The feline paradox

13 11 2013

A good cat is a bad cat; a bad cat is a good cat.

Disambiguated: A “good cat” in the first sense refers to the goodness of its behavior in the view of the human in whose home it dwells. A cat who is good, i.e., who does not misbehave, is not acting like a cat; ergo, a “good cat”55 is a bad cat.

A bad cat, that is, one which misbehaves or acts in a manner otherwise indifferent to its human, is behaving as cats do; thus, a bad cat is a good cat.

Possible objections:

What about old cats? Cats of a certain age, who have put in their share of misbehavior over the courses of their lives, are emeritus bad good cats.

Isn’t this a no-true-Scotsman  argument? No.

What about cats which please their humans? If a cat’s pleasing of its  human is in pursuit of its own pleasure, then this is acceptable cat behavior.

For example, many humans enjoy it when their cats jump into their laps, purr and/or knead. The cat does not do so because it wants to make the human smile; the cat jumps into the lap in order to get its ears scritched, which is to say, for its own pleasure.

It should further be noted that master-cats are those which can engage in behavior about which their humans will complain, do nothing to discourage, and may even encourage.

An example: a cat may climb on to its human’s chest in the middle of the night, waking her, and push its head into half-awake human’s face in an effort to prompt the human to pet it, all the while purring so loudly that the human’s grumpiness at having her sleep interrupted will dissipate into a sense of awwwww, how sweeeeet. Human will then almost certainly commence petting.

Does this mean cats are evil? No. Cats are beyond good and evil.

Why would anyone want a cat, if the only good cat is a bad cat? Have you been paying any attention?




5 responses

14 11 2013

a bit sci-fi but still spooky:
Ethics of neuroimaging privacy and respect for persons:

19 11 2013
Charles Huss

My cat is very bad, by human standards, but that bad behavior, as strange as it sounds, makes having him more enjoyable.

1 12 2013
Charles Huss

My cat’s badness, or un-human like behavior, is exactly the reason I enjoy having him around. He is annoying sometimes but quite entertaining.

1 12 2013
Charles Huss

Oops. I just realized I already made that comment. I must be getting old.

2 12 2013

Yes, there’s something about the untameability of cats which makes them so enjoyable. That, and the (unfounded) belief that *our* cats really do like us.

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