Cats: 21st Century Narcissistic Killing Machines

Added on 13 June 2011

We don't have cats, but the local cats use our garden like it's Oxford Street. Most times of the day it's a busy feline thoroughfare. Occasionally there's a bit of a Mexican standoff, and then they go about their business, divvying up the frogs, birds and mice on offer.

[The term Mexican standoff is becoming a bit of a misnomer, isn't it? Whereas your Mexican standoff of stereotype involves a confrontation where no one wants to make the first move, resulting in none of the participants actually coming to harm, the current trend in Mexico is for the bit where no one comes to any harm to last about half a second, following which fifty people get shot and it's a bloodbath. At what stage will popular culture catch up, so that people use Mexican standoff as glib sarcasm for a scene of bloody massacre? Maybe it already has caught up and that's how people use it. Me and popular culture are practically strangers.]

Last night as I surveyed our garden, a cat was playing with a frog. It was like a game of cat and mouse. With a frog. Cat and frog then. We like the frogs in our pond; they're all individually named. I believe is was Norman who was in the clutches of the cat, but it was too late to do anything. Expecting the frog's head to turn up somewhere inconvenient in the next day or two.

I like cats. They're independent, they kill things and they don't give a shit about society. What's not to like about them? The funny thing is when people like them because they're cuddly, or because they purr, or because they come and sit in your lap, or because they rub themselves against your leg. It's not the weirdest thing in the world, but it's pretty damned weird.

Cats are killing machines. The whole cat species, from lions and tigers down to fluffy little kittens, were put on earth to kill things. It's reasonable to have one in your house to kill mice and spiders and rats and cockroaches and all those other things it'll take care of, but it's bonkers to have one as a pet. They don't give a shit about you. They look at you every day and think, 'Can I kill it?…. Nope, too big. Will have to just manipulate it into giving me food.'

Every time a person they haven't seen before walks into their house, they size them up and make an executive decision on whether or not they'll be able to eat them. With babies they might think, 'I could easily take that little fella in a fight…' but then animal instinct kicks in and they know that if they do that they'll need to deal with the mother, and so they ignore the baby and try to manipulate the mother into giving them food.

Cats shouldn't be called names like Fifi and Trixie and Fluffpuff. They should have names like Dr Death and Captain Mouse Slaughterer, or they should just have designations like SX4519-7 or 3 of 6.

The stupidest things on earth are those TV adverts for cat food, that imply cats are influenced by packaging. Then there are those adverts which sycophantically suck up to cats, implying how wonderful they are. Remember the 'cat's know the warmest place to lie' advert? For God's sake, there are single cell amoeba that can identify the warmest place to lie.

Of course all this marketing gobshite isn't aimed at the cats, it's aimed at the owners. The owners are looking at the cat food on the TV and thinking, 'Hmm, you know that may be three times the price of regular cat food, but the packaging's nice and Mr Fixit deserves the best,' while Mr Fixit is looking at the owner and thinking, 'Hmm, still too big... Wonder what's for dinner. If I don't like it, I'll go next door and see if they're small enough to eat, and if they're not they might give me something if I pretend I'm not a rabid, vicious narcissistic killing machine.'

All right, I'm finished now, and I didn't really get around to covering narcissistic. But they are. They don't give a shit about anyone else. And they're so self-possessed that they'll even lick their own arse so that it looks good. Even Narcissus didn't lick his own arse. Cats have taken Narcissism and supersized it.