Friday, March 18, 2011

Of Dogs and Cats*

Sashimi Koneko, concerned about mind control
We've spoken before of the importance of pets in the Yummish life. In today's lesson, we're going to explore the respective merits of the two most popular household pets: dogs and cats.

There are many, many, many practical benefits from bringing a dog into your life. Over centuries, dogs have been engineered by man to be of extraordinary usefulness. Strong, clever, brave and loyal, they have served man as pack animals, body guards, guides, hunters, companions and even dinner. Bred to subservience, dogs are compelled to please their human “masters” and are never so happy as when they have done so.

Cats, on the other hand, are less concerned with garnering the approbation of the clawless, fangless shivering naked apes they've (sometimes grudgingly) allowed to share their space. Cats are not inclined to tote and fetch for the pleasure of man, nor are they concerned with our displeasure at this disinclination. Though expert hunters, trackers, and combatants, cats don't feel compelled to use these skills for anyone's benefit other than their own. Cats improve our lives in only one way: by keeping in check rodents, human egos and similar vectors of disease.  
Sushi Koneko, 2 years ago

The Yummish believe that there are no “Dog People” versus “Cat People,” but rather, like many things, it falls out along a spectrum. We all need unconditional love from time to time, just as we all occasionally need our egos challenged. Our current emotional need (coupled with our current housing situations, to be realistic), determines which is the right pet (or combination thereof) for that time of our lives. Some people may even find themselves sliding back and forth a bit on that spectrum over the course of their lives.

As the Yummish Council is located in the lush, green and yet highly populated San Francisco Bay Area – a prime breeding ground for both rodents and self-important pseudo-intellectual types, we have elected to bring not just one, but two cats into our temple. From our daily care and worship of them over the past two years, as well as through our nightly practice of cat yoga,* we have learned the following ego-diminishing lessons:

Optimism: Owning a cat changes your perspective. It's not just a box half full of cat poo that you have to empty. It's cat poo that's not all over the floor.

Selflessness: Putting the desires of others before your own. While you might enjoy sleeping in on a weekend morning, this selfish act would delay the cats' breakfast by as much as an hour or two, leaving them with no choice but to walk repeatedly across your torso, being sure to plant each of four paws into your full bladder and thus forcing you out of the bed anyway.

Generosity: Unattachment, giving and letting go. You may have thought it was your leather sofa or your memory foam mattress, but will soon find there is greater grace in accepting that they are now the cats' scratching posts.

Forbearance: Patience and forgiveness. There will be furballs in the corners and hairballs in your slippers.

Truthfulness: There is no point in lying to a cat. They don't care what you're saying anyway. Just get that can of food open.  

*Tell me about the rabbits, George.

Today's exercise: Pet something furry.  

Next: YARP: Yummish Advanced Research Projects

**Cat yoga: a feline-guided mental and physical discipline that involves contorting one's body into increasingly challenging positions (catsanas) in order not to disturb the cats sleeping in the center of the bed.


  1. love the cat yoga, totally have been there! Sometimes, pet ownership gives me more trouble in my mind than eating meat. Sometimes I get really down about humanity and how we have inbred some breeds so much that certain breeds have physical or mental health issues. It's the #1 reason I don't buy animals, I always rescue.

  2. I think that man and other animals have a long history of evolving to develop mutually beneficially relationships as well as deleterious ones. After all, there are people out there who think that humans perhaps evolved to our present state thanks to the bacteria in our bodies trying to "engineer" their own idea environment. (Making us essentially naked-monkey bacteria condos. How's that for a blow to the ol' ego? :-D )

    I totally agree, though, that inbreeding of domestic animals, especially that which is done for cosmetic reasons, is a huge problem. As repulsive as, say, dog fighting is, the average, AKC-approved puppy mill is an even more horrific thing. Unless your are running the Iditarod, etc. most of us are best served by adopting a mix over buying a breed.

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