Cats And Politicians

By Bill Hall

Have you ever noticed that cats and politicians always go straight to the people who hate or fear them?

It's as if they can tell which person doesn't like them and deliberately start molesting the guy just to torment him.

It happened again the other night at our house (with cats, I mean. We don't let politicians run around our house). Five friends were visiting us. Four of them adore cats. One of them has catophobia or whatever it is they call the fear of cats.

A cat entered the room, briefly surveyed the five humans and then headed straight for the one that fears cats.

I don't know why she fears cats. I don't know why anybody does. Cats are real small. They hardly ever try to rip your throat out or anything like that. But I think some people have better memories than the rest of us. They can remember that time as babies when cats would come sit on their little chests and breathe in their faces in that friendly way of cats around small humans. I think cats like the smell of milk on a small person's breath.

But that's no fun for the baby. And it's a lot more frightening when you're 20 inches long than when you're 6 feet tall. It's kind of like being an adult who wakes up with a puma on his chest, breathing in his face. That can be a horrible experience - especially if the puma hasn't brushed his teeth.

I think some people subconsciously remember those times of childhood when they were regularly sat on by a cat. That's why they fear cats. They remember their days as a cat bed (which, you have to admit, is a lot better than being a cat box).

Or maybe some people fear cats because they're afraid the cats will bring them a dead mouse or bird or small dog, the way cats will when they are trying to be friendly.

Or maybe the fear of cats is simply instinctive - a part of our being that warns us against something that resembles a saber-toothed tiger who has been to an orthodontist.

Whatever the reason, some people fear cats. And of course, there are people who simply don't like cats, just as there are people who don't like other short, selfish people incapable of intelligent conversation.

But the joke about cats gravitating to people who hate or fear them is no joke. It's true. And that presents two questions:

1. How do they know which people don't like them?

2. Why do they go first and foremost to those who despise them?

The answer to the first question is easy. When somebody is cringing, turning red and yelling, "Get away from me, you filthy bird butcher!" even a cat can tell that is not a positive reaction.

Cats gravitate toward that person because that person doesn't like them and they want to do something about it. Nobody likes to be hated. And if you feel someone misunderstands you, it is natural to try to win him over.

For good measure, cats want to make converts because they need something:


Your cat is keenly aware that you could get hit by a pizza truck tomorrow and he would suddenly find his face out of the food dish and his fuzzy fanny out on the street. The thought of being without food and having to work for a living is terrifying to those bums. So they are constantly courting the widest circle of friends possible in the event they need a new place to live.

And of course, they don't waste their time on those they have already converted. They head for those who cringe when they walk into a room. They try to create one more household where they can get fed in an emergency.

Politicians are the same way. If you send them money and vote for them, they will rub up against your leg and purr once in a while. But they are especially intrigued if you are openly hostile. Politicians can't stand not to be loved. They never give up on winning you over.

And so if you consider your senator a public embarrassment to your state, a virtual social disease, he will walk into the room, instantly spot you among his ignorant supporters and head straight for you.

And you can't blame him for trying. But if he tries to lie down on your chest and breathe in your face, call the police.

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