Only someone with spectacularly limited abilities to discern societal trends would have failed to notice that cats are immensely and increasingly popular on the Internet. Once this was pointed out to the aforesaid individual, (who perhaps has manfully shunned the unrelenting onslaught of the Information Age, preferring the worldly pleasures of music, maidens and masonry to the ethereal lure of videos of foreigners on public transport, or perhaps he is blind) he would have to be an utter moron not to notice that this feline fetishism is undoubtedly a portent of the demise of the epoch.
And quite right it is too. Do we really deserve a better fate than that which befell the Ancient Egyptians? The Egyptians intensified their insular fascination with animism, (no bad thing in its own right) and cat worship in particular, towards the later years of their once mighty civilisation, renowned for its bravely assertive approach to human resource management. Rather than formulating a decisive response to cultural and military incursions from Europe and The East, the Ancient Egyptians were too busy lolling* around dangling bits of wool in front of their capricious deities. Sound familiar?
And why were the Egyptians not placating other members of their pantheon to confound the usurpers? Why were they not invoking Kebechet the snake goddess to replace the vital humours of their enemies with embalming fluid, leaving lifeless but well-preserved husks (no doubt with some truly harrowing facial contortions) standing sentry on the landing grounds as a warning to future invaders?
Why not play mind games and have lion-headed Aker constantly move the horizon so oncoming ships or those approaching from the desert would’ve got fed up and gone home?
How about getting Neper, god** of grain and Tefnut, goddess of moisture, to mate and create an offspring which devastates the dried goods supplies of their enemies, really shitting on the potential for a viable siege strategy? Or failing all those, why not just get the hippo and the crocodile and the jackal and all that lot to get into the thick of battle and start wrecking people?
I will tell you why. Because they were busy commissioning endless sculptural representations to show off how wonderful their cats were. This was the ancient equivalent to posting YouTube videos or spending countless hours coming up with pithy ill-spelt captions to wilfully decontextualise mundane pictures of cats. And yet, no matter how many statues they commissioned, it was all for naught, just as the unceasing digital photographs are today. The cats all died, and left their owners alone in the world once again.
So what is the appeal of cat worship anyway? Solipsism.
Cats are lazy, self-interested, moody little hussies who can lick their own genitals – it is obvious why these promiscuous interlopers are so appealing to today’s self-infatuated public at large, and the decadent Ancient Egyptians before them.
And besides, cat worship is easy. Regular feeding, intermittent opening of doors, the occasional stroke and a willingness to surrender any knitwear to feline whims, will temporarily placate even the most intelligent of cats. I suspect many cats even pose for photographs to help with the online proselytization process.
I am not dogmatic*** in my stance on cats. To be fair, felis catus has been surprisingly adept at exploiting the pliability of weak-minded, sentimental and cripplingly lonely members of the human race. They should be applauded for this. I dread to imagine the physical, mental and emotional standard of humanity had cats not spent the last few millennia providing clear signals as to which members of our species should be removed from the gene pool.
However, the fascination with cats has become widespread, taking on a global bent which was not possible even last century, let alone in times past, when it was considered appropriate to impose curses prohibiting the trans-national trade of artefacts. How then should we respond to this? I say, let it happen.
The “civilisation” we inhabit may have contributed substantial improvements to medical care, and the ability to access the combined knowledge of the planet at the touch of a button, but what use is any of that when the average child can tie fewer than six knots? Most adolescents, and an increasing proportion of adults capable of and suitable for reproduction, would rather watch “humorous” footage of domestic animals than participate in 45-mile scouting missions to establish the most suitable sites for underground bolt holes in the event of the release of a synthetic necrotising rage virus and the inevitable societal devastation which would follow.
A generation or two of resource war, slave raids and mega-pyres which blot out the Sun should be enough to thin the ranks of the cat lovers. It would also act as a stark warning to the waverers that, come the first sign of trouble, cats will fuck off next door to someone who’s willing to let them scrape a tin of tuna across a newly tiled floor in an attempt to lap up the last few morsels.
Cats will not come to your aid. Nor will decades of passive experience of how domesticated animals respond to a washing machine be a substitute for practically acquired knowledge of sources of flint to enhance rudimentary battering weapons.
In short, I say, let the complacency continue. Give the cat lovers all the sans serif captions they want, and let Keyboard Cat**** play the requiem for the ephemeral leftist democracy in which we wallow.
*pun intended – although it should only be considered a visual and not a verbal pun, the correct pronunciation of “lolcats” is “L-O-L cats” not “lol-cats”.
** I have been told that Neper has occasionally been portrayed as androgynous, and if anyone can reliably confirm this I will immediately scrap the above proposal, cos that would make it a bit weird.
*** NO pun intended – I would never sully a fine Old English word such as “docga” by highlighting the phonetic link to a Greek parasitologism
**** At time of writing, the original “Keyboard Cat” video has had almost 19 million “views” on YouTube. At 55 seconds in length, this accounts for more than 12,000 days (nearly 33 years) of combined time wasted. To put this in context, that time could have been spent by 36,000 people attending my day-long Indigenous Fungi: Identification, Categorisation, and Utilisation in Chemical Warfare educational march.