Lee Pitts: Cats’ Rights
There seem to be organizations looking out for the civil rights of every thing and everybody these days. Gays, bisexuals, old folks, black folks, toddlers, dogs, horses, priests, prisoners, fat people, skinny people, tall people, short people, Muppies (mature urban professionals) and Puppies (pregnant urban professionals) all have their own guardians. Yet, to the best of my knowledge, no group is looking out for cats.
Cats are second-rate citizens and are routinely discriminated against and I’m not going to put up with it any more. People will cross the street rather than share the sidewalk with a black cat and did you know that cats aren’t mentioned once in the Bible? You can hear the disdain we hold for cats in our speech when we use words like catty, cataclysm, and catastrophe. We need to eliminate such words from our vocabulary as it is very disrespectful.
Sadly, there is just no feeling for felines. While 28 percent of Americans do not like cats, only 5 percent dislike dogs and yet there are no cat sit-down protests, strikes or lobbyists. Granted, cats aren’t real social, and very few cats are on Facebook, but still, cats have rights too!
No Congressman has stood on the floor of the House and given an impassioned plea for a Cats with Disabilities Act or health insurance for cats (Medicat). No Cat Liberation Front has stormed the shelter to free the kitties and no Cat Victims Fund has sent me a mailer begging for money. Why do we continue to dismiss the civil rights of cats while rich old ladies are dying and leaving their millions and mansions, to corgis and collies? Why do dogs have all the rights while all cats have is more kittens?
Talk about discrimination in the workplace! Dogs get the good jobs like sniffing baggage for drugs yet I don’t know of a single cat employed herding cattle and sheep in this country. Although I’d pay a lot of money for a ticket to see such a thing!
The discrimination starts at the top. President Obama and his family take their dog everywhere on vacation but I have yet to see a cat on Air Force One. For all I know, the President might have a cat but, like everyone else, when he leaves on one of his many vacations he probably just throws some cat chow on the ground and says, “You’re on you’re own.” As if it were an ally, or something.
Speaking of vacations, people pay a small fortune to leave their dog in a kennel where they get to play with other dogs. Next time you’re at one of these places count the cats. There are doggie bags and dog spas but whoever heard of a kitty bag or a cat massage? Poodles get clipped like a topiary hedge but a cat clip job? Never.
On the streets of every big city you’ll see urban professionals walking their dogs yet when is the last time you saw a cat on a leash in New York City? I’ve been in banks that welcome dogs but bank presidents would never allow cats inside. Perhaps it’s because dogs might leave a deposit, so to speak, but a cat? Never.
We make jokes about dropping cats from the top of the silo to see if they land on their feet and about washing the cat in the toilet, and rinsing them by flushing, but it’s not funny if you’re a cat. My heart bleeds for them. I’ve even seen bumper stickers on cars that say “Cats: The Other White Meat. That’s so hurtful! Cats can read too, you know. We build dog houses for our border collies and labs but there’s no such thing as a cat house. Well, actually there is, but I doubt they allow cats inside.
All this discrimination but I have yet to see a Million Cat March on Washington. Probably because cats don’t lobby and aren’t easily organized. So I’ve decided what this country needs is a Cat’s Legal Defense Fund to end all this discrimination. So you cat lovers out there, both of you, give generously so that I can begin to file lawsuits on behalf of cats, and my 401K, immediately. And please realize what a sacrifice this is for me because, well, I don’t really like cats all that much.