Suicides. Blackouts. Parasites.
Are Felines the New Scapegoats?
There comes a time in the life of any blogger when it’s necessary to make a stand about an issue. Whether it’s because we’ve failed to convey the depth of our convictions. Or perhaps there’s some merit in any claim to the contrary. Or even, out of sheer paranoia, for we fear our five or six readers may be packing for lack of excitement.
Whatever the case may be, let’s put it bluntly, and let’s give it the whole emphasis we can possibly muster and say it out loud: you, out there, stop blaming cats for every ailment afflicting mankind nowadays, or else they may have no other choice but to withdraw support to our lifestyle. Which, if our calculations are correct, will pretty much end life on earth as we know it.
We felt that we had to express ourselves because such claims, that cats are responsible for suicides among Danish girls, or for the blackout that left 600 million Indians in the dark, just to name the latest, threaten the very fabric of our long sealed agreement with such generous and highly ethical species. We’re talking about felines, not humans, of course.
It’s enough that throughout the years we had to put up with false claims that they were in cahoots with demons and witches, bent into stealing the soul of our babies. Or that their supreme sacrifice of getting rid of rats wasn’t what really ended the Black Plague. Or that toxoplasmosis is on the rise and could as well be the next epidemic to wipe us out of this planet.
Really? How soon we forget. At each of these instances, when they were out there, fighting the good fight on our behalf, we don’t recall hearing nor there’s any historical record showing that they were in any way negligent, malicious, self-serving. Well, a bit self-serving yes, we give you that, but in the end, they have saved the day for us, haven’t they?
So this is going to be a brief but straight to the point all-out defense of these powerful creatures. Who, by the way, could’ve played nice and subservient, as any good dogs do, and just accept their place as our next to kin. Or you think that all that sense of independence, that irreducible strength of character could be traded for a few bones?
THE INSANE DANES
Look, we get it. There are some parasites living in the gut and other parts of a cat that can be harmful to everyone. We’ve just mentioned Toxoplasmosis. We’ve known already about the single-celled organism, Toxoplasma Gondii, that supposedly lodges itself in people’s brain and can make them do crazy stuff. Just like a microscopic mind controller. Or something.
But now there’s some fresh research claiming that such ‘crazy stuff’ may as well be attempting suicide. University of Maryland psychiatrist Teodor Postolache conducted a study of 45,000 Danish women, and concluded that those infected with the parasite were 1.5 times more likely to try to kill themselves than those who weren’t.
We’re not prepared to debunk the good doctor’s research just yet, but if that turns out to be really true, then we’re talking about a hell of a parasite here. Single cell or not, this is definitely way worse than those relatives of yours who once asked to crash for a few nights on your couch, and you wound up having to call the cops to evict them, three months later.
Postolache is quick to admit that, statistically, this is not a really meaningful percentage, compared to the control group. He was probably fearful for his reputation and career. After all, when Czech scientist Jaroslav Flegr declared last year that the T.gondii was making him do ‘things,’ people stopped taking his calls and it all went downhill from there.
Also, perhaps afraid of another kind of backlash, Postolache said that, although T.Gondii lives in the intestines of cats, people are more likely to get infected by eating raw vegetables or uncooked meats. We can’t help it but think that he may as well be affected by one of the often cited links to toxoplasmosis: paranoia. Also, let’s not forget that we too have natural occurring organisms inside us that, once out, can kill us. E.coli, anyone?
But we’ll leave Postolache off the hook for now, since he also said more research is needed. Some studies already found that T.gondii makes rats lose their fear of cats. As a result, they increase their chance of being eaten, which is all the parasite’s design, you see: it’s only inside a cat that it can sexually reproduce itself.
BLACKOUT & BLIND LIES
You’ve certainly read about the series of massive blackouts that left over 600 million Indians without power, right? Even more tragic is the fact that some 40 percent of the country’s population, the world’s second-largest, already live under the poverty line, and mostly have no regular electricity to begin with.
What you may or may not have heard though, is that India’s own energy minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde, has just been promoted to home affairs minister, despite presiding over the world’s worst blackout ever. But never mind that. There’s something else about this situation that really infuriated us to no end.
The spokesperson of state-run power company BSES issued a statement naming the real culprit of the whole catastrophic failure: a cat. That’s right. A cat jumped into the 66-kV Kondli sub-station late on Friday night and was electrocuted by an 11-kV outgoing panel, according to the statement. ‘The cat must have been wet. (Duh…) When it got electrocuted, some sparks caused a fire that ended up damaging multiple panels. This led to a power cut in the area.’ That means New Delhi, a city of 16 million, mostly cramped in tight quarters, souls.
CHICKEN FOOD & THE FURY PUNS
Now, come on. We’re done jumping on the wagon about India and its staggering social inequalities, or the blatant corruption of political officials (you think that it all sounds familiar? you have no idea). What really sets the pattern here, the raison d’etre of this whole post is, plain and simple (stand up, place your right hand over your heart and say it out loud): Enough. Leave the goddamn cats alone and find something, or somebody else to place blame on.
And that pretty much does it for us, dear reader. We know, we often find ourselves so high up on our horses, so full of self-piety and gravitas, that hadn’t been for pure vertigo, we wouldn’t find our own behinds to kick real hard. And even if we had any idea about what we’ve just written, we’d still be in badly need for a wake up call.
But without asking for too much (and still asking for it, anyway) we felt we had to dedicate this probably misguided Caturday post to those whose voices are often dubbed by the worst possible kind of Internet would-be voice-over masters. People may need to press paws together (and that’s the only and last bad pun we’re invoking at this time) and make a stand.
Since this past week we’ve also witnessed millions of Americans taking to the streets, in a truly civic display of solidarity and commitment, not to stop the war, or demand more jobs, but in support of a fast chicken food chain and the right of its owner to be a bigot, our fatuous blogging won’t bust any (hair) balls.
Besides, now that we think of it, all that we said above was probably dictated by some T.gondii residing in our brain. It’s all becoming clearer now. We were hanging at this power substation in New Delhi, you see, and there was this completely soaked cat trying to cross the tracks. All we did was to try to help him out, but then, suddenly, it all went dark.
* Caturday Dreaming
* Not Mice
* Before You Go
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