Angelia McLean: Country Mouse City Mouse 12-12-11
I love my cat. I never grew up with cats and for the most part, didn’t like cats. Those that I’d come across were sharply clawed and knew how to use them at the speed of lightening. Or, they were spitting demons with anger management issues.
Cats always seem to have a look of disdain for Homosapiens like we’re a bad smelling piece of meat. In general, they just always appear to have an attitude. I admit to giggling maniacally at the book “101 Uses For A Dead Cat” (Simon Bond) and never understood the obsessive nature of self proclaimed cat people; those older women who have 25 cats roaming in and out, wear cat-eyed glasses, a t-shirt with a saccharin image of a kitten with a ball of yarn on its front, and a house with a slight piquant smell of, well, you know, cats. It wasn’t until nine years ago when we adopted our indoor cat that my view of these creatures changed; I don’t think it was cats I disliked so much as extreme cat owners.
Our cat is an indoor, city cat and probably isn’t your stereotypical feline whatsoever. She just doesn’t do obnoxious cat things. Our cat lives with two dogs (cats hate dogs, right?), three birds (cats eat birds, don’t they?), two rabbits (probably want to eat them), handful of chicks (mmm, fried chicken, anyone?), and at one time, fish (tempting). She doesn’t dart out the door wanting to escape her incarcerated lifestyle despite what cat-people proclaim cats want, and she is sociable, friendly, and she only occasionally puts her nose in the air. She’ll sleep on your head at night, hide in crunchy paper bags, disperses pencils and pens around the house for some reason, licks the butter when you’re not looking and manages to turn my computer monitor screen sideways with a tactical key combination while sitting on it. But, she has no inclination to pounce on the birds or raid their cages like Sylvester and Tweety Bird. Nor do we need to secure, fasten and bolt the Christmas tree for fear of a pussy assault. Nope, she’s not normal. She defies all tabby tales that I’ve heard about from fervent kitty people.
Country cats are a whole different ball-game than city cats: None of this namdy pamdy, pussy footing around (pun intended). They’re a leave-no-survivors sort of Felis catus. Barn cats are there to work and have more ruthless baby kitties. City cats and country cats are the equivalent to a prima donna, pampered diva and a gun toting-NRA member. Barn cats are often called mousers. When the mice move in for the winter, that’s a country cat’s high season. They’re in to cussing, not cuddling, and their nap time requires one eye open. Forget about having a cat lover for an owner – they sneer at such frivolities. I suppose if I had a farm, a cat like the above would be essential since I already know what mice do with chicken feed when uncontrolled. (One can buy just so many little yellow boxes of mice-obliteration poison). I’d have to separate my indoor cat feelings from my outdoor cat needs.
Conceptualizing the meeting of my cat with a barn cat conjures up a polarized yin yang scene between, say for example, a Frenchman and a German, ballet and football or a Democrat and a Republican. My cat with her lack of true feline impulses would be the ridicule of the mouser who wouldn’t even recognize her as the same specie. My cat would take one look at the barn cat who’s dinner is to be hunted and beheaded and run high-tail (pun intended) back to her “Captain’s Choice” in a can. I can imagine the scene where each cat discovers the other’s form of a litter box. It would be like me going camping without facilities versus the uncouth habit of leaving the toilet seat up. No, I just don’t think they’d get one another.
So, which cat is a real cat? Which type of cat justifies its existence the best? And are devoted cat people really that bad? It’s amazing how your attitude changes when you get to know something on a different level. All of a sudden the partiality can’t be justified. With familiarity comes understanding and tolerance. So, do you think if the city cat and the country cat got together for a feline summit, they would look beyond their whiskers and move beyond their hoity-toitiness? Doubtful. Could I get over my aversion to infatuated-with-cats people and have tea? Probably, as long as it isn’t at their kitty-fragrant house and I don’t have to wear one of those precious kitten t-shirts.