February 11, 2013

People Are Like Cats

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People are like cats. And like cats, they can be split into two groups, outdoor versus indoor. This is an important division, one we should make note of. Cause except in rare cases, outdoor and indoor cats don’t mesh. Don’t buy into the Disney dream of falling in love with an adventurous back-scratching tom if you’re a prissy, milk-sipping Maine Coon. The love won’t jive, not in the long run. Understanding this division of outdoor vs. indoor will save you a lot of time and trouble in your personal life.

It’s about choice of scene really. Indoor cats like indoor activities. Ask yourself where does the coolest stuff happen? If you say in bars, coffee shops, theaters, and dimly-lit lofts, then you’re definitely an indoor kittykat. That’s your terrain — places where you can read, watch movies, bend elbows, and not be afflicted by sunlight, places where the evening ignites.

Does darkness make you more physically attractive? Do you consider 8 a.m. to be early? If smoking on the patio counts as going outside, you’re absolutely an indoor cat.

Perhaps you prefer hiking. Perhaps you’re somebody who takes pictures of herself hiking and posts the pictures across all social media, pictures of yourself sweating and smiling and smelling like sunscreen? Well, meow-y wow-y, you’re an outdoor cat.

Outdoor activities, such as hiking, bike riding, going to the beach, and buying artisan jams from a local arts and crafts festival, define the outdoor cat. If you’re always in bed by last call and have ever trained for a marathon, you’re for sure a feline who favors the sunlight and bright life over the dankness of indoors.

If you’ve seen The Aristocats you know that outdoor cats and indoor cats can become friends. When Duchess and her kittens get ditched in the countryside by a nefarious butler, they’re rescued by scruffy alley cat O’Malley. Outdoor-indoor friendship is a great thing because it gets both cats to poke their whiskers against the new. The indoor cat goes for an afternoon stroll in a scenic meadow. The outdoor cat tries scotch in a cellar jazz bar.

But it’s unlikely a successful relationship would really pan out between Duchess and O’Malley. That’s the stuff of animated movies, not real life, where on a Saturday night the indoor cat wants to stay out late drinking Old Fashioned’s, listening to bebop, and chilling in a bohemian opium den, while the outdoor cat wants to go hiking in the morning. Rise and shine, bright and early. Pack your homemade trail mix, toss on a camelback backpack, and take to Eagle Trail.

Surely, it’s not a binary. There are indoor cat who’ll get frisky at the beach. There are outdoor cats who’ll rub their backs against the weirdness of a late night show in Echo Park. It’s more like a Kinsey scale of catness. Everyone can be ranked from 0 to 6, with a 6 meaning you haven’t been outside since your momma dragged you, years ago, by the scruff of your neck to a backyard romp with other kittens.

The outdoor-indoor division isn’t insurmountable. We’ve all heard tales of how some scrappy, half-feral ginger married an agoraphobic calico, but the odds aren’t favorable. In the words of modernist master and kooky cat lover, T.S. Eliot, there’s “the breathing in unison / Of lovers whose bodies smell of each other / Who think the same thoughts without need of speech / And babble the same speech without need of meaning.” Presumably, without this unison of breath, then, the outdoor-indoor relationship is in trouble. Duchess and O’Malley might be doomed. Still, seek love whenever it purrs and claws at your heart.

Now if you listen closely to the cat gossip, to the meows, mewls, and mrkgnao’s, you’ll hear they’re having the same conversations about us. They’re comparing themselves to humans! One proud tabby professes to be a Miranda and claims most British short hairs are Samanthas. A sly Devon Rex relates the history of various cat breeds to the history of nations. A nuisance of Manxs is crapping on Andrew Lloyd Webber. It’s a strange world, this one. Who knows what you’ll encounter whether you’re indoors or out? No matter your choice of scene, it’s worthwhile to adventure to the places where the night never ends and to the places where, dawn already peeking in through the bay window, it’s time for our hike along the city streets and into the forests of wonder beyond. TC mark

Alexander Kalamaroff

Alex Kalamaroff is a 25-year-old Boston-based writer. You read his other articles at http://alexkalamaroff.tumblr.com …

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