The Call of the Wild isn’t the strongest in Oakland. If you listen hard enough, it sounds like a faint peep.
Even back in the day, Jack London’s dog had to leave town to get a convincing earful. But what can you expect of a big slobbering dog? Housecats are by nature more attuned to the summoning sounds of unleashed freedom. They can hear it in virtually anything, from the door creaking open to the littlest cry of the smallest nuthatch or chickadee.
What is freedom? Oh the college papers I wrote, the class debates I had to try to answer that one, and yet, am I any closer to an answer? Of course not. If I wanted to ask a question that I could actually answer, much less actually experience, I would have asked: What is freedom to a cat?
Freedom to a cat is quite simply whatever lies on the other side of the closed door. Isn’t that simple?
Cats seem to inherently understand that unanswerable ponderings of the nature of freedom isn’t making anyone any more free. They also seem to deeply grok that a closed door is a far better obstruction to said freedom than what most people have to work against. For how can you possibly expect to experience freedom if you hardly define it, whereas all a cat has to do is sneak outside between your legs at the right moment as you are coming or leaving. Really, cats are pretty smart about this whole freedom subject.
Speaking of freedom, there was a time in my life when I did not feel like a feline prison guard. Initially, the house I live in was not referred to as Kitty San Quentin but was called seriously and with no trace of irony “The Cat Palace.” In other words, my cats idea of freedom has seriously impinged on my freedom. But at least I can still open the door myself – take that, my little thumbless inmates.