Earth Date: Irrelevant
Tweets from a Cat. (The full story thus far)
Scout’s Log: 1.001
Twitter is the one place I’ve found in all of the galaxy where you can write true things that people will fervently believe are false, and false things that people will swear to their last dying breath are true.
But truth spreads, as does make believe. (I so desperately want to say, “the truth is out there” but that’s just way too obvious).
Twitter is a place where leaders of un-civilizations plot their revolutions in public. Kings of industry fly their phallus shaped proxies towards the moon, and then harness the stars for communication. Nobodies become somebodies with a a few pithy words and a few thousand re-tweets.
Love. Hate. Anger. Art. Wisdom. Memes.
Twitter has is all, and as of today (who knows, maybe I’m not the first), it also allows the humans of earth to hear from a cat.
Well, not an actual Felis Catus. (Is that seriously the official scientific name of the species?) However, if you showed an image of me to any human, they’d undoubtedly be certain that they were looking at someone of the feline persuasion. (Purr-suasion? No, too much. Dial it back if you actually want readers)
Spoiler alert: I’m no cat.
My species just happens to look almost exactly like cats, and I confess that we do have some similar behavioral traits, which I will discuss further in a future log. For now, know this:
The universe is infinite, but repeats itself in predictable and sometimes hilarious ways.
Scout’s Log: 1.002
Warning: This might get nerdy.
As part of my job, I’ve watched tons of earth sci-fi, and I’ve actually come to like it.
We don’t call it the “Primary Directive,” or anything like that but the first contact rule, or something like it, is a real thing. At least it is for the most advanced species in the galaxy, who are capable of what the citizens of earth currently are not.
Humans are on the galactic radar because they think about advanced tech and space travel (real, meaningful space travel, not just a quick jaunt around your own planet or a visit to your moon every 50 years or so) constantly. They believe in it, they imagine it, and they are actively working towards it.
As are many other planets and species that you’ve never heard of.
Where was I? Yes, I look like what you’d call a cat, but I am far more intelligent and have specialized skills and powers that humans (and perhaps cats) have only dreamed about.
Alas, cats on Earth don’t seem to have any awareness of outer space or desire to communicate with other species beyond demanding food from humans and telling the dog to fuck off.
And they’ve pretty much mastered that.
The presence, prominence, and symbiotic subjugation of a race that looks nearly identical to my own is one of the reasons that I became so interested in studying earth.
At first, there was some natural anger and horrification at the idea that beings like us, sentient creatures who look just like me, were what the humans call pets.
What does it mean to be a pet cat on Earth?
Scout’s Log: 1.003 — Earth Date: Irrelevant
What does it mean to be a pet cat on Earth?
When we first saw cats, we were of course thrilled to see another species that looked just like us. And then shocked and confused by their role on the planet. Were they servants or slaves? Did we need to intervene to stop injustice?
It turns out that pets, cats in particular, are mostly revered and beloved on Earth.
Still, it seems quite strange to someone like me, as you might imagine.
Humans keep them locked up in their homes and have only rudimentary methods of communication with cats. They rarely seek the cat’s opinion, and yet the cat’s opinion is often not only clearly understood, but catered to in the extreme.
As a rule, cats somehow manage to be both the ruler and the ruled in any given situation.
Let’s say that a human finds it convenient and aesthetically pleasing to provide water to cats in a bowl. This is a perfectly acceptable means of providing this necessary resource. However, if the individual feline (and these are from actual case studies) prefers to:
- Drink from a fountain
- Drink the drip from the kitchen faucet if left ever so slightly on
- Lick the drops of water accumulated on the floor and walls after a shower
- For some incomprehensible reason (and I’ve specifically asked this question to at least 6 cats), only wants to drink water from the plastic lid of a long ago used up container or human hair mousse while on the counter in an upstairs bathroom…
The human will do everything they can to make it happen, and still provide at least two additional water options.
It’s things like this that convinced us that the human and earth cat relationship was much more complicated than we’d first believed.
Scout’s Log: 1.004 — Earth Date: Irrelevant
For the record, nearly every cat we’ve surveyed is satisfied with the arrangement they have with humans, to the extent that they understand it.
Earth cats are highly skilled and intelligent in their own way and offer a fascinating view of what my very distant ancestors may have been like. But let’s face it, they are not great conversationalists. Their dreams and aspirations pretty much top out at the trifecta of: eating processed food from a pouch, sleeping in a sunbeam, and knocking something off of a counter just to prove that they can.
Should cats be liberated from humans?
After much consideration, the general consensus and fear was that before long, we’d be the ones offering multiple dinner options only to be snubbed. Or that, like humans, we’d become mildly obsessed with creating an optimal environment for each individual to urinate and defecate, lest they start peeing on our belongings in protest.
Nope. Cats on earth are doing just fine.
Sure, there’s a spectrum of care and experience across the planet, with many cats living a much more wild or feral existence, but those cats ranked even higher on our satisfaction survey, despite lack of access to medical care, and the need to source their own fresh water and food. It is in this adaptability and determination to survive that I see a glimmer of what my species has achieved.
And yes, there are situations where humans are hateful and violent towards cats, or simply oblivious and neglectful. But we looked into that.
We found groups of humans on every continent who had devoted their lives to protecting and rescuing cats from bad situations, and working to provide them with better lives.
They actively vilify, prosecute, and punish those who harm cats. We spent a lot of time studying what humans call “animal shelters.” We found conditions, treatments, and outcomes to be far better, and more advanced than what we’d planned to provide as an alternative, I’m a bit ashamed to say. These humans work harder to treat this species better than we would have, despite the fact that cats look almost indistinguishable from us.
They even provide better end of life care than we do. Euthanasia, is part of most advanced species in this galaxy and beyond, including my own. But humans, especially these specific humans who rescue and shelter animals, care more, fight harder against the need to end suffering, and feel each loss so much more deeply than my species does.
All in all, cats have it way better with humans in charge than they would with us.
So we leave them be and continue to monitor.
Scout’s Log: 1.005 — Earth Date: Irrelevant
Is it weird to walk around knowing that to humans, I look like cat? Yes.
However, the uncanny similarities in appearance between cats and my species has led to unique opportunities for individuals like me to spend time on earth. We can study humans up close, learn more, and be poised to intervene if they’re about to do something irrevocably stupid. Or to put a more positive spin on it, to welcome them if (I believe when) they finally figure things out and join the modern space community.
Have I had some extraordinarily awkward moments with humans because I am masquerading as a cat? Also yes.
Let’s just start with the big smelly sandbox in the room. Passing as a cat requires some incredible indignities. We adapt and block out the rest.
Humans also become incredibly vulnerable when they believe that they are alone in the presence of feline friends. I did a research study based out of an animal shelter and had the opportunity to work on-on-one with a wide variety of staff and volunteers. As soon as the other humans are gone, and it’s just the kitties, they relax and start talking.
Despite having no reason to believe that cats can understand them, or perhaps exactly because of that, humans open up and share the things they normally hold back even from themselves.
I will never forget Rose, the teenage volunteer who would gently stroke my fur and scratch all of my favorite places while whispering to me with tears silently rolling down her cheeks. She didn’t fit in, her friends were changing, she was changing, she wanted more freedom, she was scared, she wanted to look different, she didn’t want anyone to look at her at all. People said things to her that made her feel terrible and she repeated them to herself as if they were true.
I did what I could for her, which was limited for obvious reasons. But I let her talk and cry while I purred and listened.
Earth studies first began to call to me in my own adolescence.
The rebellious and chaotic nature of earth appealing to my hormonally charged state of mind during that period.
Human sci-fi in books, movies, and television connected to and seemed to understand my emotions better than anyone around me, especially my parents, siblings, or teachers.
During my higher education, what humans might call university or college, I both deepened and broadened my earth studies, along with the other necessary courses to eventually qualify as a feline undercover emissary. My dream from a relatively young age has been to travel to earth, and put my toes in the terra firma, walking amongst humans, disguised perfectly as a cat.
And here I am.
Scout’s Log: 1.006 — Earth Date: Irrelevant
How rude of me.
I’ve just realized that although I’ve told you all sorts of things about my species, the state of animal welfare, and my thoughts about Twitter, I have neglected to introduce myself.
My parents lovingly gave me a name that they felt would honor my ancestors and speak to my potential. I’d love to share it with you, but there’s just no good way to try and express it in written human language. Not in any of them, and especially not in English.
Were we together in person, I could say my name to you out loud, but because of your human ears and frame of reference, my elegant, majestic name would probably sound to you like I am hacking up a hair ball. Sigh.
Never fear though, I happen to have a nickname that is in human English.
It came from one of those Earth SciFi stories that I loved so much as an adolescent. There was a character who I found compelling and authentic, a real man of the galaxy, complex and likable. Some people on the show found him annoying, but still I felt a great affinity with the character.
One night I was watching a few episodes with a group of friends. We’d been having a great time, laughing, enjoying some catnip (more on that later), and watching one of my favorite Earth shows, Star Trek Voyager.
Suddenly, my friend Squid (also a nickname, he’s not actually a squid and doesn’t even look like one) point to the screen, gasped, and collapsed on the ground laughing hysterically.
Everyone looked at the screen, looked at me, did a double take, and then joined Squid in howling with laughter.
There was no denying it. If ever there was a feline that looked like a Talaxian, it was me! The coloring, the markings, the facial features, even the tufts of hair were so similar that I almost couldn’t believe I’d never noticed it before.
From that moment on, almost everyone, even my parents and my grandparents called me Neelix.
That’s why I knew there was something special about the human who called me that, too.
Scout’s Log: 1.007 — Earth Date: Irrelevant
I knew there was something special about the human who called me Neelix, too.
She appeared to me in the gypsum dunes of White Sands, a terrain eerily similar to an entire planet called Kaolin.
She has a glow, an aura. I can’t explain it, but when I saw her, something inside of me…unlocked. I started purring, actually purring, like a cat. Her name is Jane and I knew that from this point forward, that human’s life and mine would be inextricably linked.
Or maybe it was just the drugs talking.
I’ll back up.
I’d been bumming around New Mexico for a while. Although Cape Canaveral and of course, Houston, are the places most commonly associated with the US space program, New Mexico is where all the real action is.
Roswell is pretty infamous on Earth (and beyond) for the alleged 1947 crash of a “flying disk,” supposed recovery of extraterrestrial bodies, and subsequent government cover up. Presently the home of the International UFO Museum & Research Center, the City of Roswell has embraced the connection. You’ll see images of flying saucers and “little green men” everywhere you look and there’s even a UFO Festival in July.
Is there anything to it all? I could tell you, but that’s classified and you don’t have clearance.
I’m so glad that humans have SciFi because without the fiction, they wouldn’t understand the science at all.
Beyond Roswell, there’s also a wealth other connections to space and interstellar communications:
- Ancient artifacts at Chaco Canyon suggest humans were trying to understand the sun, stars, and other planets thousands of years ago.
- The Very Large Array, home to 27 gigantic radio antennas (often featured in movies about contact with space).
- Spaceport America, the would be (and who knows, maybe future) home of space tourism.
- The Trinity Site (along with White Sands Missile Range).
- Los Alamos, which again, I shouldn’t even mention thanks to the Manhattan Project.
- Space Caves, observatories, and so much more.
So you can see, that New Mexico was the perfect place to further my studies of human attempts at space travel and historical accounts of contact with alien species (If only they knew).
Plus, I developed a taste for Hatch chiles.
Where was I?
Oh yes, the drugs. Sigh. This part is a bit embarrassing.
If you like what I’m talking about, please read, clap, follow, share, and visit me on Twitter!