[DWJ] Naming a cat AND Where are we from?

Gili Bar-Hillel gbhillel at netvision.net.il
Wed Apr 18 14:14:14 EDT 2007

Charlie asked: In what way are the cats a curse?

 When the cats are not spayed, neutered, or fed regularly, they can be very
noisy (mating calls, territory fights), smelly (marking territory) and often
injure each other in battle, so you get really mean looking male cats with
big square heads thickened by hormones and scar tissue, and poor chewed-up
looking females worn out after litter after litter, and cats with open
injuries and one eye scratched out, and unhealthy little kittens with
terrible eye infections... heartbreaking for a cat lover and disgusting to a
cat non-lover. I assume that to a non-cat-lover the sight of a colony of 30
to 40 cats, even if the cats are perfectly healthy and calm, can be
disconcerting. When the cats are not fed they have no recourse but to claw
through bags of garbage, many of them develop a little bald spot on their
nose from pushing up bin lids - people tend to consider the cats themselves
vermin, and not to think of the vermin that COULD populate the same garbage
bins. We had a terrible time a couple of years ago with cats coming in
through our windows and marking territory inside our house - talk about
smelly - forcing us to regiment our pet cats' meals and put nets in some of
the windows. And then people have all sorts of unjustified nasty
superstitions about cats as well. AFAIK, they spread far fewer diseases than
other animals. I suppose they could spread rabies, though this is extremely
uncommon; they can spread toxoplasmosis which is very bad for unborn babies,
but they are only contagious for about three days and the mother would have
to be actually scratched or in contact with their feces during these three
days and the critical stage of her pregnancy - far more likely to contract
it from undercooked beef; they mostly spread diseases that affect other cats
but are not transferrable to humans or dogs, such as FIV (feline equivalent
of HIV).

I am most definitely a cat lover, and several of the cats I've raised were
adopted straight off the street, such as our current feline companion,
Sushi. I've always assumed DWJ is also a cat lover, because of how she
writes about cats: Ashteth temple cats, Benvenuto's tribe, Glady's cats,
Fiddle, Throgmorten, Proudfoot... plenty of very catlike cats in DWJ's
books. Unlike JKR who clearly never loved a cat and doesn't "get it". Dodie
Smith "gets" cats too, which is particularly nice as she is clearly also a
dog person - rare to find someone who loves both (I do). And I've just read
a couple of Terry Pratchett books starring Greebo the cat, Pratchett "gets"
cats too.


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