Caturday felid trifecta: The case for cats; woman claim she’s a cat trapped in a woman’s body; 101-year-old woman adopts agéd shelter cat; and lagniappe

November 19, 2022 • 9:45 am

From The Atlantic we get the case for cats, a short paean to felines. Click to read.

An excerpt:

Before my spouse and I married four years ago, we made an important pledge: From that point on, there would always be at least two cats in our household.

As our marble tabbies, Calvin and Hobbes, can soundly attest, that promise has so far survived, and our relationship with it. We are Cat People and unafraid to share it. My spouse wears a large pin to work that implores his (human) patients to “ask me about my cats.” Since joining The Atlantic just over a year and a half ago, I have taken every opportunity to write about felines; no other animal, apart from us lousy humans, has commanded more of my attention since. Our apartment is cluttered with cat toys, our clothes coated with a patina of gray and black fur. We cuddle our cats nightly, plan our vacations around them, and sometimes—okay, often—abscond from social events early to spend more time with them at home. My spouse and I sing to Calvin and Hobbes, and our list of absurd nicknames for them stretches dozens and dozens long. And … yeah. We brush our boys’ teeth three times a week.

Life wasn’t always this way. My spouse and I both grew up as die-hard dog people, but now, in the clear light of adulthood, we’re a pair of cat converts.

Good choice!  One more bit:

. . . every cat I’ve met has been such a distinct individual, such a character: bursting with strong opinions, clear-cut preferences, bizarre and memorable quirks. And those traits are steadfast. Whether they’re scared, happy, suspicious, or confused, Calvin and Hobbes are always Calvin and Hobbes. I get that cats can sometimes be contrarian. I get that their outer shell can sometimes be tough to crack. But for me, that makes them all the more fascinating. Their trust and affection is hard-won. So when it’s earned, it feels that much more meaningful.

The last sentence is absolutely on the mark.  Although d*g people will disagree with me, cats are more like people: if you want them to be your friend, you must win them over. D*gs, on the other hand, are obsequious from the get-go, and I, for one, don’t care for unmitigated, slobbering affection!

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IHeartCats has the story of a cat “otherkin”: someone who claims they’re a cat trapped in a woman’s body (see a recent paper dealing with this topic in The Journal of Controversial Ideas). Click to read:

Meet The Woman Who Claims She’s A Cat Trapped In A Human’s Body

Some excerpts:

In Oslo, Norway, 20-year-old Nano identifies herself as a cat.

She said her lightbulb moment came when she was told by doctors she had a “genetic defect” at the age of sixteen. That’s when she realized why she was different: she was really a cat.

While uncommon,  Nano is not alone in feeling she embodies the spirit of an animal. There is a phenomenon called Otherkin, which Wikipedia describes as “people who identify as partially or entirely non-human.”

Because she identifies herself as a cat, she lives her life a little differently. She sleeps in sinks and on windowsills. She hisses at dogs and hates water. Sometimes, she walks around on all fours.

Nano even claims she has heightened senses, hearing things that humans can’t, and possessing the ability to see better at night than in the daylight. She says she can see critters scurrying in the dark, and when asked if she’s ever got a mouse, she says that she’s tried, but has yet to catch one.

Although Nano’s condition is not common, she seems to have found a kindred spirit. Her best friend Svien, who still considers himself human, also feels he is partially cat. It’s a little confusing, but as Nano puts it, “He is human but have someone in his head that is a cat, and I am born as a cat.”

The two even claim to “communicate in cat language” with each other,  even translating snippets of human conversation into meows for the reporter.

But there’s one small inconsistency between Nano and Svien’s exchange and cat culture: cats don’t actually meow as a form of conversational language, but rather, to express their emotions to their humans.

While Nano’s psychologist says that she’ll grow out of her cat identity, she claims that this will never happen because her “genetic defect” is permanent.  Nano says that she was “born in the wrong species.”

There’s one bit of information missing, and you know what it is: DOES SHE USE A LITTER BOX?

I found a video.  Contrary to her claim, her DNA does NOT prove she’s a cat!

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Also from IHeartCats is a very heartwarming story; the headline tells the tail:

101-Year-Old Woman And Oldest Shelter Cat Become A Purr-Fect Match

Meet Senior Cat Gus:

Excerpts from the article:

A cat named Gus was 19 years old when he arrived at a shelter. His family was heartbroken to give him up, but a sudden life-changing situation left them with no choice. The shelter promised to give Gus lots of love, but they knew he deserved a more suitable environment for his senior years.

Upon arriving, Gus got a health screening that showed he was in excellent condition for almost 20 years old. He was still very active and loving despite everything. Senior pets are often the last to get adopted, but luckily, Gus’ perfect family found him sooner than expected.

A cat named Gus was 19 years old when he arrived at a shelter. His family was heartbroken to give him up, but a sudden life-changing situation left them with no choice. The shelter promised to give Gus lots of love, but they knew he deserved a more suitable environment for his senior years.

Upon arriving, Gus got a health screening that showed he was in excellent condition for almost 20 years old. He was still very active and loving despite everything. Senior pets are often the last to get adopted, but luckily, Gus’ perfect family found him sooner than expected.

And so a senior cat found its way into a senior’s hands as a replacement for a plush cat:

The Humane Society of Catawba County worried that it would be hard for Gus to find a home because of his age. But to their surprise, someone was looking for a senior cat around the same time.

A few weeks into Gus’ shelter stay, the volunteers received a call from a family looking for a cat for their 101-year-old mother named Penny. Penny’s cat recently passed away, so her kids gave her a plush cat to cuddle with, but it didn’t fill the hole in Penny’s heart. To Penny, a stuffed toy would never live up to the purring of a real cat.

Specifically, the family asked for a senior cat. When they learned about Gus, they fell in love.

. . . Penny would get to enjoy lots of Gus’ cuddles while her family helped care for him. It seemed like the ideal situation for ever

Penny and the Cat (good song title for Elton John). Notice the “Birds” book!

Penny would get to enjoy lots of Gus’ cuddles while her family helped care for him. It seemed like the ideal situation for everyone involved. So, the shelter completed the adoption and sent Gus home with his new loving family.

I’ve always found it sad that cats live around 20 years, while humans live much longer. This means that those of us who love cats and get one or more when we’re fairly young will have to live through their demise. I wish they’d breed cats that could live fifty years!

It didn’t take long for Gus to get comfortable in his new home. According to Bowers, the family said he has “settled in fine and was eating like a horse.” He already loves sitting on Penny’s lap and watching out the window for squirrels.

Senior pets are often overlooked at shelters, but they are usually the most grateful and loving animals out there. So, if you’re looking to adopt a new furry family member, consider meeting some adoptable seniors.

Gus having vicarious fun:

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Finally, lagniappe from reader Gregory, who, when I asked if it was his photo, replied.

Yes, I pulled up behind that truck at a stoplight this morning and then had to follow him for two blocks to get the photo. It was surprising to see that license plate on a burly and lifted pickup truck.

 

h/t: GInger K.

 

24 thoughts on “Caturday felid trifecta: The case for cats; woman claim she’s a cat trapped in a woman’s body; 101-year-old woman adopts agéd shelter cat; and lagniappe

    1. Women pick-ups? In South Africa that does not sound very well, and would refer to street prostitution (which is rife here). We would call these vehicles “Bakkies”, even in South African English.
      Just a fanciful remark, nothing serious meant.

  1. Why would someone claim, with considerable commitment, to be an animal of any kind? Any thoughts out there? My main thoughts run along the lines of retreating from reality for some reason. But of course I don’t really understand it.

    1. I think the comparison with gender dysphoria is kinda blatant, and probably on purpose.
      “retreating from reality for some reason.” That is gender dysphoria succinctly described.
      Note those reasons are not necessarily fanciful. I do think a thing like gender dysphoria actually exists. And yes, as a medic I consider it a disorder (which does not imply any preferred form of treatment). However, I don’t think the epidemic of SOGD (sudden onset gender dysphoria) has anything to do with that. SOGD is a psychological problem that has little to do with actual gender dysphoria, and is more in the Anorexia nervosa realm. You don’t need to be a shrink to see that, it is so obvious.
      On a different tack, why are the woke not on the barricades for Rachel Dolezal?
      After all, racial differences are pretty recent (max tens of thousands of years) and superficial, while sex differences are old (dozens of millions of years) and profound.
      I seriously don’t get it.

    2. I call BS on that article. This isn’t physically possible: “She sleeps in sinks and on windowsills.” She’s feeding the reporter a performance for attention, and the reporter is merrily running with it for their own attention. Teenage girls dressing with cat ears/tail is a fashion look in some youth subcultures, from anime (“catgirls”). It’s considered very cute. Some clueless adult didn’t “get it”, so she started pranking them. Apparently very successfully.

  2. I have loved dogs since early childhood. Cats never interested me in the slightest though their weird behavior is fun to watch on videos. Cat lovers insist on interpreting cat behavior in whatever way suits them; most is just invention. When you have a blank slate, you can enter anything you want. Dog emotions are obvious; whether cats have them at all is dubious. What Jerry calls slobbering sentiment of dogs I call loyalty, friendship and bonding. For me, cats have no redeeming characteristics whatsoever (though kittens are cute until they become cats). I dont recall any cat owner telling of an experience dog owners have every day: when entering the house, your dog runs down excitedly to leap up and greet you and lick you. I doubt cats do this ever. I’ll take affection over indifference any day.

  3. Actually, over my well over 50 years of owning cats, I’ve had several that run to greet me when I come home. When I lived in a 3rd floor studio apartment in New London, CT, I could hear my orange tabby, Julie, whom I had adopted when I lived in Crete, Greece, meowing in greeting from an open window (with a screen) as I was walking towards the building from the parking lot across the street. When I lived in Crete, Julie and two other cats I had at the time, would accompany me as I walked through various trails through the olive trees and shrub surrounding the apartment complex I lived in there. Maybe such behavior is rare among cats but in my experience it’s certainly not unusual.

    1. I’ve got a large ginger moggie sitting at my feet (actually sitting on my slippers in front of the space heater) who meows and yowls at me whenever I get home, and is almost beside himself when I’ve been gone for a weekend. He runs towards me, meowing his fool head off, clearly happy to see me again. He’s the most vocal cat I’ve ever had, and although we had our moments during lockdown, he’s happiest when I’m home, so he can annoy the crap out of me for drinks from the bathroom sink, or sleep on my pillow with me on cold nights, even sharing the bed with the two d*gs. He has been known to lick me, especially my hairy arm if he’s laying on or next to it. But, sometimes he bites. Sure, he’s a jerk, but so am I. We’re a nice match.

    2. I have a cat now for a few months, despite my pledge never to get another cat after my special, unreal kitten got murdered by the huskies next-door.
      She used to be a ‘location tramp’ (had dozens of kittens), but has become an indoor cat now. She got rid of the rats.
      She is extremely affectionate, and a very fluffy tiger type. I would not want to do without her. She is demolishing my furniture, but I guess that is a price to pay.

  4. Let’s put it like this: Dogs have the personality of small human children. They will love everyone who acts like a carer, and almost any carers will love almost any toddler put permanently in their care. Cats are more like human adults, they don’t like every human who opens their tins, nor will every human like them.

  5. I grew up with dogs, and I love them, but I probably get along with cats better, and am certainly more LIKE one. Unfortunately, I am allergic to cats, and when I had my cat I had to take antihistamines and decongestants (and nasal steroids at times) every day for 17 years. I don’t regret it, but I’m not going to have any indoor cats again unless and until there is found a less side-effect inducing but equally good treatment for the symptoms than the above. It’s very frustrating, but I don’t expect the world to be the way I would wish it were.

    1. Get a dog! And if that’s not practicable because of work schedule or size, consider a small breed of rabbit (maybe you can take one home for a 2-week trial). Most active at dawn, can get very attached to you, nice to cuddle.

      1. I’m not 100% sure, but here appears to be a cross allergy between rabbit and cat saliva. If you’re allergic to cats you’ll probably be allergic to rabbits too.
        Most of the saliva is spread by hair, so a Sphinx bald cat might be a solution. I have some contradictory anecdotal ‘evidence’ there. Two of my referents were completely safe with Sphinxes, while a third one contended his allergy was just as bad. Still, if allergic to cats or rabbits, try a Sphinx.

  6. When googling the Norwegian trans cat, I found that German public television recently reported, deeply in earnest, on a young woman “from the otherkin community”, who from early childhood knew she was really a wolf, albeit of an “alien hybrid” kind with 4 ears she had seen in some anime. The brave trans wolf-alien has a hard time pretending being a human while at work and really feels well only in nature where she is overtaken with the instinctual urge to rub herself against trees. She likes to bite her boyfriend in jest (who doesn’t?), a boyfriend she found on Tinder and who for reasons never questioned is a human and not a dog. She appears not to own one, but is shown staring longingly some wolf-dog hybrids in an enclosure, supposedly a deeply meaningful encounter (the reporter almost weeps). Another young man from the otherkin community the reporter talks to is really a dragon. The “astral body” he feels includes something that feels like a tail, that’s how he knows.
    Not one critical question or comment on all of this from the reporter. The publicly financed format in which this appeared is aimed at a young audience, who apparently must not be confused by questioning fads or denying the reality of role playing or of dragons or of astral bodies, or with breaches of the polite norm that everyone who claims to be somehow different or special has to be afforded an absolutely safe space always where zer experiences may not be questioned or ridiculed. Only bigots or people not up to date in current sensibilities have no right to have the validity of their experiences respected.
    No English subtitles, unfortunately.

    1. I think a lot of this craziness is the result of too much time online doing stuff as an onscreen avatar that you can customise at will and then somehow imagining that you can do the same in real life. It doesn’t help when people like the reporter humour these people and go along with their ridiculous fantasy.

      1. I think you may be on to something. I did not have the lived experience at an impressionable age of the sort of realistically simulated first-person point-of-view autonomy in a fictive environment offered by computer games and other online activity. So I really just can’t relate.

    1. That look on Mrs. Noah’s face: dawning realization of just who’s going to have to deal with the litterbox.

  7. That New Yorker cartoon is an absolute classic. But then again, I’m a cat lover.
    And hooray for the two seniors–the woman and the cat. I’m sure they make life much happier for each other. Kudos to the family members who help with the care.

    Re dogs running to meet a person when he/she returns: I’ve had numerous cats who came running to the door when I came home. With my present cats, if I’m gone less than an hour, they tend to be busy napping. But any longer than that, there is a welcoming party at the door. I used to have a cat, Jennifer, who knew just what time my father came home from work. She would get into the living room window about 10 minutes before the bus he took arrived (it stopped about a quarter mile from the house and wasn’t visible from the house). The second she saw him come around the corner she began the greeting sound many cats make. And whenever I came home, she ran to greet me, licking me on the cheek. Cats can be every bit as affectionate as dogs, though in a different way–a way that is open primarily to those who have the patience and willingness to learn it.

  8. “There’s one bit of information missing, and you know what it is: DOES SHE USE A LITTER BOX?”

    I’d like to see her eat a raw mouse.

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