If I must come back in another life as an animal, I would choose to be a house cat.
I have stated this often, usually when asked to do something painful, like shopping for drapes. I’ve never seen a cat shop for drapes, unless scratching your claws on them is considered shopping.
But is this pretend reincarnation scenario of mine a form of envy?
If so, I’m not alone.
According to a recent survey done by Whiskas, a brand of cat food, 90 percent of cat owners say they are jealous of their cat’s lifestyle. The survey also found 75 percent of those surveyed wish they could actually be cats. Digging deeper into this cat fancy, the survey found half of those surveyed were jealous of how much their cats got to sleep; 41 percent wished they could relax as much as their cats; and 36 percent wanted to be as agile as their cats.
Gallup and Rasmussen have yet to release their cat jealousy survey findings.
A confession of sorts: I have owned or been in homes where cats have resided my entire life. We currently have two cats, Sadie and Jackie. These cats and I have the same understanding I’ve had with every other cat I’ve cohabited with for the last five decades — I’ll feed you and, occasionally, you’ll sit on my lap. Other than that, we have little to do with one another. If you (meaning, the cat) cause problems, the deal is off.
Sadie and Jackie have no issues with this arrangement. They’ve been locked up in the garage for two of our vacations thus far and have barely let out a meow. They are shadows in the corner, neither seen nor heard, feline Milford men, and not picky about their brand of cat chow. I respect that.
But do I want to actually be a house cat and not a human being?
Neither Jackie or Sadie seem to understand college football. I haven’t heard either of them tell a funny joke, nor do they laugh when I tell them one. They have never acknowledged music. Not even a paw tap. I couldn’t imagine trading those human joys for an existence of slumber, no responsibility, slumber, and, occasionally, chasing a squirrel.
Admittedly, there are some advantages of being a cat that are appealing. Aim isn’t as big an issue with a giant sandbox as it is with a commode. Cats usually don’t have to pay taxes or power bills. And every cat I’ve known has absolutely no qualms about walking nonchalantly into another room when I’m in mid-conversation with them. That would be nice.
But does that mean I’m jealous? I don’t think so.
There’s also some advantages about living in Alabama (mainly, their football team doesn’t lose to South Carolina), but I don’t want to move there.
Really, what I think this survey shows is that 90 percent of cat owners don’t want any responsibility, want to be totally independent, and would prefer to sleep all the time. That doesn’t mean they want to be a cat. That means they want to be unemployed.
A job is all that separates some of us from living like felines. You don’t actually have to be a cat to live like one.
• Len Robbins is editor of The Clinch County News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.