Tuesday, November 24, 2009 1:38 PM

The Theory of The "Only Kitty"

Just as someone has said that all they needed to know in life they learned in kindergarten, I believe that we can take what we learn from animals and apply it to human behavior. Thus, many years ago, I came up with what I call the theory of the "Only Kitty". This idea comes from observances of my cats' interaction with each other, as well as with J. and myself. It goes like this: When there is more than one cat in a household, everything has to be shared. These "things" that must be shared are food, sleeping quarters (even though this encompasses the entire house), treats, toys and, importantly, attention from the humans. Do cats like sharing these things? Of course not--and this is where the theory comes in.

Each cat will want to be the Only Kitty, maybe not all of the time, but at least some of the time. Do you have to feed your cats separately? I do. Otherwise thievery will occur--not because they are starving, but because each one wants it all, and each wants the others to know he/she could pull it off. Bear, being the alpha cat, can make either one of the others give up their napping spot, for instance, but it's a free-for-all when it comes to food!

You can really see this theory in action when it comes to cuddle-time. Bear, of course, demands the most attention and usually gets it. We try to be fair, but, well, you can't pet another cat and ignore Bear, because that other cat will pay the price later. So, Bear becomes the Only Kitty, temporarily, at least. Little Girl will wait until the boys are really snoozing, then she will loudly demand attention. She knows she can get away with being the Only Kitty at certain times, and she takes full advantage of it!

You can see this behavior in humans every day. How many kids from medium-to-large families envy "only children"? There is always a competition going on for the parents' approval, among other things. I would extrapolate further and say that corporations are the biggest practitioners of this theory: What company wouldn't want to be the only supplier of any given commodity or service? Monopoly, the true goal of capitalism, definitely makes your business the "Only Kitty"!

So, I guess if I had to come up with a definition of my theory, it would be, "The desire to have all the stuff"--where "stuff" could mean anything from love to money. What are the usual reasons for waging war, for instance? To get other countries' stuff, of course! See? This theory is utilitarian and universal!

The next time you read news articles about corporate greed, invasions by larger countries of smaller ones to "stabilize" them or even crimes caused by sexual jealousy, just see if you don't think: "S/he wanted to be the Only Kitty". I'll bet you do!
Chat later!

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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