Dropping by Neil Gaiman’s blog, I found a link to this article about writers and their cats. Being both a writer and a devout cat nerd (such that if I wasn’t married, and never married, I would inevitably end up in a ricky old house, talking to myself and potting geraniums in odd gumboots while one of my seventeen cats dissected a mouse on the landing; and even so, it’s still not an altogether unlikely future scenario), I was very much drawn to the idea of cats as a totem animal for writers. Their cynical expressions, come-as-I-please mentality and blythe acrobatics are qualities which lend themselves to favourable anthropomorphisation, because they all translate, more or less, into Things We Think Are Awesome. Call it the Greebo Effect: the contradictory tendency of cat owners to perceive their pets as adorable balls of joy while simultaneously envying their cool-kid machismo. Dogs just can’t compete.
Personally, I have two cats. I’ve taken pains not to blog about them here, because – to my shame – the subject turns me into a grinning, anecdote-spouting moron with all the repetitive tedium of a Kevin Costner romance. And it’s not just me, as explained by this excellent xkcd comic on cat proximity. We’re all susceptible. Combine this effect with writerness, and the whole thing just explodes in a goopy word-syrup palateable only to other sufferers.
Which is why cat people seek each other out. It’s hard to have a conversation about the dead bird in the laundry with someone who just doesn’t care, because right when you get to the interesting bit, it turns out they walked off five minutes ago and you’ve been regaling a potplant. Bastards.