I wanted to write this paper because what seems to be the most common problem with people who are struggling with depression is their consciousness levels. I’ve always had a special connection with cats people adore so I wanted to write this to explain how I think it helps my mental health.
I’ve been a cat person my entire life and it took me a long time to understand why people would prefer to own dogs. When I’m out with my cat I constantly catch stares from those amused that a cat would just follow someone around. Cats are simply wrongly labelled. They are extremely individualistic and demand respect. So I would say if you are one of the cat owners who often says that cats secretly hate you. Well their cat probably does and they deserve it. However, I’d like to say that is not completely on them. The adoration of dogs by the previous generation has put aside cats as the dominant family pet because you simply don’t need to constantly earn your dog’s respect. This is due to our lack of understanding of how cats actually think. They want to have the friendship we have with our dogs- but even more than that they do not want to be controlled. To have a cat, is to have a partner, to be willing to constantly sacrifice for the other. Funnily this is how the Church views marriage. Most people seem unwilling to sacrifice the same for their pet. Simply too frustrating for some because of the lack of ability to clearly communicate with an animal. What needs to be understood is that your animals are aware of this and don’t blame you for it. People like to tell the quick ‘fact’ that cats only meow around humans and think it’s so interesting but miss the point entirely. This means whenever your cat meows they are specifically trying to speak to you somehow. My cat rarely meows. You can trust me in doing so, the gaining of respect and happiness in your cat, will raise your self’s consciousness to levels you haven’t experienced before.
In our culture we have the famous idiom of ‘Curiosity killed the cat’, which plays on the unrelenting curiousness of cats that often get them in danger. While it does sound like a warning, people only use it for their own protection. When people get bothered with how much you are questioning something or what they are doing is when this phrase gets thrown out at you. This is because like most idioms in our current era this is just a shortened version of a longer idios. This particular one ends with “But satisfaction brought it back.”1 As humans we have a tendency to avoid pain and that’s because it’s fairly logical to do so. If you ever wondered why humans dubbed lions the kings of the jungle it’s fairly clear it’s from our fascination of cats. Even still in 2020 one of the most popular tv shows was about someone who ‘tamed’ lions and idolized himself for doing so.2 We adore cats because we are unable to control them. The most force you can have is not allowing a cat to do something – but this is why they begin to hate you. The best example to give fellow cat owners would be the collar conundrum. For those who don’t know, if you put a collar on a cat they will relentlessly find a way to remove it, unless of course you put it on so tight it can’t be removed at all. This chokes the cat. If you force your cat to wear a collar it does not like you. What they want is freedom. They are only wearing that because you make them. Unless they see a reason why you are doing it on occasion they won’t respect you. Cats believe they are capable and don’t understand why you don’t trust them. We should, they are very similar to us. Being depressed leads to a loss in taking care of yourself for them as well in every way. If we want to look for humans to be a comparison we can find one quite easily in what psychologists would call the curious brain of ADHD.3
ADHD is still quite a mystery to the public. Many don’t know but ADD and ADHD are not separate, rather ADD had the H added in. In this development of understanding the uniqueness within people with the mental trait is still fully expanding. Widely too, the name change for instance recognized that the deficit-hyperactive are interconnected traits. To me this would imply that people would be able to recognize their completely abstract behavioural patterns; this would in turn to lead to different growth patterns in the brain. New thoughts are coming out from psychologists that claim ADHD was an evolutionary miracle in human history.4 This makes quite a lot of sense if you add in the second part of the idiom “but satisfaction brought it back”. We were once cavemen and the famous philosopher Plato has a iconic cave allegory that I like to think was his attempt to say how we got out of the caves.5 We must first define this. To ‘get out’ of the caves would be to say people wanted out. Max Weber created his own allegory which has the same principle. He said that only the most curious of people find the secret exit to the cages they are born into.6 So this is where we need to realize that considering the times Plato may have been referring to the helpers as the Hero’s that were in Greek Mythology. These heroes are described as our protectors and the ones who established our human civilizations. We called them Kings. We call lions, kings. Egyptians worshiped cats. Today still we are extremely mystified by those who can tame these wild beasts. Even though Joe Exotic has been a convicted criminal and admits to abusing men half his age through manipulation of drugs for sex, he still has a fairly positive public image.
Whether you are a creationist or an evolutionist you must agree that the brains of animals are essentially smaller brains than ours. I’ve grown up being told almost like a fact that people who are special have a unique connection with animals. Sometimes in a less positive light when shown because they are mentally unwell but most known with Disney princesses and how they can intimately be with all creatures. I would say why I’m able to have a special relationship with cats is because my ADHD brain is labelled as a curious brain by psychologists.7 What other people describe as weird or annoying behaviors, I just understand and try to encourage my cat. This has led to him trusting in me to keep him safe on the rare occasions I force him not to do something. He doesn’t stray if I let him out on a road trip to stretch, he doesn’t get under my pedals. After I started introducing him to the outdoors I would walk around with him. Once he got comfortable outdoors he would try to get me to follow him – so I did and he brings me to where I assume he often is now when outside. It’s a spot in a large section of bushes by a bus stop and he just watches people walk by. Although we can’t communicate with anything other than some sounds we definitely have a closer relationship than most people have. But this only came as making him an equal in my house. As the one in control of his life I must constantly be watching his mood to ensure he stays happy. Many don’t know this but when cats get depressed they stop cleaning and taking care of themselves, just like humans.8 It’s how cats can become obese as well. The best method for feeding a cat is ‘trickle-feeding’ which essentially means always having food out so they can eat whenever they want. What’s interesting is that a cat will eat treats while they have food in their dish. This is because they understand that the treats are different from their regular food and are getting treated. For instance; if I give my cat a dozen treats after he stops eating his ‘dinner’ when I put it out he won’t even eat them until hours later. It’s the most curious thing to me when people don’t take responsibility for their pets’ health. Who else can do something about it?
1. Matteo, Anna, Voice of America English News
2. Reigstad, Leif, Texasmonthly
3. Kidd, C, Hayden, B, “The Psychology and Neuroscience of Curiosity.”
4. Krans, Brian. “ADHD and Evolution: Were Hyperactive Hunter-Gatherers Better Adapted Than Their Peers?”
5. Plato’s Cave allegory seemed to suggest that humans stuck in a cave their whole lives can’t jump out into society. So people are casting shadow stories to them to get them ready to come out. This argument surrounds how Greek Heroes were the first to establish societies.
6. Elwell, Frank. “The Sociology of Max Weber.”
7. Kidd, C, Hayden, B, “The Psychology and Neuroscience of Curiosity.”
8. Reigstad, Leif’s article on Texas Monthly describes how Joe placed a lot of blame on an environmental activist named Carole Baskins. With the show’s popularity of course there are quite a few people that think he is speaking just truths. President Trump was even asked about calling Joe Exotic in jail. (clear joke from media though)
Elwell, Frank. “The Sociology of Max Weber.” The Sociology of Max Weber. Accessed June 16, 2020. http://academic.udayton.edu/RichardGhere/POL 307/weber.html.
Kidd, Celeste, Benjamin Y. Hayden. “The Psychology and Neuroscience of Curiosity.” Neuron 88, no. 3 (2015): 449–60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2015.09.010.
Krans, Brian. “ADHD and Evolution: Were Hyperactive Hunter-Gatherers Better Adapted Than Their Peers?” healthline, n.d. https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/evolution#1.
Matteo, Anna. “’Curiosity Killed the Cat’.” VOA. VOA – Voice of America English News, September 15, 2018. https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/curiosity-killed-the-cat-/4567264.html.
Reigstad, Leif. “Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild.” Texasmonthly, n.d. https://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/joe-exotic-a-dark-journey-into-the-world-of-a-man-gone-wild/