I told you I wanted the book, “The Lion in the Living Room; How Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World,” by Abigail Tucker. However, I came across an article this week by Alice Robb who writes for Science of US where she interviews Ms. Tucker related to the book. Now I’m not sure I want to read it. Her take on cats rather upsets the applecart. She says that the cat is one of the most powerful animals on the planet. I tend to believe that when I play with Lily and she gets me in a claw-hold rendering me powerless until she retracts her needle-like claws. She has the physical power in those moments. Cats have also been known to stop an entire subway system and cause grown men to spend hours working to save a cat.
But that isn’t exactly what Ms. Tucker means by her statement. In her book, she explores the good and the bad of the cat—but it appears that she has more questions about why the cat has been put on such a high pedestal than she has answers. For example, she says that rarely is there a need for a 200-page book written to try to explain why we have domesticated an animal. She says, usually there’s a purpose for an animal and it’s really clear—for meat, milk, fur or its labor. “But why,” she asks, “do we want a cat around?”
Why, indeed, didn’t she hear about how the silk trade was being threatened in ancient times and they brought in cats to eradicate the rodents? When I did research years ago for a creative writing assignment (yes, even then I was writing about cats), I learned that once the silk business was no longer in danger, cats were brought in as pets and the cat never looked back.
However, Robb says that cats aren’t very good at killing rats and would rather share the
garbage with them than risk being harmed by attacking them. Interesting. She even discounts what scientists have been saying for years that cats are good for our health. Her take on this topic is that a cat keeps us inside and sedentary. If we had a dog, we’d be outside walking, moving, and meeting people. She even goes so far as to say that cats might be the cause of some mental health problems.
Robb says she has to wonder how cats have made it this far in the world without giving much back in return.
It’s a fascinating interview with author Abigail Tucker. Check it out here: http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/19/health/cat-culture/index.html
Tomorrow, I’ll share my poem I mentioned—if I can find it. I wrote it over nearly fifty years ago.