Saturday, March 10, 2007
(4:50 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Spring Weather: With Notes on Cats and DogsThe first day of spring isn't for a while, but we're getting a preview of the weather, finally, only three days after it was once again bitterly cold. I went out for a walk today and enjoyed it, though regular walks are usually the extent of my participation in the compulsory enjoyment of nice weather -- no games of frisbee for me, no walking of the dog.
I could go for some bocce ball, though. We have a nice big park nearby. If anyone has a bocce ball set, let me know, and we can go play. I also have a badminton set, but I'm afraid that something may have gotten broken in the course of my last move. Safer to go with the bocce ball.
One of the things I miss since Anthony and Hayley went to England is opening the windows for the cats during weather like this. I enjoy having the windows open for myself, of course, but there was something especially satisfying about opening the window for the cats. I knew they knew it was coming and were excited, but cats have no way of expressing either excitement or gratitude. I was about to make an exception for the topic of food, but even then it's not gratitude or excitement -- instead it's annoyance or even anger that the food they have been promised has not been delivered quite quickly enough. Similarly, they could express their annoyance very clearly when I noticed it was about to rain or I had to leave the house or I was just tired of listening to the kids yelling at each other.
The sheer sense of entitlement was refreshing, after a lifetime of dogs, such a needy, unsatisfiable animal, so moody -- reacting to the end of a pleasurable activity not with anger, but with a strange mixture of denial and sadness. Whereas cats are perfectly content to remain as they are and to leech off of us, dogs are too much like people, aspire too much to be part of our world. Thus I would contend that in the problematic of "whether pets go to heaven," one is always, deep down, thinking of dogs, or else one has spuriously modeled another kind of pet on a dog.
It is a sign of the overweening pride and depravity of humanity that we are inclined to believe that the neediness, the servility, the downright creepiness of a dog deserves an eternal reward. The reward instead belongs to that creature that has seamlessly integrated its animality into the human life-world -- cats: the only truly revolutionary animals; the ones who have pulled off the task that the hapless and embarrassing seagulls and pigeons have so deeply botched; the truly subversive animals who have conquered humanity in a way that the dead-enders among the cockroach insurgency secretly, pushing at the very limits of their insect brains, envy.