me, and then loves me again; he despises all human beings apart from his mum (he shares a mum with me, so we’re technically interspecies siblings), but sometimes he hates her and loves humanity. He can be sad and angry and happy and excited and bored at the same time. He can claim (with very loud meowing) the world has ended and there is no future left for this Universe because someone moved his blanket two inches to the left, but at the same time he can purr with contentment since, well, his blanket is warm and is there really anything better than that?
Everyone knows that a cats’ favourite pastime is exposing their tummies and begging for some scratches only to bite one’s hand two seconds later.
Human cats are kind of the same, maybe minus the begging part. We are living ticking emotional bombs.
Cats are not the greatest fans of other cats
People like to believe that their cats are best buddies – somehow the idea of a catmance tickles our fancy. The truth is a bit less colourful; our cats do not want to have anything to do with other cats. When people are in and about they pretend to tolerate each other but once we are out, cats are back to avoiding other cats almost immediately. They even plan their night trips so that they never have to bump into one another. Watch the Panorama documentary about it (no, seriously watch it, it is an excellent insight into cats’ lives).
Cats’ tete-a-tetes end in blood.
As a human cat I can confirm – I am allergic to other human cats. Nothing annoys me as much as a fellow human cat. My coexistence with other human cats is borderline impossible. I’d rather die (with a cattish sense of dramatics) than shake another human cat’s hand. There is nothing I can do to change that. Just let us pass each other by and never acknowledge the existence of one another.
Cats are lazy
Yes we are.
Cats need to be the centre of your attention ( = Cats are attention whores)
Have you ever wondered why your cat always lays in that fresh pile of washing? Plays with your most important documents? Chooses to walk in front of your screen during the most important part of the movie? Interrupting important house business is by far cats’ favourite entertainment (unless, of course, it involves a hoover – hoovers and cats don’t go together).
Cats need your attention.
The worst you can do to a cat is ignore him. The same applies to human cats. Ignore us and we’re done. What are you trying to achieve, mate? To prove to us that at any given moment in time we are NOT your absolute favourite thing in the Universe and at the top of your priority list? As if anyone could believe this!
Cats are scared of kindness
When my cat was a little kitten (and he wasn’t too fat or lazy to jump), he used to climb my wardrobe. Back then, although it is hard to imagine now, he was kind of petit – nothing like the heavy beast he became once he realized that Garfield is the best possible life coach a cat can have. To climb the wardrobe he had to first climb a cupboard standing next to it, then climb on top of my radio and then take a huuuuge jump for a thingie his size. The result was quite simple – he could climb my wardrobe but there was no way in the Universe he could get off it without scaring himself to death.
But every time he would meow to be taken down (always around 3am, of course, he is a creature of habit), he would really fight against me trying to help him. At first I thought it was because he was scared of heights, but then I realized – he hated being helped.
I am a human cat and I hate being helped. The idea of kindness repels me. People are mean, you know. Their intentions can be assumed to be bad. But accepting someone’s kindness is not only the violation of our independence. It is the fear of being exposed. Letting someone help us is admitting we struggle and we have some sort of a weak side that can be abused.
The saddest thing about it though is our low opinion of other human beings comes mostly from the fact that we automatically assume everyone is as corrupted as human cats.
Cats do not need people
I like to imagine my cat loves me. I think he does? But he never needs me. Not in the sweet-and-fluffy way we all sometimes need each other. He does not crave the emotional connection. Sure, he needs me to feed him; I am his carer or maybe even his servant to some extent. But I am always painfully aware that if I died and fell on my kitchen floor, he would just come and munch on me.
Human cats do not feed on people, I hope.
But they need them less. Sure, there are a select few that we form a strong bond with and we rely on emotionally, but the vast majority are there for us just to fulfil some of our more basic needs. I hate to admit it but as a human cat I am awfully manipulative. I learnt how to get what I want; I learnt how to use people. I do not have an intrinsic need to form a social group. People come and go for me – and as soon as they lose their function, well, they may as well be gone anyway.
There are of course some other interesting qualities: human cats are always curious, they love other people’s suffering, they are egoistic and narcissistic and you can find their ego somewhere around two meters above their head. At the end of the day human cats are complicated – one thing we love about real cats too.
How many of you grew out of being a cat? What other animals resemble you best? And if you are a cat, are you a house kitty or something much bigger? I am a tigger. Not a tiger, a tigger, and the most wonderful thing about me is that I’m the only one.