For the full experience, play this in the background as you read. 🙂
“His scratches are so artful they’re featured on at least 15 hip hop albums. When dinner time arrives, he feeds his human. He makes biscuits for Michelin-starred restaurants. He is….the most interesting cat in the world.”
“I don’t always break things, but when I do, I prefer breaking irreplaceable personal items. Stay Buddy, my friends.”
“His meow can be understood by speakers of 43 different languages. On Halloween, other cats dress like him. When the veterinarian gives him shots, he shoots back. He is…the most interesting cat in the world.”
“I don’t always get the zooms, but when I do, I rocket around at 120 mph. Stay Buddy, my friends.”
“The owners of the Empire State Building keep a perch for him at the very top of the structure. His litterbox was the inspiration for Calvin Klein’s newest cologne. He’s so adept at knocking things off flat surfaces, the US National Bowling Team recruited him when he was just a kitten. He is…the most interesting cat in the world.”
“I don’t always seek affection, but when I do, it’s always at the time, place and duration of my choosing. Stay Buddy, my friends!”
“His feelings are so strong, he enlisted the Mountain from Game of Thrones as his Emotional Support Human. He always lands on his feet, even in zero gravity. His leap is so graceful, Michael Jordan once asked him for his pawtograph. He is…the most interesting cat in the world.”
“I don’t always want to be let in, but when I do, I want to be let back out again immediately. Stay Buddy, my friends.”
“Any dog’s a good dog, as long as you’re not a psycho.”
So says Bill Burr in an extended confessional rant about dogs picking up on their humans’ moods.
“I didn’t realize they feed off your vibes. If you’re chillin’, they’re chillin’. If you’re sleeping, they’re sleeping,” Burr says.
“But if you’re a psycho like me, and you’re standing in front of the TV screaming at the ref like ‘Dude, you’ve gotta be f—-ing kidding me!’, I didn’t realize the dog was gonna be in the corner like, ‘Yeah, you gotta be f—-in’ kidding me! This is bullsh!t! I don’t know what this guy’s mad at, but I love this guy!’”
Thirty thousand years of human companionship have forged dogs into the animal world’s foremost people experts, more well-attuned to human moods and behavior than any other creature by several orders of magnitude. Dogs can smell our emotions, read intent in our body language and gauge our sincerity by the way our facial muscles twitch.
If a dog’s favorite person is amped up about something, the dog is too.
But cats? They just don’t care.
When humans act out, cats are more like annoyed roommates.
“Excuse me, but you’re at a nine and I need you at about a two, okay? Some of us are trying to sleep like civilized people.”
“What?! Can’t you see I’m upset? You should be concerned.”
“Not my problem. Remember what I said: A two. And dinner better not be late! I don’t care what those guys on the TV are doing, my bowl needs to have fresh yums at the strike of dinner o’clock.”
If it doesn’t impact their food, territory or the quality of the service they’re receiving, cats don’t want to know.
So while I might be on the edge of my seat watching the Yankees’ Aaron Judge take a 3-2 pitch with the game tied in the bottom of the ninth inning, Buddy’s probably thinking, “Damnit, can the Yankees lose already so he stops moving around? I need a stable lap and some peace and quiet!”
Any cat’s an ambivalent cat, regardless of whether you’re a psycho.
Earlier this week New York became the first state in the US to ban cat declawing, which is a major victory not only for the many people who have been pushing for a ban for years, but especially for the potentially millions of cats who won’t be mutilated for the sake of someone’s couch or drapes.
It’s a time to celebrate, revel in a rare legislative victory for animal welfare, and look ahead toward similar proposals in other states. If more states follow New York, it could pave the way to a national ban.
Innocent, sentient creatures won’t be harmed as they have been for a long time. What could be better than that?
Here come the cat-haters
The thing is, legislation like this brings out the crazies and lots people who think protecting the innocent is a zero-sum game. In their world, helping animals and helping humans are mutually exclusive things instead of two goals that should be part of any coherent moral belief system.
Just because people are suffering in some parts of the world doesn’t mean we can’t help animals, just as helping animals doesn’t preclude us from helping people.
Declawing bans don’t take resources away from starving children in Somalia or America’s urban poor. Compassion for animals doesn’t somehow detract for compassion for people. In fact, all the research points to the opposite: That the way a person treats animals is a strong indicator of how they treat other human beings.
Animal abuse and violence crime
That’s why there’s a link between animal abuse and violent crime against people. Animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violence against fellow humans, research shows. Criminologists have been aware of this link for many years, and smart investigators know to keep tabs on animal abusers because they often “graduate” to hurting humans.
That was the case with Luka Magnotta, a notorious animal abuser who, among other crimes, filmed himself feeding a young kitten to a python. Magnotta went on to kill a man with an ice pick, a crime that could have been prevented had detectives in Canada taken Magnotta’s animal abuse more seriously. Animal life has intrinsic value, and Magnotta should have been imprisoned for killing the kitten.
Cats scratch. Get over it.
Then there are the declawing advocates, the people who inexplicably argue that it’s okay to brutally mutilate living, feeling creatures in order to protect inanimate objects like couches and drapes.
One thing should be absolutely clear to anyone looking to adopt a cat: Scratching is completely natural behavior, and it’s your responsibility as caretaker to make sure you provide adequate scratching posts, as well as redirect your cat to those posts and vertical scratchers.
If you can’t or won’t accept that responsibility, you should not adopt a cat.
Of course there are people who will insist declawing has no negative effects on cats. They’re wrong. That’s not a matter of opinion, it’s fact: A 2017 study, the most comprehensive of its kind, detailed a long list of negative effects that result from declawing.
Declawing is NOT a manicure
Declawing, which is the amputation of a cat’s feet up to the first knuckle — and not “kitty manicure” — causes lifelong pain in cats. Because cats are digitigrade animals, meaning they walk with their weight on their toes, the act of walking itself becomes painful. That leads to cats altering their gaits to limit the pain, which in turn leads to poor posture, which ultimately leads to early-onset arthritis and other physical problems, according to the 2017 study in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.
It’s a cascade of physical problems that leads to misery.
Because cats are famously stoic, doing everything they can not to show pain — they are prey animals as well as predators, after all — it may not be obvious, but declawing hurts them. A lot.
While people may think they’re solving a problem by declawing their cats, they’re creating new ones. Declawed cats are several times more likely to bite because they no longer have their claws for defense. They’re five times more likely to stop using the litter box, because the simple act of standing on litter granules is painful on their raw toe stumps. They’re more likely to be aggressive and ill-tempered.
Insult to injury
Those are all prime reasons why people surrender cats to shelters, causing another type of cascade: One in which a negligent owner has his or her cats declawed, then surrenders the cats because they’re acting out. Declawed cats are twice as likely to be surrendered to shelters as cats who are not declawed.
That directly contradicts claims by proponents of declawing, who say declawed cats are more likely to be adopted. In fact, declawed cats are more likely to end up without homes.
It’s 2019. The information is out there for anyone to look up, and ignorance is no longer an excuse. Declawing is wrong.
Here’s to hoping New York is just the first of many states to ban the barbaric practice.
Buddy gave me the cold shoulder after I returned from Japan and it lasted all of 30 seconds before he couldn’t contain himself and began rubbing up against me to mark me with his scent.
Cats have scent glands all over their body, including their cheeks and foreheads, and scent is one way they establish familiarity and “ownership.” They’re comforted by the presence of their own pheromones, which is why products like Feliway — an artificial cat pheromone in a spray bottle — can help anxious cats chill out.
When a cat rubs up against a human or another cat, they’re essentially saying “These are my people!”
Or in Buddyspeak: “This guy is my servant! My servant has returned!”
Upon my return from an extended absence Buddy will not let me out of sight and will cry loudly and incessantly if I so much as use the bathroom without allowing him in, as is tradition. And this time around he puked when I returned, as is tradition.
I suspect it’s his way of processing relief, similar to the way some animals shake when overcome with anxiety or emotion. I try to remind myself that if it feels like I’ve been away a long time, for Buddy it must feel like a much longer time has elapsed — and there’s no way I can communicate to him that I’ll be back soon, so there’s an additional element of anxiety-provoking uncertainty.
Regardless, the king is happy again. Long live the king! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a plate of turkey pate to serve…
I need a handy human to come over to Big Buddy’smy apartment when Big Buddy is not here and help me with a little home improvement project.
Specifically I need you to unscrew all the hinge thingies and the hinges too, and take the doors down.
All of them.
Except maybe the one in the front because it keeps unwanted riff raff like dogs out of my house. But most definitely the doors to Big Buddy’s my bedroom and the bathroom need to go. Those are the most important ones.
As payment you can keep the doors you take down, and you can take a selfie with me so you can show all your friends you met the most handsomest and ripped cat in all the realm.
P.S. – I will take TWO selfies with any handy human who can also build me a staircase to the treat cabinet in the kitchen!
Above: What I would like you to do in my house.
Chronicling the adventures of Buddy the Cat and his various criminal enterprises.