Cats: The Real Geek's Pet

I have a cat. You've seen him a few times on the blog. I've always been a cat person. Never really known what to do with dogs, but seemed to have an innate connection with cats. My mom used to say all her kids were born part-cat. Part cat and 100% geek, in my case. A thought I came across in Douglas Coupland's microserfs some years ago: Cats are the geek pet of choice. They are, aren't they?Lifestyle
Cats are relatively low maintenance. They save food for later if you're not around. They bury their bidness for easy-scoop removal. They can stay outside all day, or need never go out at all. A healthy indoor cat doesn't need to be bathed. Though they have their peek hours of activity, an adult cat will pretty much sleep 20 hours a day, and though demands for attention can make them cause unforeseen property damage, they don't do it when you're not around. So this is the perfect animal for the young professional, sit-in-front-of-a-computer, prone to weekend road/business/convention trips, kind of people who make up a large segment of the geek community.
The Dog Argument: Having to go AFK in the middle of a Raid down Karahzan to take Skippy out for a walk is right out.
Just Like Their Owners
Having a pet often represents a meeting of human and animal minds. We think of them as people. We choose them as companions because we see ourselves in them. How many of us are fat couch potatoes? How many of us put up a too cool, apathetic, jaded front, while forever readying the sharp barbs of a rather vocal rant? How many are always curious for something new? How many divide our time into sleeping, eating, playing and burying our crap? How many look smarter than we really are? Prone to nocturnal habits? How many are essentially pussies? Two geeks fighting must indeed look like a cat fight. I'd use those moves.
The Dog Argument: Dogs tend to look dumb, as sometimes, do we. I may just have to disown the costume-wearing segment of our population. And while loyalty (principally to a geek subculture) is important to geeks, I think cat loyalty has been underestimated for far too long by dog lovers who like to play up their treacherous tendencies. It's called the art of the ambush, something your perpetually barking dog can't possibly comprehend.
Another thing that draws geeks to cats is their aura. These animals remain relatively undomesticated by scientific standards. You don't own them, they own you. It's a pretty great adaptation when you think about it. They've evolved a defense mechanism that essentially makes them too cute and cuddly to eat. Purring alone has to be up there with opposable thumbs! And who needs opposable thumbs when you can get someone to do everything for you? While some cultures are notoriously immune to their highly evolved charms, others are genetically prone to it, like the Ancient Egyptians and... geeks! Face it, cats are the more interesting of the common house pets by far - Egyptian gods, witches' familiars, the 9 lives thing, their power to cause bad luck, their ability to see ghosts, way more cat-themed superheroes and villains than dogs or goldfish... Cats are ninja of the animal kingdom. "Cool cats." And cats are funnier too, the internet is proof of that.
The Dog Argument: Dogs have their own mystique, and they tend to come off better in movies and on tv, where they are portrayed as faithful companions able to rescue children that have fallen down a well. Plenty of dog heroes. But that's very much it. Heroes and the occasional villain (the evil hero, if you will). They play to type. They're a one-trick pony... uhm... doggy.

Geek Cat of the Week #1: Salem Saberhagen
Name: Salem Saberhagen
Stomping Grounds: Sabrina the Teenage Witch (tv)
Side: Evil (with Good tendencies)
Breed: American Shorthair (formerly Warlock)
Cat Powers: Can go from flesh and blood to animatronic in the time it takes to jump off a couch.
Skills: Eat 7, Sleep 2, Mischief 9, Wit 8, "Singing" 1
Cat Weaknesses: Lizard Flakes. Sports channels. Maintaining a secret identity. An overriding desire to take over the world.


Sea-of-Green said...

Awww, your kitty looks like my old kitty. I like cats but never had them growing up, because my dad didn't like them. I finally got one as an adult, and then discovered I was allergic to them -- but, not a simple sneezing-and-itchy-eye allergy, no. The poor kitty's constant presence caused me to have a full-blown asthma attack -- first I'd ever had. In order to keep the cat, I'd have to have daily shots. :-( Luckily, a relative who really liked my cat was more than happy to take him in, so he went to a good home, and I got to visit him regularly.

mwb said...

Testify on the glory of cats and geeks!

I have to admit I laughed aloud many a time at Salem in the live action Sabrina show.

Not that I ever watched the show, ever.

BTW, if you're interested I'm starting a run of snarky and loving fannish posts on the Godzilla movies. I did the first yesterday and will probably do one or two a week. Both the classic and revamped contemporary ones.

Siskoid said...

Sea: My dad also hated them. Enough so that he would cross the street to kick one. I do not kid. Thankfully, my parents were divorced when I was 6 years old, and we have now been estranged for well over 10 years.

Mwb: Sabrina was a terrible, terrible show. But the mechanical cat? HIGH-larious!

I AM very much interested in Godzilla. I'll come by.

mwb said...

"Sabrina was a terrible, terrible show. But the mechanical cat? HIGH-larious!"

Worst thing about the show (aside from it just being bad) was the horrendous waste of some actually talented comedians and comedic actors.

I mean you had Caroline Rhea, Beth Broderick and Martin Mull as regular cast - and this is what you do with them?


Martin Léger said...

I have somewhat of animal magnetism, but as for popular belief I'm attracted to them and not the other way around, nothing bad has happened, yet. I always considered myself more of a dog person also, I guess I'm a new breed of geek?

Went to my friends apartment and learned that birds are also surprisingly fun, staying on your shoulder while you game-out and what not.


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