|Circa 2001: The only photo of me within a mile of a cat.|
My negative feelings toward them wasn't personal. I just don't like cats. They're ungrateful, needy, and snobbish. And I don't want to hear anything about "projection", OK?
In fact, the federal government just backed me up. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study on the rise of Cat Scratch Disease in the U.S. The takeaway:
The predominant clinical feature of CSD is lymphadenopathy proximal to the site of a cat scratch or bite; in many patients, a papule develops at the initial wound site before onset of lymphadenopathy. Some patients with B. henselae infection experience more serious manifestations, such as neuroretinitis, Parinaud oculoglandular syndrome, osteomyelitis, encephalitis, or endocarditis . B. henselae infection can be particularly severe for patients with immunocompromising conditions, such as AIDS, in whom vascular proliferative lesions (bacillary angiomatosis and bacillary peliosis) may develop.
My spellcheck went bananas when I pasted that paragraph. I can't even pronounce half those words. And even if you don't understand it, it just looks frightening. The staff of USA Today thoughtfully provides a handy translation:
Side effects can range from a headache, fever and swollen lymph nodes to rarer incidents where the heart or brain are affected[…] Each year about 12,000 people are diagnosed with cat-scratch disease and 500 require hospitalization, according to the report.
To put this in perspective, an average of only 19 shark attacks happen every year in the U.S. That means you have only a 1 in 3,700,000 chance in becoming selachimorpha prandium (that's "shark lunch" for you non-scientists) in your lifetime.
In comparison, it seems like there's an excellent chance of coming down with some kind of brain disease from the stray kitten you see today. If the odds for getting attacked by a shark were the same, every damn beach would be shut down in perpetuity.
Not that cats are entirely without use. Claire Hobbes of New Zealand kept a cat in her freezer for three months after finding it dead on a road. That in itself might seem strange, until you learn that Ms. Honnes is a taxidermist by trade. When a search for its owner proved fruitless, she went the fashionista route and turned it into a handbag. Or is it a pawbag?
|The only accessory that wants to make you feel guilty.|
Plenty of sensitive people find this thing repellent, even if Ms. Hobbes assures us, "I don't kill animals for my work, it's not as though I go around snuffing out animals thinking this'll make a nice handbag." She might change her mind if she gets enough money for it; the opening bid at the auction site Trade Me is $1400 NZD.
Isn't your little lady worth the investment? Not only is it (for now) a unique item, you'll still be able to enter any "No Pets Allowed" establishment -- the late Mr. Mittens won't pass along any brain disease, or even piss in the corner of the room.
As for the rest of you who shudder at the kitty clutch, remember: if it's good enough for the alligator, it's good enough for the feline. If nothing else, we now have a new slang to replace "the cat's pajamas."