I’m reading A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. I won’t spoil it for those who want to read it (I highly recommend that you do), but the main character, a dog, is trying to figure out what his purpose in life is. Anyone who has loved a dog or any other pet will enjoy this book. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried.
At one point in the story, the dog is pondering the purpose of house cats. He spends a few seconds on it, then decides cats have no purpose! I love cats, but that made me laugh. Then it made me wonder whether house cats do have a purpose.
I’ve decided – with absolutely no scientific evidence to back me up – that cats do serve a purpose.
First and foremost, they make us laugh. If it weren’t for funny cat videos, the internet would be a vast wasteland of porn and political memes. Second, they’re soft and floppy and comforting, like a stuffed animal. And they smell good. Dogs are hard and crunchy. And usually a bit stinky. Petting a cat is a full-body experience – you pet them from the very top of their head to the very tip of their tails (if they let you): “I love you, you’re so soft, I adore you, you’re so soft, yes, I still adore you…” Dogs are mainly petted, briefly, on the head or behind the ears: “I love you, good dog.”
Third, there’s nothing as relaxing as a purring kitty on your lap; add a glass of wine and those few minutes unwind you better than an hour of yoga. And fourth, when a cat greets you at the door with his tail held high and twitching, or comes to you when you call her, it makes you feel special and loved – your cat has actually deigned to take notice of you! Dogs give away affection unabashedly and without strings: “You looked at me, oh I love you soooo much, look at me some more…” Cats make you earn their affection on their terms: “What? Are you beckoning me? Hmm. I’ve had 20 hours of sleep and thoroughly cleaned myself in the last hour, so I guess it couldn’t hurt to casually stroll over to you so you can pet me until I scratch or bite you.”
So, while a dog’s purpose may be to help and love its human owners unreservedly, perhaps a cat’s purpose is to make sure we don’t take ourselves too seriously. 🙂
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