Cats and Their Nine Lives

Photo by Mykl Roventine // Flickr Creative Commons

Say what you will about cats, but they’re awesome. With their quick reflexes, swift agility, graceful poise and keenly honed survival instincts, cats have evolved the tools necessary to co-exist with us in the modern world, one full of dangers both natural and man-made.

While cats have demonstrated time and again their supernatural ability to skillfully avert death at the last minute, I’ve noticed that we humans actually take what cats can do for granted.

For one, if a proverb is anything to go by, cats supposedly have nine lives.

A bit about that image up there. Unless you’re secretly Batman, when we talk about having more than one life we usually use it in the context of gaming. It’s a risk-reward system: to win the game, you have to pass a challenge or two to do that.

Example: in Pac-Man, your goal is to clear the board of all the little dots while evading ghosts at the same time. Should you get caught by a ghost, however, you don’t immediately lose the game. Instead, you’re given a small amount of “lives” that dictate how many times you can be caught before you actually lose and the “GAME OVER” sign flashes on-screen.

My point is this: in Pac-Man you only lose a life if you get caught by a ghost. The penalty is imposed only when you fail the condition of not being caught.

So why don’t we apply the same standard for cats?

When a cat narrowly avoids being squished by a car, or escapes the vengeance of a vicious dog by mere inches, it’s common to hear people say, “Oh, there goes one life” or “That’s one less life for that kitty”, or something to that effect.

Why don’t cats get the same treatment as our games? Do you think they appreciate it when you so callously toss away their lives when they did a darned fine job of escaping death’s clutches for another day? Imagine if they did that to you while you were gaming:

“Minus one life?! But I used my Epic Grapple Multipurpose Robot Kitchen Claw (TM) to swing out of reach of the Giganto-Beast’s Ultra-Mega Hypersonic Stormwave Fireshock Cannons Galore (TM) by mere milimeters!”

Not so fun, isn’t it?

If we really cared about our cats, we’d wait till they ended up under the heavy tires of that eighteen-wheeler, crushed and bleeding to death. Then, once they’ve re-spawned some moments after, we’ll look upon them wistfully and sigh, “Sorry pussy, it was a good try but not good enough. Minus one life.”

So in closing I say to you: equality for our furry feline friends, or minus one life!


About Jared

I am all the awesomesauce you could ever want in a handsome, neat package, and you know it.
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2 Responses to Cats and Their Nine Lives

  1. Brian Woon says:

    When you mentioned cat and their nine lifes, you reminded me of this recently series I tried.
    I tried watching the 1st episode but felt it was boring >o<
    What you said got me thinking, If we had unlimited lifes like in the game world, we would me much more daring and willing to take risk. Would be so cool if I could just save at a save point, try to do something that sounds right in my head until later realizing it was a mistake, load back to my last save point and try a different approach. Haha. I think i'm saying more about save points instead of unlimited lives. =_=""

  2. Jared says:

    Save points are a great idea, but you forget: experience is our greatest teacher simply because its lessons are the most poignant and bitter. They stay with us for a very long time, sometimes to the end of our lives. While the consequences of some of our actions may be tragic, each one shapes into who we are and who we become – and that, I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. 😀

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