Buried in yesterday’s New York Times Opinionator, but spotted by Greg Mayer, is a sad but beautiful piece by writer Anna Holmes about her life and the lives and deaths of her cats. Here’s an excerpt from “We were kittens once, and young.”
Unlike dogs, whose wagging tails, endearing clumsiness and panting smiles are evolutionarily manipulative and endlessly entertaining, interpreting the narratives of a cat’s inner life takes extraordinary concentration, which makes the relationship all the more poignant. Mindfulness, I like to say, is what separates true cat lovers from the unenlightened. Without it, a cat is just a sleeping, eating, potential killing machine. With it, a cat is the most amazing of mammalian creations: A balletic, apex predator; a perfect package of physical economy and exquisite Darwinian design. (When someone tells me she doesn’t like cats, I assume she isn’t trying hard enough.)
But the focus they require and their intrinsic self-sufficiency is also what makes watching them die especially devastating . .
I have a theory, which is mine, that atheists tend to own cats more often than theists.