Cats and Fences

My cat.

Tilly. Short for 'Tillwe', which is short for 'TillWeThinkOfABetterName'.

This morning, I was leaning on a fence looking out into the distance; past hedgerows and trees into rolling countryside that stretched away and vanished into the distance, all under a bright blue sky. It looked very calm, very tranquil, very English. While I stood there, I thought how nice it would be to go for a stroll over that way. Maybe take the dog for a walk. If I had a dog. I don’t, I prefer cats. OK, take the cat for a walk then.

Only, there was this fence. I mentioned that. It stood there, minding its own business, incidentally stopping me from falling face-first onto the ground, which I would have done if the fence weren’t there, given that I was leaning against it.

Systems develop. Biological systems. Physical systems. Mechanical systems. Political systems. Liquorice Allsorts.

If these systems do the job they were put in place for, they assert themselves: they dig in, they fight off all the opposition. The strongest survive – not always the best, but that can depend on how you define ‘best’. (This is the essential idea of memes.)

We become accustomed to these systems, especially the ones we grow up with. Over time, they transform into seemingly natural laws, handed down over generations like ornamental heirlooms: sacrosanct, untouchable. Suggestions that there might be alternatives – whether ‘better’ or not — have to first struggle up and over high peaks of custom and tradition before they can even be given a fair hearing.

The concept of ‘property ownership’ is one such system. It is ingrained in our society so deeply that not only is it difficult to consider an alternative, it’s almost a knee-jerk response to dismiss offhand any suggestion that it’s not the best way. I probably shoudn’t risk even mentioning the ‘all property is theft’ minefield, that would raise too many reflex hackles. Oops.

As I stood there admiring the view, a view that I would probably be breaking the law of the land by strolling around in, I contemplated how pleasant it might be if there were no fences.

Sometimes I wish I were a cat.

About pendantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
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6 Responses to Cats and Fences

  1. Sally Ann says:

    A very interesting post. A fence post, in fact.
    You can always be my cat, just so long as you’re a good mouser and are prepared to eat the cheaper cat food. 


  2. Pure Fire says:

    Hi Colin…thanks for dropping by….the storm in the teacup happened to two of my friends on here….I love the way you worded your last sentence on your comment…makes you think…. 
    I think being a Cat lol…would be a much easier life (7 lives and all that ;-)…they are so independent and don’t seem to have a care in the world…they show affection when they want to…I would love to have one but I don’t think my other half will agree…We do get loads in our garden, so I suppose thats the next best thing….
    Anyway have a great evening….xxx


  3. Lo says:

    As per your first paragraph …Ever actually tried to walk a cat? Tried being the operative word here. It can be entertaining, amusing, challenging … but there’s not a lot of exercise in it, not like as with a dog. I did a harness-leash combo on mine as with his deafness it’s the safest way for him to enjoy outdoors. There’s even more stopping to sniff than with dogs – a lot more. Taking him around the back garden could be done while holding a book in the other hand to read. You walk a few feet, you stop; himself finds things to smell and rub on and – even though fixed – spray, on occasion; if you don’t have the book, you are forced to stop and wait for him, looking at things you might not normally. There’s a daily gauge of weeds or plantings from the neighbour in the garden flat; there’s the birds two houses over whose babies get a little louder each day; there’s another tendril in next door’s hanging basket growing down, and the Alsatian on the other side knows you’re out – his ears are visible above the windowsill, but he’s not barking. (Sometimes, that garden flat neighbor used to smoke a certain kind of weed, and the cat moved a lot faster then; I don’t partake so I guess it seemed like a special treat, which the cat would hone in on before I even noticed the odour.) In other words, it forces you to slow down and look at things up close, and can be quite nice after work but before fixing supper. If it’s exercise you want, get a dog. If you want to look at things a little differently from the usual, get a cat – and walk it. As you seem to like to take walks, and your writing leans toward liking to look at things in non-stereotypical ways, you might well enjoy the experience! I can’t now, as my living arrangements and outside access have changed – he gets the occasional trip around the building roof (no plants, tarred top, few other animals – it must be rather bleak, post-apocalyptic and boring to him), and that’s it. He’s older and less active, so I guess that’s all right, but I’m not the only one who misses the daily taking of the air – and in that place I was able to walk to and from work. Thanks as ever for an interesting entry. Back to another thrilling Saturday night, house tidying and primping (finishing late as was out late last night, rose late, and the whole day is about four hours off) … would rather stay online and keep reading.xxLo


  4. jane says:

    Boundaries, nice, stops me from getting told off to often………..
    The best cats for walking on a lead are Siamese apparently, I wouldn’t know I just used to let mine go outside and have no Boundaries what so ever, it’s a nature thing.



  5. Lo says:

    Colin,Re: your comment re: my comment:Tillwe is a perfectly fine name, and to my thinking, better than the insulting ones (e.g., "Butthead", "Stupid", "George W." or similar). That\’s also a lovely cat; the alert expression is familiar. Mine gets leashed because he doesn\’t play well with others. If he sees another animal, dog or cat, he tends to think the best defence is a good offence, I think because being deaf has meant he got attacked without knowing it – so he strikes preemptively. The leashing is for his own safety, really – I\’ve cleaned him up after fights enough to think this. If this were not the case, he\’d have the freedom of the city (town/neighborhood) like any others I\’ve had or known. Unless there\’s a very good reason, I tend to think cats ought to be able to go out on their own. The book is an interesting one. Her angle on faith is a lot like mine – we may not be very good at it, but it gets us through this big weird gift that is life. xxLo


  6. Graham says:

     To the true cat there is no such as concept as Property Ownership. Other than regarding the face of the human who feeds it, usually in the small hours when the human who feeds it would rather be sleeping. Said face is apparently fair game for licking, pawing, sitting on, whatever it takes to gain attention.
    And if you\’ve never stepped on a Lesbian (Lesviot) Marble Floor Tile…my friend, you haven\’t lived.


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