What if we're wrong about our feline friends?
"Cats don't fight for their rights; they take them for granted. They have a right to be fed, watered, stroked on demand, and supplied with a lap and a clean commode... and if they don't get their rights, they quietly commit certain acts of civil disobedience.... Tyrants!"1
It has long been assumed by the human race that cats are not intelligent in so far as they are unable to read, write, or work to effect a change in their environment. However all that changed on a certain drizzly sort of day in 1983.
A woman, cleaning out her attic, found a roll of papers hidden in a hitherto before unseen and unknown crawl space. Uncertain of what she had found, she turned them over to a friend (name withheld upon request) who turned them over to another friend (ditto) who turned them over to a group of scientists for study. These men and women, including linguists, biologists, behavioral psychologists (together with feline psychologists), veterinarians specializing in feline medicine and others, worked long and hard first to translate and then to comprehend, it was hoped, the deeper meaning of the mysterious papers. What they learned so shocked them that the papers once again vanished without a trace.
Vanished, that is, until an enterprising young man learned of their existence (at the deathbed of one of the feline psychologists) and immediately sought to right the wrong. Thus, the papers, which turned out to be a journal as well as a series of letters, and the scientists' notes found their way into his hands and from there to mine.
We have each received threats regarding our safety should we attempt to publish the shocking truth discovered in these pages. None of those involved in their study are willing to come forward and admit to the truth of what must now be accepted as an arrogant assumption. Under the circumstances, this brave young man and I have both chosen to remain anonymous. Indeed, he himself has prudently seen fit to "vanish" after turning the papers over to me.
Not all of the letters have a salutation. However, as those that do are all addressed to the same, um, individual, this editor must believe that all of the letters were sent to her. Based on the content of the journal, it would appear to be that of the same individual.
The letters and journal are hand written, or should I say, "paw" written? It doesn't seem possible that the authors could possibly have held a pen (of any kind) leading researchers to believe that a claw was dipped into some form of ink. The ink itself cannot be identified.
Some of the original terms used by the authors are impossible to translate exactly into our idea of language and so the translators looked to the context in question and made an "educated guess." In some cases, even this was not possible. Perhaps this is just as well as most of these unknown terms relate to the human race. Questionable translations will be noted in italicized brackets. This editor bows to the learned judgment of the researchers and leaves it to you, the reader, to judge for him, her, or IT self. I present this material in as close to chronological order as possible. This means that the letters are interspersed among the journal entries.
Now that I have done my duty by seeing to it that the truth revealed in these papers is given over to you, the reader, I, too, am taking a leave of absence from my firm. Consider it a vacation, a very long vacation. Where will I be going, you ask? Somewhere far, far away. Moreover, if, one day, I see a cat seriously studying me, I shall treat it with the utmost respect. I suggest you do the same.
"As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows, cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the human mind. --Cleveland Amory"
Spring, Year Unknown
My dear Misiu,
How delighted I was to learn of your birth from my sister – your mother. Although you are too young as yet to read this letter, knowing your mother as I do, I’m sure you will be able to do so in only a couple of months. But I couldn’t wait to share my joy with you.
Be prepared to be given a name by the humans that will undoubtedly be too [cutesy] to be tolerated. However, tolerate it you must if you are to get along with them. They are not as intelligent as we are but decidedly more intelligent than that dog that also lives with you. Until they evolve to a higher level, we must accept their limitations. Be assured I will always address you by your PROPER name.
You and your brothers have come into a wonderful world, full of surprises and fun! It is also a world full of danger. As you grow and mature, you will find these things out for yourself. In the meantime, LISTEN to your mother!