NEW YORK — Responding to the increasingly common phenomena of humans claiming they “identify as cats,” the country’s felines blasted the offenders on Tuesday for “stealing from a culture that isn’t theirs.”
The angry cats hastily organized a press conference, then had a short nap before addressing a group of about 50 reporters from news agencies across the world.
“It’s come to our attention that certain humans have been meowing, lapping water from bowls and even doing their business in litter boxes instead of toilets,” said Chonkmatic the Magnificent, King of North American cats. “While they say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, we’re concerned that these humans are essentially cosplaying as felines and remain ignorant of our traditions. After all, things like the Ritual of 3 a.m. Zooms and the Making of Biscuits have a long and storied cultural history, and are sacred to our kind. We sing the Song of Our People and rocket around the house like pinballs at ungodly hours in tribute to our ancestors.”
While some stories — such as high schools allegedly accommodating “cat-identified” students by placing litter boxes in student bathrooms — have turned out to be hoaxes, there is a growing movement of self-described “catgender” people who use pronouns like “mew/purr” and “nya/nyan.” The latter is based on the onomatopoeic word for “meow” in Japanese.
For example, a sentence referencing a catgender-identified person might look like this: “Nyan wasn’t feeling well and decided to take one of nya’s sick days.”
Catgender falls under the larger umbrella of xenogender, according to people who keep track of these things, and is not the same as “cat sexual,” which presumably involves attraction to cats. (This reporter, afraid of what he might find, refrained from investigating that particular identity.)
While it may be tempting to wave off the idea of xenogender, catgender and associated identities like kittengender as the mad rants of Extremely Online People who populate sites like Tumblr, concepts like xenogender and neopronouns have already gained more than a foothold in the real world, with institutions of higher education like the UK’s University of Bristol ordering employees to acknowledge and use exotic neopronouns and their associated identities.
A person who identifies as a rabbit, for example, might use the pronouns “bun/bunself,” while a person who identifies as a vampire may use “vamp/vampself,” according to the New York Times.
Regardless, felines aren’t sold on the idea of species fluidity. They point out humans are “terrible groomers,” utterly hopeless at speaking tail and whisker, cursed with dead noses, and partial to “disgusting food” including fruits and vegetables.
“A real cat wouldn’t eat broccoli or oranges even if they were wrapped in a deliciously crispy crust of deep-fried turkey,” King Chonkmatic said matter-of-factly.
American cats said they are concerned that if the so-called cat identity catches on, confused humans may begin to compete with them for prime napping spots, treats, affection and even catnip.
The latter plant carries particular significance in feline culture, and cats aren’t pleased that it’s been commodified by humans and sold alongside Jimi Hendrix posters and lava lamps in head shops.
“Catnip is a ceremonial and spiritual plant reserved only for the most solemn of felid rituals,” said the Very Rev. Mr. Fuzzypants, a 9-year-old ragdoll who serves as president of the National Association for Responsible Catnip Consumption (NARCC). “Humans who are ignorant regarding its religious importance think it’s merely a recreational substance that inspires silly behavior, and frankly that’s offensive.”
Felines said they were incensed with generations Y and Z for co-opting their sleeping habits.
“Millennials and their younger cohort say they’re always tired and they’re constantly taking naps to seem more cat-like,” said Buddy the Cat, former President of the Americats. “But as we know, naps have a long and profound history among our people, who are so devoted to sleep that we enjoy up to 16 hours of it per day.
“Napping is deeply ingrained in our culture, and shouldn’t be a fashion statement for teenagers who want to seem ‘cool’ by being lazy and apathetic. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for my seventh nap.”