It’s interesting what you can see when you go out. I had been staying in for the last few days, mostly in an effort to refine and deepen my understanding of the C language (with a little C++ on the side). But today was sunny and quite warm by Pac NW standards (58 F), so I decided that I would head down to the waterfront.
Only before I could get there, I met a cat. Not a hipster cat – like, a real cat, who was calling me. With that, the cat and I commenced to have a conversation.
Now, how exactly does one go about conversing with cat? I supposed that with help of psychedelics, it’s probably pretty easy. But under ordinary conditions, communicating with a cat can be subtle. The vocabulary that we share is limited, and there’s a still a lot to be worked out. But I can say that as one spends time with cats, it’s possibly to become more and more intimately familiar with their minds and thoughts. And, eventually, you can have a pretty good idea, most of the time, of what they’re trying to tell you.
In this case, it was clear that the cat was sad, lonely, and hungry. I know this, in part, because we both share some context. Unfortunately, the person who was probably the cat’s best human friend had died a few days before. I knew him also, but I don’t think we were nearly as close and he and he cat were. Furthermore, it’s not at all clear if anyone else was feeding this cat, or the rest of his/her entourage that appeared to live in and around the house.
I won’t say if I actually fed the cat, as I’m not sure how the neighbors might feel about that. In our community there’s a division between what I call the cat people and the bunnie people. Maybe not quite as bad as the Natives and the Dead Rabbits in “Gangs of New York,” but there’s still some disagreement over the proper response to the presence and activities of cats, especially the ones who seem like they may be trying to eke out a living in the yards, streets and alleyways of our neighborhood.
As for me, I feel like I can appreciate both sides. On the one hand, nobody likes to see little birds or bunnies turned into cat food. On the other hand, I also understand that nature having made them this way, cats have no choice but to kill and consume what they can. Cats don’t eat tofu. Humans and cats have been coexisting for possibly around 10,000 years; but the fashion of keeping cats as pets and feeding them has probably only been going on for less than 100 years. And they know this is not something they can depend on forever.