Hope is the thing with fur
September 21, 2015 11:20 PM   Subscribe

 
"Cats share something more with us than mere creatureliness: they share, somehow, our central predicament. Beauty and panic, laziness and the potential for real idiocy. "

What a lovely little essay.
posted by redsparkler at 11:29 PM on September 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


I really liked this. But then I'm a somewhat biased owner of two cats.
posted by shelleycat at 11:35 PM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Today I realized
One of the truly visceral hatreds I possess
Is being subjected
To the visage

Of humans pretending to be cats

I feel this essay holds the key
To explaining my rage
And my wonder
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:48 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


[...]if I were God, and I were to come back after a few millennia to see how the planet I had made was faring, and I found human beings had grown so senselessly cruel, so ignorant and destructive, and visited such ruin on their beautiful home, their fellow creatures, and on one another, I can well imagine wanting to smite them to pieces and send along a lot of frogs and locusts and boils and things to reckon with. Maybe even wipe them out completely for making such a godawful mess.
But – even then – if, before I smote, I were to chance on a video of a cat riding placidly around on a Roomba? Then I believe I would have to spare the human race, keep the jury out, give another chance: forced as I would be, in the face of this incontrovertible evidence, to conclude that there was something in us still worth saving.


This is awesome.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:51 PM on September 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


I really enjoyed this piece as well. As did these two reading over my shoulder.
posted by Bromius at 11:53 PM on September 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I often wonder how things in the Cold War would be different if we'd known that Russians like videos of cats doing ridiculous things just as much as we do in the US.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:57 AM on September 22, 2015 [4 favorites]




Cat mom hugs baby kitten
posted by zennie at 3:46 AM on September 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


/Cats: About 6,890,000 results
Dogs: About 9,960,000 results
Bieber: About 11,100,000 results
Minecraft: About 47,500,000 results


Your research is deeply and sadly flawed. You need to search for "kittens," "kittehs," "kitty" and "kitties" and other variations. "meows" and "meowing" as well.

Also, "is an asshole" might bring up cat videos as well.

"furbabies" is a term I see pretty often.
posted by discopolo at 3:50 AM on September 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


You'd also need to count up views per video.

And then there's the meme category.

And kitty celebrities like Maru and Grumpy Cat.

Ok now I have to go look at a Maru video.
posted by zennie at 4:30 AM on September 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, but can you can me one Internet Famous dog?
posted by wotsac at 4:48 AM on September 22, 2015


Yeah, but can you can me one Internet Famous dog?

I suppose there's Doge, but that's about it.
posted by kewb at 4:59 AM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's also Corgi Flop and Lobster Corgi. And Mr. Winkle or whatever his name is, but he might actually be a hacked Teddy Ruxpin.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:16 AM on September 22, 2015


Such a lovely article.

It's funny, I can quite easily and happily recall life pre-internet but reading her history of cat videos I was really struck by how much I'd miss this part of the internet. On a really bad day in the depths of depression I watched a bunch of kitten videos and what struck me most was not just the adorable cuteness but the staggering numbers of views those videos have. It helps quite a bit with the feelings of isolation when there are twenty million views on the 90 second amateur video of kitty cats being adorable that you are watching. I mean, I figured that even if that was 1 million people watching 20 times each, there were quite a few people who wouldn't be all, ugh, you are a lazy loser.
posted by kitten magic at 5:18 AM on September 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's funny, I can quite easily and happily recall life pre-internet...
posted by kitten magic at 8:18 on September 22 [+] [!] No other comments.


I'm not even gonna say it.
posted by briank at 5:43 AM on September 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, but can you can me one Internet Famous dog?

Yes.
posted by IAmUnaware at 5:58 AM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


The only reason anyone ever watched America's Funniest Home Videos was for the cats, and now we have the internet. Inexplicably, America's Funniest Home Videos still exists.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 6:04 AM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


> I often wonder how things in the Cold War would be different if we'd known that Russians like videos of cats doing ridiculous things just as much as we do in the US.

"Mr. Krushchev said we will bury you
I don't subscribe to this point of view
It would be such an ignorant thing to do
If the Russians love their cat videos too"

posted by The Card Cheat at 6:43 AM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just realized I have a lot of cat anecdotes, and that these memories are fairly important to me.

When I was a kid, around seven years old I think, we lived on the West Coast near Santa Barbara. Dad was stationed at the National Guard-run Armory in Santa Barbara proper; of course a family living on a supply sergeant's wages couldn't afford to live in the second most expensive city in California so we lived 65 miles away at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

My dad likes to talk tough like he's some grizzled hardass soldier guy, but the reality is that he's a Humongous Softie with an especial fondness for animals. For example, he's an incredible marksman and has gone hunting many times but has never brought anything home. He's had 4-point bucks in his sights more than once, but he can never seem to pull the trigger.

An armory is a big open place with lots of nooks and crannies in which stray animals might find shelter. One day Dad is making the rounds and he comes upon this dark seal-point siamese (not a pic of our cat, but she looked like that). She had no collar or anything, seemed to be just another stray cat of the armory. Most of the strays were nearly-feral tomcats, but this one, she was quite young and very timid.

She was beautiful, and she reminded Dad of a siamese cat he'd had as a kid, named Felina. He brought her milk but otherwise let her be. He figured she'd take the food and be on her way (she was pretty skittish).

But she came back. The next day, and the next day, and on an on for a couple of weeks. Eventually Dad gave in and decided to bring her home. He named her Felina, and she stayed with our family for the next 13 years.

Like all cats Felina had her own quirks and idiosyncrasies. One her most memorable quirks was her "meow", or rather her lack of one. Felina didn't really meow like a typical cat. Instead, she sort of made a bleating sound, like a little lost sheep. It was hilarious. And of course she would do it at the most inappropriate times, like if we were having a serious quiet family discussion...THAT was the moment Felina would strut in and "Baa-aa-a" at us all.

She was an avid gopher hunter. During the first few months when Dad brought her home, she would leave freshly-killed gophers on the doorstep for us. Once it became clear that we didn't want her offerings, she ate them herself, often timing her meals to coincide with family dinner. She would lure her prey out by the sliding door which gave a full view into the dining area of our house. There, as we noshed on rice and pork chops, Felina would give us a little dinner show: she'd play with the hapless gopher for a while, swatting it around, and then eventually she would kill it, remove the guts, and feast away.

She also used to sleep directly on my face. I really enjoyet it, too...until it became obvious that I was pretty allergic to her dander. My eyes swelled up like old tangerines and I had to put an ointment on them for several days. Even though I know it's a terrible idea to have cats sleeping on my face, I still kind of miss it.

And of course like all cats one moment she would be serene and royal, and the next she would be a hot mass panicking acoross the kitchen floor. Sometimes you could play tickle-fights with her but eventually the 'play fighting' would just get Way Too Real and she would bolt down the hall.

I was in Canada when I found out she had died. It wasn't possible for me to fly home just for a cat burial, but I really wanted to.

My kids are super allergic to cats and my wife has never had any pets except birds, so we don't have a cat now. This fact makes me a little sad, but I'm grateful for the time I had with Felina, and I'm glad so many folks like to share their silly cat vides on the internet. It's just nice, you know?
posted by Doleful Creature at 6:45 AM on September 22, 2015 [24 favorites]


Cats on video?
posted by xingcat at 6:55 AM on September 22, 2015


"I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"

Death thought about it.

CATS, he said eventually. CATS ARE NICE.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:56 AM on September 22, 2015 [27 favorites]


> The only reason anyone ever watched America's Funniest Home Videos was for the cats, and now we have the internet.

Cat videos are awesome and all that, but the main appeal of AFV was always people wiping out on dirt bikes and getting hit in the nuts by their kids.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:58 AM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I just put a bunch of pictures from my research in Cote d'Ivoire up on facebook, punctuated by a number of Ivorian cats and kittens. My mother just got back from her first trip outside the United States - to Bosnia and Croatia for a friend's wedding - and put her pictures on facebook, punctuated by some Bosnian cats. And now my brother is studying abroad in China, and got onto facebook to put up some of his pictures from Shanghai, including a bunch of cats! Cats, and laughing at them, really do help bring the world together.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:59 AM on September 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


OMG KITTIES!
posted by Artw at 7:04 AM on September 22, 2015


The best way to ruin a walk home from work is to see a lost cat poster that is two months old.
posted by maryr at 7:56 AM on September 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


If I were god and came back and found all this suffering yada yada, and saw the cat/Roomba video yada yada, then read that article about how humans imagined that loving cats would save them from my wrath, I would point out to them that every major religion transitioned from an inward looking "we must be good to the people in our group" to "we must be good to all" and I thought it was going to work out. But then everyone went "cats OMG".

I would thank them for at least not constantly masturbating in public, which is what Lucifer and I were always at odds about, and then I'd wipe them out mercifully by changing each molecule in the atmosphere into a beautiful cuddly kitten.
posted by bdc34 at 8:15 AM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's OK, I have woken up to a lungful of cat before.
posted by maryr at 8:29 AM on September 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


On a really bad day in the depths of depression I watched a bunch of kitten videos

The science is on our side here. A study at the Indiana University Medical School suggests that watching cat videos decreases feelings of anxiety and sadness and makes people feel more positive overall.
posted by dialMforMara at 8:33 AM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Do not overlook the GIS for the term "blep."
posted by workerant at 8:43 AM on September 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Indeed, that is an excellent GIS result.

Go ahead, judge me by my bookmarks.
posted by maryr at 9:18 AM on September 22, 2015


Yeah, but can you can me one Internet Famous dog?

Maymo.

Last night as I was leaving the house, I realized something I do. Despite the fact that there hasn't been a cat living here for around 17 years, I noticed that I still subconsciously glance downwards when going out the back door, in case our old deceased cat Furball were in the way.

It was a moment of profound melancholy.
posted by JHarris at 9:55 AM on September 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


There is no internet worth using that isn't rampant with cat videos.

❤️
posted by erratic meatsack at 9:57 AM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Cats: About 6,890,000 results
Dogs: About 9,960,000 results
Bieber: About 11,100,000 results
Minecraft: About 47,500,000 results


Are you trolling us on purpose? You need to search for the singular goddammit. "Cat" counts up 1.7 BILLION RESULTS.
posted by JHarris at 9:57 AM on September 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Convincing a new cat you meet on the sidewalk to let you pet him/her always feels like a small victory.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:16 AM on September 22, 2015 [18 favorites]



You'd also need to count up views per video.

And then there's the meme category.

And kitty celebrities like Maru and Grumpy Cat.



How could I forget about Vine? My god.

posted by discopolo at 11:56 AM on September 22, 2015


Minecraft: About 47,500,000 results

Minecraft?
posted by radwolf76 at 12:05 PM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have no idea how these people got their cats wedged into their scanners, or why.
posted by sourcequench at 1:58 PM on September 22, 2015


Yeah, but can you can me one Internet Famous dog?

Sure. His name's Poochie. He's louder, angrier, and has access to a time machine. Whenever Poochie's not on screen, all the other characters are asking "Where's Poochie"?
posted by the phlegmatic king at 2:04 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


The science is on our side here. A study at the Indiana University Medical School suggests that watching cat videos decreases feelings of anxiety and sadness and makes people feel more positive overall.

That is so cool. Kittehs FTW!!
posted by kitten magic at 5:16 PM on September 22, 2015


And reading about "cat media" and "celebrity cats" in academic literature has totally made my day.
posted by kitten magic at 5:21 PM on September 22, 2015


It wasn't possible for me to fly home just for a cat burial, but I really wanted to.

I know *exactly* how you felt.

And right now I'm in New York for work, and my cats are in London ;-(
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 6:00 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


In case any here are unaware of it, I will just leave this here. (Not a video.)
posted by lhauser at 7:39 PM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


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