This I Believe ….

All able-bodied adults should cohabit with at least one cat. Nearly ten millennia of history and precedent support this position. More than seven thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ in what is now Egypt, one of the cradles of civilization, two Lynx-like beings sat under the midday sun, hot, thirsty, and hungry, eyeing with cupidity the ease and abundance enjoyed by a group of vertically oriented beings who lazed around a fire under a canopy sipping water casually while casting aside huge morsels of uneaten foods. As the Felis Primericus watched, an idea formed, and one of them said to the other, “Hey, let’s go over and hang around the bipeds. They look pretty stupid.” On that day in that far-away land the planet Earth’s singly greatest symbiotic relationship developed that persists to this day. In exchange for sustenance and shelter, the Felis Domesticus offers a panoply of advantages and life lessons for the improvement of the human species.

As with any communal living situation, certain responsibilities get divided among the members. At the outset, however, it is important to imagine someone ten times your size coming at you with a large pair of garden shears to lop off the tips of your fingers at the first knuckle to rid you of those bothersome fingernails. In short, leave the cat’s claws alone and invest in a few good scratching posts along with some slip covers. Most of them catch on when you shout “No!” at the top of your lungs the fourth or fifth time. Additionally, they like it when you clean their bathrooms at least twice per week, refreshing the toiletries on a regular basis as you would expect for yourselves. Likewise, morning and evening mealtimes are sacrosanct and will occasion mild punishments should deviations occur. Changing drinking water daily is required along with some little dry treats left out for snacking. These are all non-negotiable.

In return you will enjoy the benefits of an education that only a small furry quadripedal companion will provide. Felines are excellent teachers, encouraging the attribute of patience in their human partners. Unlike humans, most cats like to take their time in making decisions concerning a whole range of lifestyle choices, from foods they will and will not eat to where they choose to sleep on you at night to which of the many play toys they select as their current favorite to when they decide you must give them relaxing neck massages. Then they will change their minds for no apparent reason. They also help us to better understand the concept of sharing as everything you now consider yours they now consider theirs, including every square foot of floor space and every piece of furniture. They also use those claws to enforce a more rigid sense of boundaries, giving you a quick swipe when you misbehave by not scritching them quite right or because you know very well what you did.

Living with a cat also enables you to better understand teenagers. Like adolescents, they want you to love them in very specific ways at the times they choose. They will occasionally surprise you with the power of their love and devotion then get annoyed when you do something they do not like such as moving a piece of furniture. Like pre-adults, they need your protection but will resent you for it. Cats live much longer if they stay inside, but will take every opportunity to bolt through a slightly open door if opportunity arises. Yet no greater warmth of love will spread through your body when this small pointy-eared being chooses you for an afternoon repose, lies in your arms so you feel their heartbeat and their purrs of happiness.

These reasons and so many others I could enumerate enjoin you to trek without delay to your local shelter and allow one of their calicos, ragdolls, siamese, or good old tabby’s to select you as their domestic partner. Ultimately, their good judgement and forbearance will yield great dividends as you become the better human they know you can become.

If one cat can do all this, just think what two can accomplish.