Red alert, red alert, everyone...I'm going to write about cats (by special request). That opener was also a small nod to a certain science teacher in my life who used to have a Starship Enterprise alarm clock whilst a young(ish) lad, and the alarm part was actually the RED ALERT, RED ALERT sound. It has never entered my home, nor will it ever. I prefer not to wake up by sounds that induce pulse-stopping fear. Also, it's not my style.
From about the middle of June to just a few days ago, I didn't have much of anything to say. My well of inspiration was (actually, still is) strongly resembling much of California and the Southwest as a whole. Dry, baby, dry. But I got a request during that yawn-inducing stretch of nothing to write about cats. Well. I've been there sometimes when I have waxed poetic about sweet, diabetic Leo (who's off his insulin but will forever be expensive-food-dependent for the rest of his kitty life). But I can't remember writing about the general topic of "cats" before, so that is kind of new. And I have actually been thinking about what I would say. It's come down to this: stop dissing cats, people.
In all honesty, I don't get it. Why the hatred towards cats? Why not a hatred towards birds or rabbits, both of which I argue are far dirtier and more useless as a pet. Cats seems to be the scapegoat for all that many in our society deems as deviant, problematic, or evil. Shouldn't we kind of admire cats for their I-don't-care-no-matter-what-you-think-of-me attitudes? They do have some amount of grit and self-loving that many of us could use a little more of.
Perhaps I should offer the disclaimer that we do adore our two kitties, and I have always had at least 1 cat in my life since I was quite young. But I also think that it's more than that. I admire others' cats much like I admire dogs. They're nice, but they're not mine (not unlike my thoughts about children in public). I don't want scads of them. Qualify me if you must, I probably am what you would call a "cat person," but in actuality, I'm much, much more so an "animal person," one who admires that which is in God's creation.
Animals are stunning elements in our world. Really, truly stunning. More than once, I have been witness to someone disparaging animals in the manner of "We shouldn't care about saving animals because we don't save ourselves first." I hear the argument; I understand the emotion and gravity of this statement. Yet, I don't believe it to be at all this simple. These are not and will never be the same issue. How, and why, do we compare them as if they are? I have a love of animals, true. I also have a deep appreciation for the value of a human life. Why must I feel guilty about promoting the care for animals even though there are still humans on our Earth who are not adequately cared for? Must we ensure that every human is safe, fed and provided for before we care a whit that animals the world around have their natural habitats protected so that they may live as God intended? Are we to be so compartmentalized that we cannot care for both elements of creation at the same time?
I lose some faith in humanity when I hear the either/or ultimatum. We can and quite often do open our hearts to care for God's world in total. Perhaps the human life that we need to sacrifice, just a little, is our own in order to do so.