It has been said for centuries that dogs are man’s best ‘friend’, and there’s been a heap of times dogs proved that they are, with countless lives saved by canine courage and companionship. Horses also share this distinction with dogs. However, man’s best ‘teacher’ has to go to those fabulous furry felines whom we think so much of, and who think so little of us. For, while we teach dogs to come, cats teach us to come. Dogs will fetch, but cats are revolted by two-legs tossing things about without trying to kill them and other such inappropriate behaviors.
Dogs will run gleefully about for no apparent reason, love to see their human family, again for no apparent reason, then cuddle and such for exactly the excuses. Cats, not so much. You see, I reckon that cats is of the mind that they were worshiped as gods in ancient times for good reason, so feel that they should also be worshiped to this day. Looking at our cats, Shadow and Miss Priss, I’m reminded that cats changed the course of human history and that they did so in a number of ways.
One of the first things cats did for humans, after determining we were poor, wretched beasts with vast potential to serve, was to teach us to bury our business. Cats found the ‘squat and so what’ sanitary practices of both canines and humans to be barbaric at the least, disgusting at all times and horribly inconvenient to navigate around.
So, they set about teaching people that it’s possible to centralize waste disposal and bury said waste. The result is that to this very day when we get the urge to purge, we go into a little box, squat and do our business. And in fact, we’ve since adapted and expanded said practices to manage virtually all human sewage and strewage.
Cats taught us about the importance of hand washing after the big double ‘P’. Thankfully we found a suitable alternative to walking a few feet away, sitting down, and licking our hands clean after wiping our poop chutes (at least most of us have). For teaching us this, mankind should be very grateful to our furry little friends, because what we now do with our pooh is what truly separates man from ape.
Cats also taught us a great deal about nutrition and optimum dietary practices, which they continue to attempt to teach us to this very day. For instance, dogs will generally stay out of the way as they lay and watch us take care of cooking and such, only dashing in for any inadvertent drops, plops, spills and/or splatters.
Cats however, will not only incessantly speak to us the entire time that we are in even remote proximity to food, reminding us that sharing is very, very important, they go on and on about how many small meals are better than just a few big ones (while purringly suggesting that optimum results may however be obtained by combining many mini meals with several intermittent large meals).
In addition to addressing sanitary and dietary matters, cats also taught us all about comfort, which has dramatically affected human behavior to this day. You see, dogs are comfortable dang near anywhere, laying on darn near any surface. Cats, however, are revolted by such lazy, unsafe and personally inconsiderate practices. So, they taught us the fundamentals of life as we know them today.
They did so by teaching us to first find a place that is safe, dry, defensible and dependable place to live. They then taught us how to transform said space in ways to maximize comfort. They taught us to make sure our business is done elsewhere, away from toes and nose. And they taught us that our footwear is a suitable substitute for them if we do not empty their litter box.
Yep, I reckon that dogs and horses have long been man’s best friends, but cats have been among man’s best teachers. And if there was ever a sound that best depicted peace, it’s my humble opinion that it has to be a purr. No sir, there just ain’t no doubt about it, cats is the only critters throughout history to teach humans things of any real significance and by doing so, forever altered our behavior.
In fact, if we really stop and think about it, many of the cultural practices and much of the social conduct of humans today can be directly attributed to our feline friends and instructors. From meat tenderization, to building the perfect beds to rest our heads, we owe much to our meowing amigos, all of whom wanted me to leave humans with this parting thought; “We don’t fart, crap on the floor or make you go for walks, so feed us already and go fetch your own f…ing stick”.