On a fundamental level, I like cats. That is not to say I find their depredations cute, want to pamper them, feel like carrying on conversations with them, or need to bomb your Facebook wall with cat pictures. No, it’s more basic. If the cat comes over to me, I’ll try to pet it, unless it tries to hurt me. If the cat ignores me, I’ll ignore it. If the cat accepts petting, I’ll keep it up. If it tries to harm me, I’ll brush it away. If it wants to play a game of entice-and-ignore, I’ll ignore the whole thing. But if the cat wants a normal relationship, in which it comes over for attention and leaves when it’s tired of attention, we’re harmonic.
It’s the cat people who are caturating me. I’m not talking about people who simply have cats. Like I said, I like cats. I’m talking about worlds where the cats occupy the top of the pyramid of priority, fascination and goodness, with human beings ranking as serfs lacking the right to object. Ever. We rank somewhere below field mice on this pyramid, since a field mouse is at least a fun cat toy.
Specifically: I don’t get the masochism. Cat threw up on your pizza? So cuuuuuuuuuute! Cat destroyed your mom’s wedding dress? Look at the kitty! Cat just hanging around doing nothing? Carry on a conversation with it, preferably using baby talk! Cat just walked through the litter box and across your kitchen counter? Isn’t this just the cutest thing, she’s ready for her hourly caviar treat! Cat just found a way to slash your femoral artery as punishment for a slight delay in giving attention, and you’re bleeding out? Ohhhh, woookada wittwe snwookums! Cat laid down on your couch? Post to Facebook immediately–the world must see this cat, for it is laying on a couch, which no cat has ever done in this exact posture, and which is utterly fascinating! Cat walks across dinner table while eating? Well, what are you waiting for? Duh! Give Precious access to your plate! Cat shed fine white hairs all over the $500 navy blue business suit you just bought? Isn’t this wonderful! Just got up at 1 AM to pee, and stepped right in a slimy hairball, falling and breaking your femur? Naughty kitty–while I am in rehab, I will adopt three more to keep me company!
Now, I do not dislike anyone for this. Truly. I try just to look past it, or tune it out, and mostly to shut up about it. If people think all this is fun and fascinating, then they do, and I don’t have to understand. I just have to accept it, but in turn, I need to sidestep as much of it as I gracefully can.
The job of authors is to give voice to that which other people are feeling, but have not yet themselves found the words to express. With that, I propose some additions to the English lexicon, which is already more bloated than a ten-day-dead herd of water buffalo in a tropical summer:
To caturate: to saturate with cat details. “Cousin Winifred hates cats. She is evil, and we want her to go stay in a motel. Let us caturate her until she leaves.”
Caturation: variant of above, an overload of cat details. “I just hid two more people from my news feed due to reaching my caturation point.”
Caturbation: reveling in cat information, pics, hair, hair balls, litter clumps, videos, destruction, whims, genital self-licking, piles of puke, fickleness, and all matters catastic: otherwise unbearable or boring–but because they are associated with a cat, more wonderful than a bases-clearing double, a grilled salmon filet or the sudden news that a terminally ill child has somehow recovered and is now cancer-free.
Catastrophe: any slight thwarting or denial of a cat’s every whim. Considered animal abuse, and grounds for reporting to the authorities. Also can apply to a situation where no cat pictures or worship have been posted for two hours or more.
Catankerity: feline fickleness. “Fluffy is catankerous today. I wanted to pet her, and she tried to rip out my corneas. Isn’t she wonderful?”
Catotage: feline sabotage of everything you love. “Snwookums just bit through my DSL patch cable! Naughty Snwookums–I will rush out and get a wireless router, so that nothing will impede my posting of fifty new cat pictures!”
Catchet: the fundamental awesomeness, cachet if you will, of Permanent Cat Serfdom. “Aunt Edna has great catchet. She prepares a special grilled chicken chunk to her cat’s exact tastes every two hours, night and day. I’ll never equal her.”
Cateteria: dining area in which cats are pampered with special treats. No kibbles allowed, unless of course the cat demands them.
Catculation: the feline’s careful analysis of what he or she can get away with. Which, of course, is all actions, since all actions by cats are fundamentally acceptable, moral, cute and delightful. However, the cat does not always realize this, or it would not waste time catculating.
Catlendar: the pampering schedule. Rigorously enforced. Failure to pamper on schedule is borderline animal abuse, and can make you an outcatst from the Cat Worship Club.
Catvary: the metaphorical hill with the crosses, where cat owners suffer and bleed for the greater cause of catpture. (cat rapture). Normally, the living room.
Cateo: a cat’s cameo appearance to be photographed and posted on as many social networks as possible. Keep a camera in your pocket at all times, and your iDoodad handy–the moment is fleeting, and the world must know.
Catera: the photography device dedicated to the cat, and to him/her alone. Must never be used for any other, lesser purpose, lest it lose its holiness and become a measly, mundane camera.
Catdidate: potential cat for adoption into your Cat Worship Congregation (family). All cats not owned by anyone else fall into this category, since one can never have too many cats. Duh.
Catonese: type of Chinese food prepared specially for the cat. Naturally, each cat requires a different dish. (Cat owner eats Top Ramen.)
Caticle: liturgical hymn sung in praise of cat behavior. Twice daily is the norm.
Catharsis: the process when one has not shared cat details with the world for such a time (fifteen minutes is normal) that they simply explode forth unbidden onto social media, kind of like in that alien movie where the thing emerges from her abdomen, or like Pat Buchanan ‘joining’ the Reform Party.
Catillary: small blood vessel broken several times daily when the cat responds to the owner’s love and care by making him or her bleed a little.
Catressing: the compulsive petting of a cat at all times. Even while asleep, if you’re really good.
Catilage: the tissue in your knee which you tore trying to avoid a cat which suddenly appeared right under your feet. Expendable; small price to pay for Total Cat Adoration.
Catanova: a horny tomcat. Not allowed, since all cats must be spayed or neutered, even though you would think that Complete Cat Worship would mean letting them keep their organs. Yet another contradiction.
Catechism: list of rules for humans sharing space with (i.e. fawning upon and serving with humility) one or more cats. Recite at least daily.
Cathedral: house of Cat Worship. All spaces in the house are sacred this way, just as the yard is consecrated ground.
Never let it be said I was ungenerous to cat lovers! (A special thank you to Ms. Diane Anderson, who inadvertently inspired me to write this all down, having no idea at the time that such might occur. But who, being a literary professional of the first water, will completely understand how that went.)