Purrs in Translation
The following article is a translation from a Hebrew article that a friend showed me. I translated it just because, and then sent my translation to the author, Yael Yisrael, who approved it for publication. So... here it is! Hebrew speakers can read the original here.
by Yael Yisrael
One afternoon as I dozed on the sofa, my ginger cat snoring contentedly on my stomach, my friend suddenly telephoned and started yelling in my ear: “Turn on the TV!” I thought that the Third Lebanon War had just broken out. “They’re showing a cat playing the piano!” she went on breathlessly. That was it for my siesta. I quickly turned on Rafi Reshef, my hands trembling on the remote, so that I wouldn’t miss the up-and-coming piano star.
Look, folks, I have to be up front about this, uncomfortable as it is. Have you noticed that we cat lovers are a bit obsessed? How many times have you gotten frantic messages to turn on the TV because some kitty genius was on the news? How many emails a day do you get from other cat-lovers with videos of the latest wonder-cat on YouTube, or with a link to the hottest new cat site? Honestly, just between us, how many?
Shall I tell you how many I get in a day? Dozens! I’m not kidding. My inbox is flooded with them. And you’d better believe that I open each and every one of them with the dedication of an obsessed stamp collector, shrieking with joy to the sound of meows like Bar Rafaeli did when Leo got down on his knees and gave her the ring.
But what drives us cat-lovers wild are the kitten sites. We send them around to each other like there’s no tomorrow. We can’t wait to watch the videos of those tiny two-month-old fuzzballs posing with careless abandon on their little fur rugs. Sometimes I feel just like those creepy men who stare at half-naked fourteen-year-old girls on sleazy websites as I gaze greedily at the endless photos for collectors of “kitty pr0n,” wanting every one of those furbabies for myself.
For us cat lovers, the Internet fulfills our deepest, most unattainable fantasies of having a “cathouse” of our very own, with each new website becoming the latest hit. And the stronger the obsession, the more videos we watch on the Net.
Ever hear of StuffOnMyCat.com? It has countless pages of photographs uploaded by surfers who cover their gorgeous cats with things like jewelry, hats, baby clothes, neckties, toy animals and so on – silly, harmless stuff. The hard-core ones put stuff on their cats such as cellular phones, pocket knives, books and laptops. One woman even put her whole collection of nail polish jars in a row on her poor cat, who must have had no clue as to why he was being covered in the local drugstore’s entire cosmetics department.
We cat-lovers surf these sites with bated breath, drooling over the baby-faced, wide-eyed fur-models that melt our hearts. Please excuse the R-rated imagery, but let’s be honest: that’s exactly how it is. We crave their plump little bodies, their silky fur, the sweetness of their touch. And unless we hug, kiss and pet them a thousand times, we feel that our day has been a waste. Let’s face it, folks: we’re addicted.
Cat addiction is the most pleasant, positive and harmless addiction on earth. I’ve tried several others: wild shopping sprees at the duty-free, many-layered dobos tortes, some unsavory guys, and a few other kinds best not mentioned. But I would swear in front of the clerk of the Supreme Court that becoming addicted to those furry, big-hearted creatures is life’s greatest pleasure. It’s better than a five-star hotel in Thailand. Better than a luxury bed-and-breakfast in the Galilee. Even better than a night with your favorite movie star.
Now I’ll try to explain all this to those who got here by accident and don’t understand this strange obsession, to everyone who thinks that cat-lovers are a bunch of weirdos who threaten society as we know it. Here’s the thing: we are addicted to those magnificent, good-hearted furry creatures because they give us so much love in return. As much as you give to them, they give back double. Cats don’t deserve their reputation as selfish loners. Most of the time, they want to be close to you, and they want to make you feel good. They long to cuddle on your lap, and their goal is to love you unconditionally forever and ever and ever. Of course, they expect the same level of devotion from you. Give them that and they will be the sweetest, most devoted lovers you’ve ever had.