Caturday: A Philosophical Question of Perception

Caturday: A Philosophical Question of Perception

The Situation: I had a cat who for her six years of life had never been outside of my apartment. The apartment had only two doors, one for the closet, and one door opening to the stairway outside. My cat spent a lot of time in the closet…dark, floor a jumble of snow boots and shoes, and a sky of coats and jackets. I never went in the closet, but used the front door, several times a day, or twice a day, leaving in the morning and returning in the evening. She had her door, I had mine. Any time I returned from a short trip, or an entire day outdoors, she would be sitting there in the entryway, waiting for me.

My Question: With my cat’s limited experience with doors, did she think that I spent hours, or whole days in a closet? I could think of no other reference point for her to consider. And, how did she know it was me coming up the stairs of the apartment building…or did she go to the door every time she heard footsteps? Can’t imagine that. But, back to the more philosophical part of my thinking here…

Philosophical Question: How many times a day do any of us take our past experiences, or what we consider innate knowledge, and project our “truth” onto the actions. appearance, or beliefs of others? The people we think are in closets…are they really out in a world of challenge, uncertainty, decisions to be made, mundane, challenging, or life changing – even dealing with desperation and mortality? Or, are they just kicking back in a dark, safe closet full of known and comfortable objects to wrap themselves in?
Of mundane origins…but larger implictions…and –

Songs from the Closet

I Want to Know ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

21 thoughts on “Caturday: A Philosophical Question of Perception

  1. I probably total;y bungled the philosophy of this post, but if I may, my cat only runs to the door when people he knows visits. And yes, according to him, I have no more life than waiting in the closet before I come out and smuggle him.

    • coyotero2112 says:

      Kind of an education reading the replies to this. There’s the people who consider cats a high life form, a sort of familiar, and there’s the people who think they’re just dumb animals that want to be fed, catered to, then left alone until attention becomes a desire, however temporary. Always learning something about people when feedback starts coming in. Cheers !

  2. This is tough. Thinking about the ‘Philosophical Question’ is making my brain ache. I don’t know why, but I always assumed that most pets think their owners are not as smart as they are and feel sorry for them. As humans, we like to think we are smarter because — well, that’s what humans do. Look at our lives and then look at our cat’s life. We spend the better part of our lives trying to figure stuff out. A cat, from day one, knows how to just BE. I think your cat knows you leave the apartment. I’m thinking the cat is wondering, “why?” — when you could hang out in the closet and have no political issues, no political correctness, no parking fines . . .

    • coyotero2112 says:

      True Pooh-osity…the Uncut Block of Zen. Just thinking about the no frame of reference thing…and how those with a frame of reference think those without are stupid, backward, lost souls who need some re-education…plenty of that thinking going round.

  3. I spend a majority of my time with my cat, being my own boss allows for this. I can say that he knows who is coming to the door even by the vehicle noise that approaches the house. He hisses and goes to his tower if it is someone he dislikes, my screeching niece, nephew and brother. If it is my mother he goes and flops over waiting. When my mom is home with my cat and I am gone she has seen the same demonstrations. I also lhave a cat that has had very limited outside time. He will come and sit under the porch while I do yoga on it, but I leave the door open because if my brother (mailman, UPS) drives up he makes a mad dash for the door and his perch. He has them all distinguished. So I am certain if you loved your cat he loved you back and did not think you lived in the closet just spite him for hours. xo

  4. teriander says:

    Reblogged this on Here Be Dragons and commented:
    My take is that the cat doesn’t give a shit once I’ve walked out my door. Because he is a cat.

  5. What I like about my cats are their inability to grasp the concept that there is anything outside of the world they are currently inhabiting.Technology, New York City, Catholic guilt — these are not just alien concepts, from what I can see, but totally unimportant. Being strays I have no idea what their lives were like before they adopted me as the bringer of food and belly rubs, but I suspect their outlook was much as it is today: houses, electricity and canned food simply just didn’t exist for them until, one day, it did. I don’t know about your cat, but I’ve seen mine disappear into another room for half a day, provided there is a good sunbeam to lay in. Perhaps your cat just assumed you had found a sunbeam with your name on it and were simply curled up and purring “somewhere else.” Just a thought.

    • coyotero2112 says:

      Who knows…I just remember the quizzical looks on her face. The limited world view does simplify things, but there’s got to be a question in even the most guileless of minds.

      • True, and I find with my cats once I feed them most of the greater questions concerning life (“will there be more food after I’m done eating this?” “what would we do if our human didn’t have thumbs to open food tins?” “if there is a god how can there be neutering?”) seem far less important on a full belly.

        • coyotero2112 says:

          Truly pragmmatic creatues…which is a reason I am drawn to them. W.S. Burroughs dropped his cat-hating ways when he retired to Kansas, and “The Western Lands” is full of references to the wonder of cats, when not full of references to immortality. Seems strange a man so obsessed with immortality and familiars hated cats for so long.

          • Old Bill Lee was an odd duck, no doubt. Perhaps it was just the heroin talking, though I had a friend when I lived in Vegas who hated cats for the reasoning that, if they were 20 times bigger than they are now, they would eat us … which I suppose is true, but that same rational can be applied to almost anything and really, that much hate tires a person out at the end of the day.

            • coyotero2112 says:

              I’ve had several nightmares with cats walking upright…and for some reason that just terrifies me. But when awake, I think it would be quite interesting. Then, a couple of days ago, I saw a photo-shopped pic of a large cat walking upright…sent me right back into a feeling of…not fear, but something similar.

              • Yes, I know what you are talking about (or at least it sounds familiar) when something triggers that forgotten memory of your dream world and you get the glimpse of that whole other story that only reveals itself to your subconscious. When things do not act the way they are suppose to, even if during our waking hours the same thing might appear humorous or droll, there is still that sense of unease, of something that just isn’t right.

  6. The new theory of Coyotero’s Cat…

    On a mundane level, I think that’s why I find the concept of envy challenging. Why ever would you want to envy some part of someone’s life when you have no idea of the full picture of their situation? My nan used to say you should be careful what you wish for, and I think that’s stuck with me.

    Thanks for making me think…as ever. 😉

    • coyotero2112 says:

      Beyond the philosophical implications…I just wondered if my cat thought I was an idiot – hanging out in a “closet” for hours, or days. Can’t remember who said that about being careful what we wish for, George Bernard Shaw, maybe…and the Wilde’s “When the gods want to punish us they answer our prayers.” I think I got that right…all sage advice, wherever it came from. Still, wonder if my cat pitied my life spent in that “closet” for hours and days at a time.

    • coyotero2112 says:

      Yeah, that was intense… It was the Year of Kurt Vonnegtut, and I was going to Butler University in his hometown of Indianapolis to see him speak…and he died. Born on Armistice Day, when it still celebrated peace, and died during the year his people finally accepted him, instead of banning and burning his books. That bird cage drawing was from 1973…he just had it stashed away to be posted on his site when he died. Weird World !

  7. Aaahhhh…closets. I’m afraid some we make for ourselves and others are boarded up around us by the mundane issues that directly impact us even when, like your cat, we choose to stay in our own closet with only one door out. So on the day we decide to leave the closet we’ve made for ourselves and venture out our front door, we run smack up against a closet built around our closet. Then, we either have to find a way to kick open the closet we didn’t make or return to the one where we had shoes on the floor and shirts hanging for our sky. Now, there’s the rub with closets. To leave or not to leave.

    • coyotero2112 says:

      Vonnegut had a great scene in “Breakfast of Champions” where Kilgore Trout’s was leaving his apartment, maybe for good. He opened the door of his canary’s bird cage, and then the window. The canary stayed put. Vonnegut congratulated him on his choice. When Vonnegut died, he had a drawing ready for his only obituary…it was a picture of an empty bird cage with the door open…the bird had flown.

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