|My cat tells me all the time, "Do not listen to Wittgenstein..."|
|Stop reading this, read Montaigne|
The longer I have been with Stella (pictured above)—and I say "been with" to hint at where I'm going with this, insofar as it seems patently absurd to suggest that one "has" much less "owns" a cat—the more it has become obvious to me why cats have long been considered mystical and worthy of worship.
Stella meows, I assume she is hungry, I give her food, she sniffs it, seems unimpressed, returns to meowing. I beg, plead, pretend to eat, anything to save me the humiliation of realizing I have wasted 79¢ at the supermarket on a can of cat food. She leaves, triumphant and yet dissatisfied. I leave, defeated and yet hopeful. For when I am in another room, close enough that she knows I'm watching but far enough that she knows I can't take credit, she will eat. She will then let out an unfathomable bellow, perhaps a lament that her meal was from a can rather than a hunt, and then slink off to pee immediately in front of her litter box.
|Derrida and Logos|
Cats supposedly have nine lives. I am desperate that this is true, but I am unsure if this desperation is for Stella's sake or my own. Humans have invented many words for boredom—"anoy," "sloth," "spleen," "ennui," "Langweile"—and yet cats appear to know an existential depth to boredom that neither Sisyphus nor Heidegger could grasp. Were cats to live nine lives it surely would have to be out of karmic retribution for some devilishness in their past. Stella appears to both enjoy life more than I am capable of and to be world-weary to a degree that even my nihilism finds staggering.
It is certainly not the case that all philosophers live with cats, nor that all who live with cats philosophize. But it is certainly the case that cats make us all more philosophical, and for that we should be forever thankful both for their peccadilloes and their willingness to put up with ours.