I was basically okay, then I started vomiting and running a fever, then I was completely shattered and now I am basically okay again. Nobody else I know was sick so who knows what that was. Still, how was your week?
For some reason, throughout my life, most of my friends have been cat-lovers. Out of all the people I have ever been close to, since my first friends at primary school, I can count on my fingers how many of them have not either had cats or previously owned cats which they often refer to. Since only 8% of UK households are cat-owning, this is a little odd. Especially as I don't like cats.
It is not that I dislike cats, but I am indifferent to them. Of course I wouldn't want to see them mistreated or neglected, but the same applies to most non-human animals. To me, a cat is no more aesthetically pleasing or companionable than an iguana or a cormorant. Yet I'm not concerned than my friends see things differently. From my perspective, having a deep and meaningful relationship with a creature endowed with a 30g brain is arguably less strange than the compulsion to reproduce. I experience neither, but I would live a lonely life if I condemned others for their peculiarities.
And when inevitably the things outlive their owners, I do sympathise. Even though I have never been particularly devastated by the death of a pet (even the mysterious and downright sinister disappearance of Cosmo the Stick Insect), I understand that this was my friend's friend, even if it licked its bits and had the conversational skills of a table-lamp. Yet, whilst I respect our difference, I do wonder why so many cat-people are my friends.
It is not as if I have a narrow social circle. Or that I smell of fish. Indeed, I imagine it something to do with some attribute I am attracted to. rather than something about me, because these cat-people seem to come from all walks of life. No landed gentry, but I have had cat-people friends resident in council flats and listed buildings, in all manner of work and none at all. And whilst cats are most often owned by women, a similar proportion of my male friends have always been cat-people, with no particular trend relating to sexuality or marital status.
Anyway, my social circle does not include a very high number of what I might imagine to be the modal average cat-owner, who is retired, widowed and female. But it is a loved-one from this very demographic who got me thinking about this recently; my Granny has a cat. She didn't obtain a cat. She didn't adopt a local cat that preferred her house to its own. She merely took temporary custody of the cat (imaginatively entitled Cat) during a marital breakdown in the family. After six months, it remains at Granny's house.
Granny has never been a cat person and at eighty-four, conversion would seem unlikely. She acknowledges that the creature scratches at everything but those items allocated for its scratching, that it wishes to eat everything but its own food, that it molts exclusively on dark-coloured clothes and soft-furnishings and it won't let her get on with her knitting. She doesn't find this stuff cute and is determined to get rid of it should it ever bring a half-dead rodent or bird into her kitchen.
However, when the cat sprang onto my lap to be stroked, Granny handed me the scarf that she uses to cover her lap when the cat wants stroking.
And indeed, Cat does fulfill one of the two useful roles that a cat may have in the lives of people; to sit and purr whilst being stroked for a prolonged period of time. That is a nice thing that not all cats consent to.
(The other thing, by the way, is to catch and eat small rodents in those environments where overpopulation is a menace; on a ship at sea, on a farm, etc.. Outside such environments, cats are an alien predator in their local ecosystems. But don't tell my friends I said so.)
So if Granny can keep a cat after all these years, maybe one day I too shall understand. But in the meantime, what is it with you guys? After all, I instinctively imagine that lots of people reading this are also cat-people; certainly enough of my favourite bloggers are. What is it that cat people have in common which make them such good company?
Also, a little survey to test my hypothesis (if this appears to be a mess or doesn't appear at all, my apologies, I couldn't make this work as I'd like for some reason);
( The ginger cat was a random cat that was sitting outside my Granny's back door. Had Granny welcomed it in, I would have really started to worry. )