Excerpt from Meditations on Furry Philosophy,by R. Descats (translated by Michael C. LaBossiere from the original Feline)
Here I sit in my litter box, thinking of the things that I held to be certain in my kitten hood: the tastiness of mice, the evil of dogs, the existence of warm sunny places in which to rest, and so on. I went through life, as most tomcats do, certain of my excellent senses. However, one day while attempting to secure a tasty bit of fish in my servant’s (1) fish tank, I happened to note that to my eyes my leg appeared bent when I thrust it beneath the water. So shocked was I that I pulled my paw forth and forgot all about my dinner. Being a philosophic being, as most cats are, I sought a warm spot atop a pile of freshly washed linens and contemplated my experience. After several naps, I thought about the fact that though my leg had appeared bent, I could feel no change (other than it becoming wet) when I inserted it in the water. It was clear to my remarkable intellect (2) that my senses, which I had previously put so much stock in, had deceived me! This revelation so startled me that I missed my next four naps contemplating its implications. After securing a tasty morsel from my servant’s plate whilst he was pouring himself a beverage, I retired to my litter box for some deep thinking. I spent numerous days in my litter box contemplating all that I held true and it is only now that I have begun scratching my findings into the nearby furniture for the benefit of posterity. (3)
Sitting here in my litter box, I am attempting to doubt all that I can until I reach that which I cannot doubt. I will begin with the easy doubting. I can easily doubt that dogs, materialists, republicans, and other such beings do not exist, for they have no importance to me. With a little more effort I can doubt the existence of fleas, furniture, my next door neighbor’s garden (which is an excellent substitute for my litter box), the bricks my next door neighbor hurls at me when she spies me using her garden as a substitute litter box, and dirt. I can even doubt that my servant exists and even my litter box. I can even imagine that only I and I alone exist. (4) But, can I go further? Can I imagine that my body does not exist? Yes. I can imagine not having my beautiful tail, my elegant whiskers, my shiny coat, and my wondrous eyes. I can even imagine not having my teeth and claws, which I use to bite and slash mice, materialists, deconstructionists and other vermin. But, can I imagine it being the case that I do not exist? No. For when I think, I know I exist. I think, therefore I am comes to me clearly and distinctly by the light of feline reason, so it cannot be false. Besides, how could it be that I not exist?(5)
But what am I? Since I can imagine myself existing without my tail, whiskers, eyes, in short, without any of my bodily parts, it follows, clearly and distinctly, by the light of feline reason, that I am not my body, which is but extended substance with various modes. What them am I? I clearly and distinctly perceive, by the light of feline reason, that I am a thinking substance, without extension…
1. Descats, like most felines, considers himself the master and his “owner” the servant. Those who are owned by cats will understand what he means.
2. Cats, like most French philosophers, are shameless egotists.
3. Most of the vulgar believe cats scratch things for the merry hell of it. While sometimes this is the case, often the cats are “writing” in this manner. After all, they cannot hold pens and they have a hard time working with computers.
4. This is actually easy for a cat to believe, since it is usually one of their most cherished pre-philosophic beliefs. The hard part is getting cats to acknowledge other entities.
5. See footnote #2, above.