22 Jun

I might be getting a kitten. And by I, I mean my flat, and by might I mean will if I just say the word to the no-longer-willing-owner. No doubt, he’s cute. Black, with a little white beard. The pros are many: cats are low maintenance, my flatmates agree to share responsibility, and his current owner knows I won’t keep him forever. But still, I hesitate.

I’m the first to admit, it’s not in my nature to nurture- just ask the kids I nannied in France. But cats, they can’t talk. Or cry. Or email. Or shout. Or say “I don’t like you” (ok, maybe projecting beyond kids now- SIFYD?) As artist Anna Blessman said, “people have problems allowing or creating intimacy with other people, but they have very intimate relationships with their pets…There’s no questioning or doubting with them; animals love you the way you are.” Affection without judgement; I can see the appeal. With a purr, or a wag of a tail, these animals can say ‘I love you!’- what other animals do that?

But if I overanalyse, (as I am inclined to do) this makes me kind of apprehensive. Are pets, in fact, the first step down the slippery slope to virtual lives, devoid of human contact? If animal intimacy can replace human intimacy, surely it too could be replaced with computer generated intimacy? Soon the crazy cat woman from The Simpsons will be all about online, not feline, and before we know it, we’ll all be obese, living in spaceships, staring at screens and waiting for Wall-E to clean up the planet. A clear and logical progression, I know. Or possibly paranoia from someone who fears responsibility, and wants any excuse not to take on a kitten. A bit of column A, a bit of column B.

So maybe I’ll hold off on the cat for now. Or maybe I’ll outsmart the system by leap frogging animal affection completely, while at the same time regressing technologically- hell yeah, I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna bring back the Tamagotchi.


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