But what’s it good for?

A recent article in the New York Times briefly discusses the utility of cats, and asserts that their lack of usefulness is attributed to the theory that in contrast to other domesticated animals, the cats have domesticated humans, and generally do not let the humans determine their breeding.

Compared to sheepdogs, cats are generally less useful.  But most people don’t acquire cats for their utility.  We acquire them for their independent nature, for their companionship, for their snuggliness (even for their ease of litter-training).

Of course, there are some cats that are more useful than others — Thunder is my “Alarm-Cat”, an almost-service animal who will diligently nose-bump me as many times as is necessary to get me up on time for work.  She’ll even give me a wake-up call when I take a nap.  The hard part of course, is convincing her about Daylight Savings Time.

Aside from that, Thunder’s “utility” is limited to lap-warming.  Like our other cats, she sheds, sometimes shreds, complains about household arrangements, and consumes kibble.

I own an alarm clock.  It’s great for telling time.  But I prefer my alarm-cat, whose persistence is much more pleasurable that a mechanical blaaaat.

Do you have a cat for a service animal?


  1. Ettina said,

    10 August 2009 at 4:01

    My cats aren’t technically service animals, but as an autistic person with PTSD, they are pretty much the only ones I don’t have trouble accepting affection from when I’m having a meltdown. And they very often come and try to comfort me at those times. Imagine honestly believing that no one in the world cares about you except for the people who want you to be miserable, and then a concerned cat comes up and bumps her head against you. That’s what my cats do for me.

  2. Amanda said,

    10 July 2009 at 18:37

    Yes, my cat is technically a service animal. She and I have a very deep and intense relationship and are aware of things about each other that very few other people are. Because of this, she is able to sense when I have difficulty moving, and exactly what spots to touch me, and in what ways to touch me, to get me moving again. When I had more seizures than I do now, she could also detect and alert me to those. But the reason she lives with me is because we both picked each other out and we love and trust each other, more than any other reason.

  3. kathleen said,

    8 July 2009 at 23:49

    My cat seems to have come with my house..I believe that he is the rightful owner. He is a lovely tabby, and a wonderful mouser. I just don’t understand why he feels I need to escort him to his food bowl AND stand there while he eats…I think that he just likes my company.

  4. fridawrites said,

    8 July 2009 at 16:24

    My dog’s like that, uphill. Ever seen the cat yodeling videos on youtube?

    • andrea said,

      9 July 2009 at 12:24

      The videos are great! I’ve even mentioned them here…

      “An Engineer’s Guide to Cats” in my post, “Cats Are Nice” (includes vid of Data with his cat, Spot)

      “Advanced Cat Yodeling” in my post, “Hotbed of Apathy”

  5. 8 July 2009 at 6:42

    You’ll appreciate this I think

  6. wheelchairdancer said,

    8 July 2009 at 5:01

    As far as the vomiting yet constantly starving furry bags of feline poop who inhabit my house are concerned, I am the service animal.


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