Why is it that the first we hear of the cat is when it appears in Egypt around 2,000 B.C. as the living embodiment of the goddess Bast? The dog was domesticated... comfortably ensconced as man's adoring servant, catching frisbees and letting his tongue loll unattractively out of his mouth, long before the cat arrived on the scene. Why? Where was the cat? Why are there no images of cats in cave paintings? Why is the Bible silent on the subject?
It's quite simple, really. Cats are not from around here. We know now that our planet was visited long ago by astronauts from a planet more intellectually advanced than ours. There is strong evidence to suggest that the planet what the Planet Hsif, and that cats were those ancient astronauts.
Say these cats arrive in pyramid-shaped space shuttles, they land, they reconnoiter, and someone's beeper goes off...
there is an emergency at home on the Planet Hsif. Everyone drops what they are doing, the bulk of the team is hurriedly picked up by the mother ship, leaving a token force behind to gather artifacts and guard the pyramid shuttles. The main team plans to return to earth to complete their mission at the first opportunity. But their return is stymied... first by a civil war, later by budget cuts.
Those astronauts left behind await the return of their team with great patience... perhaps they stare at a spot for a year or so and then their situation hits them. They have been abandoned. They growl, they weep, they nap, and then with the pragmatism that characterizes their people, they proceed to damage control. Determined to blend in, in spite of their unusual features (they know they are fabulous looking and this will cause jealousy), the astronauts assess the needs of the Egyptian culture and develop a coping strategy.
They will become goddesses, rat killers, and charming domestic companions all at the same time. Indispensable to Egyptian society, they are indulged and pampered, their lives protected by law. In Egypt the punishment for killing a cat, even accidentally, was death. Families who lost their cats displayed their grief by ripping their clothes and shaving off their eyebrows. It's all been downhill since then... no wonder cats sometimes have that whiny sound in their voices.
This scenario seems to me easier to swallow than the one history gives us: that the pyramids were built by laborers with only primitive technology and without cranes or fork lifts.
You doubt it? All cats evidence a vestigial memory of their origin. Try this experiment: bring three cats together in a room, and you will find that no matter where they are set down, they will gravitate toward each other and automatically arrange themselves into the shape of a pyramid.
There is evidence to suggest that hairballs are actually a very sophisticated means of communication and that their variety, time of day and frequency of appearance are significant. Cats emit hairballs to signal to their people in much the same way that shipwrecked travelers build huge bonfires on the beach in hope of attracting the attention of rescue planes.
How frustrating it must be when we rush to blot out all signs of these communiques. Perhaps cats feel like prisoners who mark the days of
captivity on the walls of their cells, only to have their sadistic jailers rub out the signs of their efforts as soon as they appear. I hope not. I hope they understand that we mean them no harm, that in this as in many other things, we just don't have a clue.
Some cats have made it back to Hsif. In 1988 one of our major tabloids headlined the news that hundreds of cats were disappearing, kidnapped by aliens. Au contraire, I don't think so. They haven't been kidnapped; they've been repatriated. We miss you guys, but we know that you're truely happy at last.
From the book: Everything Here Is Mine, by Nicole Hollander. (Avon Books, Copyright (c) 1992 by Nicole Hollander.) Used without permission.