They wake us up at 6am, Punctual as a clock. Leia is the first one. Although she is 12 years old and, according to the generally accepted calculation, belongs to the same category as her guardian – me (it’s that very wide category of “the old” that – at least when it concerns female beings – includes everyone older than 50), Leia is always ready to engage in the feline Rock’n’Roll, especially of the nocturnal and the early morning kind. All of a sudden, for unknown reasons, somewhere around 5:45am, she starts – according to the well-established feline tradition – to frantically sprint all over the house. Lo and behold to the one who dared to close a door, any door. Cats don’t acknowledge privacy. If everything, and I mean everything in the house isn’t open, there will be an immediate price to pay in the form of having to endure an angry meowing protest choir, or – even worse –having to listen to the relentless, persistent scratching of the closed door that will end only when the door is finally opened. In other words, resistance is futile. They always win.
Who is whose owner here? In West Hollywood, a separate city within the wider Los Angeles, a recent regulation has outlawed the terms “pet” and “owner”. According to this new law, house animals are to be called “companions” and their former “owners” are now their “guardians”. Personally, I have no objections to this new terminology. If anyone “owns” anyone, it’s the cats that own us. Not to even mention the dogs. As Jon Stewart has remarked in his book “A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race”, if the aliens were to look at our planet for the first time and see people scooping up their dogs’ poop in their carefully prepared plastic bags, the aliens would most probably conclude that we, the humans, exist as humble servants to our animal masters, fulfilling their every wish without a word of protest, voluntarily and enthusiastically. And – the aliens might think – we have been enslaved willingly. Why, otherwise, would the big, mighty humans willingly abdicate their power and agree to be imprisoned by the smaller, seemingly helpless animals? Stewart imagines a galaxy where the aliens try to discover the secret underneath this mysterious phenomenon, through their numerous doctoral dissertations and their thick anthropological books.
The second one is “The Little One” (he wants to keep his real name secret – for now). He is the newly arrived baby who has been trying – for a whole year now – to find his lawful place among the older ladies. The ladies, as it befits them, only want peace and quiet. The baby, however, as it befits him, only wants to play: at any cost, with anyone, at any time. It hasn’t been easy, neither for the older ladies, nor for the baby. They’re separated by a generation gap, wide and deep, maybe unbridgeable. But, miraculously, somehow it all works. In the wee morning hours The Little One joins forces with Ms. Leia (in both the choral singing and the wild sprinting across the house). In her previous life Ms. Leia must have been a musician, a singer, or maybe even an actress. Her voice range is almost frightening. Her mewing is so nuanced, so expressive, so subtle and so varied, that I tell her often: “Enough of this game of yours! I know you can speak. Why hide it anymore? Why torture us? Please stop it and speak in your human voice already. I know you can. Stop denying it.”
The third one is Bellatryx. In the mornings, she just lies there, hissing and growling. No affinity for wild games around the house anymore. She is annoyed and irritated by both people and cats. She – cleverly – minds her own business. Her main mission in life is eating. Her favorite foods are melon and watermelon.
I’m writing this “cute” cat blog (at least I hope it’s “cute”) while the world around us is falling apart. In Portland, Trump’s federal agents, armed with military weapons, have been arresting peaceful protesters in the streets. “Dangerous anarchists”, “violent leftists”, “fascists from the left” – these are only some of the labels Trump and his people are trying to stick to the protesters who are exercising their constitutional right to protest police brutality. But the response from the other side had come fast (that’s what I love about this country). ACLU has already charged the federal government for the abuse of the constitutional rights of the protesters. So has Xavier Becerra, the relentless Californian attorney general. Ted Wheeler, the mayor of Portland, responded by saying: “Keep your troops in your own barracks, or have them leave our city”. Federal agents, without uniforms but heavily armed, have been shoving the protesters into the unmarked cars and taking them to prison, all of it under the impenetrable veil of tear gas. “Usually when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street, we call it kidnapping”, said Jann Carson, interim executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon. “The actions of the militarized federal officers are flat-out unconstitutional and will not go unanswered”, she added. (LA Times, July 18, 2020).
Oops! The Little One has just jumped on one of the older ladies. Are his actions unconstitutional? Does his militant action endanger the human, excuse me – the feline rights of the ladies? I’ll have to check the Feline Constitution and promptly act accordingly. This little fascist from the left will have to be punished. I know what I’ll do: I’ll kidnap him into my arms. This will be an appropriate punishment for this dangerous leftist anarchist.