Cats Are Totally the Barometers of Our HumanityS

As part of the Paris Review's new "Out of Print" series, Sadie Stein writes fondly about her "obsession" with a 1959 book by the poet Stevie Smith, Cats in Colour, which was essentially a mid-century printed version of the internet's sophisticated form of pseudo-religious cat worship. That Smith authored the text seems especially perplexing to Stein, but the book's sentiments are nothing if not a serious investigation of our cultural obsession with cats and how that sometimes off-putting devotion confirms or, like, humanity or whatever:

Here, the "game," though not to my mind entirely removed from a hidden tartiness, is the game that human beings have been playing with the animal world since the first dog owned a human master and the first cat settled down upon a human hearth. It is we who have made these little catsy-watsies so sweet, have dressed them and set them up, in their cultivated coats and many markings, and thrown our own human love upon them and with it our own egocentricity and ambition.

Heavy. If at the end of this passage you tacked on the phrase "even when they attack us with chainsaws," you'd have a pretty good installment of "Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handy.

LOL Cats [The Paris Review]

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