Seems like there are distinct opinions about about the emotional experience of animals, especially pets. I guess I’ve seen the gambit between deep anthropomorphizing of a rich series of motivations and strategies painted onto cats meowing and dogs panting, all the way to folks taking on the cold Descartian idea that animals have no feelings whatsoever.
I’m pretty deeply on team animal rights, but I also feel pretty sure that we can’t just paint our emotional experience onto other species and call it good. Y’know?
Anyway, I have this cat, Nephilim Supercat Linnaea, and jesus I love this cat so freakin’ much. And I’m pretty sure she loves the living hell out of me. Neffy begs to be picked up when I come home, she purrs whenever I get near her, she follows me from room to room, she often sleeps next to me. It breaks my heart.
I adopted Neffy from a shelter. The day before, they had rescued her from a cat-lady hoarder situation. She was so skinny, we thought she was a short haired runt.
Elina and I have been doing our best to make sure Nephilim has a happy life. Not to drown her in bizarre cat objects, but to keep her healthy, happy and make it clear she’s safe and loved and will never go hungry again.
Elina found the witch mouse. I didn’t think much of it either way. It was just a little purple mouse with a black witch hat on it’s head. It had some plastic or something inside so it crinkled when squeezed. I think it cost her a few dollars.
Besides me, there’s nothing Nephilim loves more in the world. She’s okay with string and laser pointers and she really likes to chew up plastic bags, but she freakin’ loves this mouse. She has other similar toys, but none of them are her teddy bear like witch mouse.
And, trust me, I relate. I carried around Ruffy, the little blue dog knitted by my mom. I did everything with Ruffy till he was threadbare. I think Mom patched that toy dog for me at least three or four times. She kept him after I grew too old for powder blue knit dogs. Last time I saw Ruffy, I was shocked at how tiny he’d become.
The hat didn’t last long, and then went the eyes. It doesn’t look like much of anything anymore, but she carries it around with her like a teddy bear. She’ll drop it at our feet so we’ll throw it. She brings it back to us over and over, like a dog. She entertain herself with the beaten up thing for hours. She brings it to bed with her when she sleeps.
I spend a ridiculous amount of brain power on worrying about how I’m going to replace it for her when it finally comes apart.
So, there’s my cat, who I love to death, who loves me to death, and who loves the shit out of her ridiculous purple teddy mouse.