With a Cat Mother’s Love

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Dear Abby,

As much as I love my wonderful cats’ uber-domesticated constant affection, I wonder if their being indoor animals who don’t much use their muscles or claws or fangs or hunting skills outdoors (though they wrestle each other!) decreases from their quality of life. (I don’t know, but I like it about myself that I worry about this.) They seem content -and we love each other immensely- but so do animals at the zoo seem content, who are often depressed and seriously unfulfilled. So do unhealthy humans living the sedentary life seem alarmingly content. But whatever about modern humans, cats are highly dignified animals who still have their tails and fur. Yet when I let my kitties out for a moment, I find that they have forgotten how to be outside. they are frightened. And if they hadn’t forgot, they might kill birds. Not only that, but is it weird that I infantilize them? They’re my babies. I love them. I cuddle them. One is a grown cat, the other yet a teenage kitten, but by virtue of their being so domesticated, they are totally reliant on me and my partner. I am their mother! I am emotionally attached to my cats and loath risking their being eaten by wild animals outside. Our neighborhood kitties sometimes disappear, including one cutie pie who used to come say hello to us often. His humans haven’t seen him in over a week. If I worry about their quality of life in these ways, am I anthropomorphizing them? But if I am not anthropomorphizing them, am I devaluing the fullness of their little animist souls and sovereign personalities? Or am I too anthropocentric in my relationships, and my standards of what constitutes a sentient soul? Do you think cats have immortal souls? I do. And I hope that when my sweet beloved kitties pass away, we will meet again, in this world or another. Though, I think that cats are spirits of this immediate world: they tell us that animal life glorious enough. They do not wish to saved from the earth, only born back into it, life renewed in the great circle. Animals do not look to a world greater than the aliveness of this one. Will we see them again, animal companions, with their adoring eyes and purrs? But wild, sharp, independent, able-bodied, fierce natural hunters of the woodlands and savannas where we, too, will be wild again alongside them, and fulfilled. I turn to wondering.

With a Cat Mother’s Love,
Anxious Interspecies Parent

 

 

photo (c) 2016 Amber MV. All rights reserved.

  1. True, cats that go outside often die younger. True their natural instinct is to hunt. If I lived on a quiet street, I would certainly let them go out and have fun just being cats, even though that means risking some birds I like, much more regularly than they manage to sneak out now. It is also assuring the rats and mice are kept at bay. A short, but happy life, is better than a life of longing.

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