Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Already making a beast of himself (but that's okay because he is a beast)

This past weekend we adopted a new cat, our third, a 1-year-old brown-gray tabby boy named Buddy. Despite the name he came with, he has no discernible resemblance to Buddy Guy, Buddy Miles, Buddy Hackett, or the fictional Buddy Love, although perhaps a slight temperamental resemblance to Buddy Holly.
After seeing him a couple of times over a few weeks, itself a long story, we decided we couldn’t resist because he was simply too nice to pass up. Not every cat licks your face in the visiting room of an animal pound, not to mention the more common but still pleasing behaviors of purring loudly and rubbing vigorously against your hand. Plus, once you focus on a given individual whose life prospects are otherwise quite poor, it is hard to resist utilitarian principles, as extended to sentient beings generally. (The fact that those principles would tell you to just keep going is easier to ignore, albeit not, as most philosophers would perversely argue, evidence against the persuasiveness of utilitarianism.)
Heads up to anyone passing through downtown Vernon near Great Gorge: the Vernon Animal Pound, on Church Street near the main drag, is not a no-kill shelter. Not to criticize them - they don't have the resources - but this raises the stakes for the animals there.
Apart from being impossibly sweet-tempered and even calm for a 1 year old, Buddy appears to have comprehensively studied the cat handbook and memorized the list of cat behaviors that are expected of him. He is now being “fixed,” as the euphemism goes, but will soon be launched on the initially anxious (for cats, not people) project of finding his footing in a home with two other cats. The other two, 13-year-old boy Shadow and 3-year-old girl Ursula, are quite aware of what is going on and seemed unimpressed by my statement, made to them with fingers crossed, that “we have no idea how he got here, but as long as he’s here, we might as well be nice to him.”

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