The Call of Cathulu and Meowarlathotep: The Essential Pornography of Being God
Not to be the guy on the internet who can’t stop talking about cats, but I now own two cats… and I’d like to talk about them.
And I will probably also ramble into other probably too-personal subjects as I tend to do.
I brought my little sister (she’s fifteen now) along with me to the animal shelter, even though I had more or less already chosen the cats I wanted on-line. I did this because I love her and like to find reasons to see her now that I’ve moved out and because she likes cats. And also because she wanted to tell me about a girl she heard about on the internet who ate a tampon and killed herself when people found out.
Anytime I go to an animal shelter, I’m always a mix of optimistic and incredibly heart-wrenchingly depressed. An animal shelter isn’t just where stray animals go to look for a home, it’s also where all those people you knew in grade-school who really actually did “love puppies and kittens the best” go when they become adults. Except when you’re an adult and you really actually “love puppies and kitties the best” sometimes you have to kill some because it’s the kindest thing you can do.
I can’t fathom working at an animal shelter.
Imagine if you understood as a basic fact that every day when you got up and went to work that you would eventually have to kill some of the things you loved most in the whole world.
Painter? Burn a painting! Mechanic? Smash a pristine classic car! Writer? Burn a book!
Makes me want to hug everyone.
I could talk about that forever, but let me try to cut to the chase.
I found my first cat (Cathulu) in a cage right by the front door, marked down to $5. She’d been there for five months as she is rather old and not the best looking cat in the world and is very afraid of everything that exists. And, as I am discovering, kind of a mopey asshole. My sister and I tried to say hello to her, and she responded by curling up a ball in the back of her cage and turning her rear to face us.
There were three empty cages next to Cathulu, and I couldn’t help but notice that her cage was next to the door that led to that place you call “the back” in most buildings. Every business has a “the back” as in “let me check the back.” It also occurred to me that “the back” is a very dangerous place for an animal to be near in a shelter. So even though I couldn’t really get anyone to explicitly say “Yes, this is the cat we were going to gas next” it was pretty obvious Catthulu was pretty close to being a goner.
I grabbed a little card on the front of her cage and gave it to my sister, who wanted to know why I wanted a cat based solely on no one else wanting it, and teared up a little bit when I told her. I will explain this later as it was a long rambling conversation where I was making sense of things to myself still.
Next, we went to the regular cat cages, and we were lucky to find Meowarlathotep who had been returned previously for peeing on furniture in retaliation against a stranger cat. As I have no furniture or carpets for her to pee upon, and since she knew Cathulu, I figured we’d make a good match. Also, she was rail thin and somewhat mangy looked not unlike a squirrel and was taking confinement a lot less well than Cathulu as she kept reaching her little paws outside of her cage to hug and lick fingers. If a cat reaches out of a cage and wraps its paws around your giant finger and begs you with quiet eyes to save its ugly revenge urination-loving life, then you save its ugly revenge urination-loving life.
I had to sign some documents that I’m pretty sure have some really sad stories behind them about how I wouldn’t perform medical experiments on these cats and then they were loaded up into cardboard cat carriers and driven to my house. My sister made fun of me for trying to say comforting things until I explained “Imagine if someone put you into a small cage, barely bigger than your body, and they spoke in a language you didn’t speak and you didn’t know when or if you would ever get out. Wouldn’t you want them to at least try and be nice?
She agreed that she would but that they were still just cats.
My response was something to the effect of “Even so.”
In my new house, I have three bedrooms. I occupy one of these bedrooms. The others are empty as I still don’t really have much in the way of furniture. In fact, I don’t even use about half of my house. Although I realize I should probably be doing something noble like taking in a homeless person, instead I decided that each of the other two rooms could be for my cats. Yes, my cats have their own bedrooms. I mean, one day it will “The Art Room where Cathulu’s Lives” and “The Office where Meowarlathotep’s Lives” but for now they are just the bedrooms of cats. Very privileged and selfish of me, I know.
My sister took Meowarlathotep to one room and I took Cathulu to another. We closed the doors and gradually let them explore for about half an hour until they got an idea that “this is my place” and then I set them free to explore the house. Even Cathulu joined this enterprise, despite hating and fearing everything.
Meowarlathotep was overjoyed to see Cathulu and ran up to lick her face. Cathulu was of the opinion that “Oh… it’s you” and did the cat equivalent of shrugging and rolling her eyes. Deciding that she’d seen all of the world that mattered after a few minutes, Cathulu then curled up in a closet to maintain her high body fat and await the heat death of the universe.
Meowarlathotep decided to eat some paper towels and run all over everything (she is also very squirrel like in her movements) and let the whole world know that she is alive and free and not in a cage. And while she occasionally ran up to Cathulu to perform the kind of “look at me! Look at me!” antics you’d expect out of a child, Cathulu responded to this by trying to look even more bored and discouraged with life.
Although my sister agreed the cats were pretty great, she decided she couldn’t really take any pictures with them for make-up reasons so she might as well go home. Because taking pictures with cats is a very important thing to do in today’s age of social media, and besides she’d already told me about the girl who ate a tampon and then killed herself when people found out. And thus she was driven home and I became a man who was all alone with two cats.
Sitting there, by myself.
With no one.
I decided it was time to accelerate things and turned off the heat, so that Cathulu and Meowarlathotep would be forced to seek me out for warmth. Meowarlathotep crawled up on my lap, where as Cathulu seemed wise to what I was trying to accomplish and promptly hid under my chair just close enough to my legs to get some heat, knowing that her contempt for such a ploy would provide her enough extra warmth to make it through the night.
Thus, I slept.
And now it is today and other things have happened, but let’s not get into that as I’m sure I will be annoying with all my cat adventures at other times.
As to why I got pets:
I got pets for lots of reasons.
I wanted something to love.
I know a pet will grow old but it will never mature.
A cat will never go from being a tiny bundle of fat with no knee-caps who wants to be picked up and walked around into a teenager who is almost old enough to drive and knows stories about tampon-eating suicide.
But why did I specifically get ugly pets that no one else wanted?
I think I got pets that no one else wanted because pets are humanity’s way of experiencing The Essential Pornography of Being God.
We are powerful in ways that an animal can never comprehend. When we pick up a tool and use it to accomplish a task, they must consider it no different than if we simply shape-shifted into an entirely different kind of being. We possess an intellect so far out of proportion to their own that we might as well be all-knowing. To the animals we choose to love we are not at all that different from gods.
In an old life, I was a loser fat guy who was unhappy and weird and who fell in love and was thrown away at the end of his usefulness. Living in the real world as I do, I understand it now. Who would want a reclusive morbidly obese virgin who laughs like a little girl and doesn’t have any money? And who would want him after his already miniscule value has been depleted? Took me a while, but I understand it.
In the world of humans, where God is just the universe and no one intercedes, I had to do a lot of painful things to move beyond that part of my life. I had to lose weight. I had to change habits that I felt like were core parts of me until sometimes I’d puke with a sense of self-treachery. Sometimes I’d feel like I was drowning and I’d have to sit down and try to figure out why I should even try to keep breathing through the anxiety attacks. It hurt so bad that I think I died in a very real sense, but I did it.
And at the end of it all, in the world of humans where God is just the universe, I emerged better than I had been before. Not just better as in better-looking, but wiser, less afraid of everything and more courageous in the face of my remaining fears. I pushed my mind. Learned new things. But I’m still just a a man.
In the world of humans, I will always be just a man. I can bend the universe, I can twist the universe, but I cannot make the universe otherwise. I cannot make a wrong thing a right thing, nor a lie a truth, nor an indifference a love. And there is much beauty and truth in that and I would not make the world of humans otherwise. Not for anything. I have made myself believe that the universe is the best God any of us could have ever hoped for.
Sometimes, however, the night is long, and those hard truths are a little bit too firm and those bone-deep lessons cut too closely to the marrow and that earned beauty still has a bit of debt to be paid on it. And even though you can’t make the universe otherwise for people doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make it otherwise for something.
In the World of a Cat, I am a god, and I can experience the Essential Pornography of Being God. The Essential Pornography of Being God is that when you Want a thing you also get to Need it, and Deserve it, and it also gets to be the Right thing. If you’re God you never have to face the universe being otherwise because you get to choose the universe.
So, here is what I wanted to choose for my ugly unwanted pets that only cost $10 collectively. In the world of a $5 cat, where I am God, a sad ugly animal that doesn’t know how to be cute and amusing to be loved and find a home will never ever have to worry that it’s going to be thrown away. It will never have to worry that someone is going to say “I love you” and then walk away when it becomes inconvenient just because it’s fat and doesn’t know how to behave around people.
It will be taken somewhere warm and safe, and it will be cared for even if it is sort of an asshole and there isn’t really much reason that anyone should love it. Even if it does not deserve love, it will be loved anyway. No ugly forsaken cat will ever have to sit in a cage for five months waiting for death, as other prettier cats are chosen and taken away just because it isn’t all one color and it flinches when you try to pet it instead of purring. That cat will never live in a world where it is treated as if it has no value just because it wasn’t perfectly exactly what someone wanted. Whatever that weird insane cat is, in my world, that is perfect.
And that is why I wanted to choose ugly pets that no one else wanted.
Here are two pictures of my cats, as I understand that is traditional.