Cats and War
October 14, 2007 9:35 PM   Subscribe

What Cats Know About War. A reporter adopts cats to reconnect with life amid unremitting death. [Via linkfilter.] posted by homunculus (28 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Improvised Explosive Lulz
posted by Poolio at 9:37 PM on October 14, 2007

i can haz WMDs?
posted by papakwanz at 9:45 PM on October 14, 2007

This is ridiculous and irritating. Never mind the people, as long as I've got my liddle puddy tat.....
posted by Joeforking at 9:47 PM on October 14, 2007

(Sorry Flo (no, not that Flo.))
posted by homunculus at 9:51 PM on October 14, 2007

So Joe, what are your tips for keeping your sanity in the middle of a war?
posted by homunculus at 10:23 PM on October 14, 2007

Cat are the authority on war.
posted by spaltavian at 10:25 PM on October 14, 2007

Joeforking, when I was overseas working in development, some of the conditions I encountered were almost overwhelming, emotionally. A friendship with a little alley cat, whom I named Giselle, was therapeutic amid so much frustration.

Of course, I didn't forego generosity or compassion to the people I encountered. But there is something about being able to show gentleness to a small animal that is also gratifying, inasmuch as it can be a pure kindness, without cross-cultural complexities.
posted by darkstar at 10:26 PM on October 14, 2007 [4 favorites]

War is Hello Kitty
posted by Poolio at 10:31 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Also, attitudes toward cats can be very informative.
posted by girandole at 11:35 PM on October 14, 2007

The last sentence or so of that piece says more about the war and the conditions that Iraqi civilians have suffered than any ten pieces by Army generals, past or present.

(then again, maybe that's why this guy's a NYT writer and they aren't...)
posted by librarylis at 11:45 PM on October 14, 2007

joeforking is merely pointing out that there is a finite amount of kindness that one can dole out, and this fool of a reporter in a warzone is wasting it all on kitties.
posted by dazed_one at 3:17 AM on October 15, 2007

Kindness is finite? Now I'm the dazed one!
posted by DenOfSizer at 4:10 AM on October 15, 2007

dazed_one: "joeforking is merely pointing out that there is a finite amount of kindness that one can dole out, and this fool of a reporter in a warzone is wasting it all on kitties."

This makes no sense at all. No one has a Doom-like meter on their kindness that would run out if they wasted it on a cat.
posted by octothorpe at 5:08 AM on October 15, 2007

Well, I'm glad someone gives a damn about the cats. I like cats. I'm not sure why, because on the face of it they're rather unpleasant. They fight one another over territory, they reproduce without a thought for the consequences, they murder animals smaller than themselves for fun, they're utterly selfish, monumentally vain, and they think the universe pivots around a point just behind their eyeballs.

You'd think a sentient being would have problems with animals that act as weirdly as that all the time, but for some reason I feel a strange connection with them.
posted by tomsk at 5:30 AM on October 15, 2007 [2 favorites]

Excellent NYT article, excellent post. Thanks.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:18 AM on October 15, 2007

Kurtz related that Lara Logan’s bosses at CBS had once asked her “to do the lighter side of Baghdad–let’s do a story about female soldiers who are keeping cyberpets online.” I guess if Kurtz had received that request, he would have jumped from his desk and begun preparing a long segment on G.I. Jane and “Barky” the Cyberdog. Logan, because she has self-respect, refused. Indeed, as Kurtz related, she emailed back, “I would rather stick needles in my eyes than spend one second of my time on that story.” Kurtz seemed appalled by this, but [Jon] Stewart clearly sided with Logan. His reply to Kurtz: “Good for her.”
From "Beating a Dead Kurtz," by Ken Silverstein, Harpers
posted by spitbull at 7:33 AM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

It always drives me a bit crazy that when there is a story that involves caring for animals, there is a contingent that seems to believe that the correlation between compassion for animals and humans is negative, because that's not the case at all.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:18 AM on October 15, 2007

I love cats, and I love that this reporter loves cats, but while I was reading this story "SPAY NEUTER SPAY NEUTER SPAY NEUTER" kept screaming in my mind.
posted by schroedinger at 11:04 AM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

War are foopid, make it hard to fleep and eat.—Pumpkin
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:03 PM on October 15, 2007

The end of this article reminded me of George Orwell writing about Marrakech:

I was feeding one of the gazelles in the public gardens.

Gazelles are almost the only animals that look good to eat when they are still alive, in fact, one can hardly look at their hindquarters without thinking of mint sauce. The gazelle I was feeding seemed to know that this thought was in my mind, for though it took the piece of bread I was holding out it obviously did not like me. It nibbled rapidly at the bread, then lowered its head and tried to butt me, then took another nibble and then butted again. Probably its idea was that if it could drive me away the bread would somehow remain hanging in mid-air.

An Arab navvy working on the path nearby lowered his heavy hoe and sidled towards us. He looked from the gazelle to the bread and from the bread to the gazelle, with a sort of quiet amazement, as though he had never seen anything quite like this before. Finally he said shyly in French:

"I could eat some of that bread."

I tore off a piece and he stowed it gratefully in some secret place under his rags. This man is an employee of the Municipality.

posted by dodgygeezer at 1:23 PM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

If I was an iraqi insurgent reading this piece, I'd find a way to implant IEDs inside cats and allow them to inflitrate American secured areas.
posted by bad grammar at 6:05 PM on October 15, 2007

"If man is not to stifle his human feelings, he must practice kindness towards animals, for he who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Kant

Why not work for kindness towards people AND animals. Why the need to dismiss one in favor of the other?
posted by pywacket at 6:17 PM on October 15, 2007

I forgot to add to the end of that (being rather ticked off ) why not save a life ANY life when and where you can. Human, animal....ANY life you can save is worth it.
posted by pywacket at 6:19 PM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

A very deep and involving article, very interesting indeed.
posted by Adrian M. at 4:10 AM on November 10, 2007

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