Gerry Maguire Thompson
Gerry is author of Cats are from Venus, Dogs are from Mars, a parody of intimate human relationship (Godsfield Press)
1) Highly effective cats don’t need to be doing stuff all the time
It’s not that effective cats get a lot done without being overly busy – they’re just not interested in getting things done. They do as little as possible, and what they do best is nothing at all; they’re better at creatively doing nothing than just about anyone else in the universe.
Highly effective cats understand the importance of delegation. This is because cats don’t need to be motivated – only humans and dogs need motivation. So cats let other people do everything – apart from killing something small and furry, once in a while. And even then they don’t eat it.
2) Highly effective cats know the importance of getting plenty of sleep
Successful cats use sleep to solve a wider range of problems than any other organism you care to name. They deal with boredom by falling asleep. They deal with stress by falling asleep. Likewise they cope with rejection, excitement, anger, sadness, decision-making, unhappy memories, indigestion, plotting revenge – anything that you and I would deal with by taking action – by falling asleep.
Highly effective cats put the world to rights by falling asleep. They must have really good dreams.
3) Highly effective cats know that there is no-one else in the universe more important than themselves
Effective cats are The Boss; they’re the boss over dogs, over other cats, and especially over people. Cats do not suffer from low self-esteem. They don’t suffer from high self-esteem either – they’ve got it, but they don’t suffer from it.
Effective cats love themselves one hundred per cent. They know how important their own comfort is. No room can be too hot for them, no bed too soft and no armchair too cosy. And their favourite armchair will always be the one that’s just been vacated by someone who got up to make a cup of tea and is intending to return immediately, but of course will not be able to. They’re not important enough.
Effective cats know the importance of shameless self-pampering. Cleanliness may be next to godliness, but godliness lags well behind. And they know that ‘you are what you eat’. So if you eat cheap food, what would that make you? Cheap, of course. Totally unacceptable.
4) Highly effective cats are inexplicable and enigmatic, unpredictable and contrary.
As soon as you think you’ve worked out how your highly effective cat functions, they’ll do something to turn things upside down. They’ll sleep for six hours, then wake up and race up the curtains and down the lamp in a fit of mad scattiness, then fall asleep again. They do this deliberately – it’s something they cultivate, just to keep you on your toes. It helps them with their other goals in life, too – like taking over the best furniture, getting ever more expensive cat food, being the boss and sleeping whenever they want. It gives the impression of being more emotionally complex than they really are.
So they change their minds all the time – that is, when they’re awake and when they’re bothering to use their minds, which isn’t actually a great deal of the time. So they’ll always be keeping up their sleeve the slight possibility that after ten years of your providing them with comfort, affection and ever more expensive cat food, they might just take it into their heads to disappear and never be seen again. It’s nothing personal. But if they do, you’ll be left thinking it was all your fault. How do they do that?
5) Highly effective cats are totally in control
Effective cats can get you to do exactly what they want, without ever parading just how much in control they really are. It’s subtle. They know how to get people to love them to an extraordinary degree using some kind of sustained hypnosis that we’ll never understand, and then they twist you round their little claw. Total manipulation – without ever looking like a control freak. Soft power, or what? It’s incredible.
To add further power, they lack morals and are extremely good at deviousness and lying. “No, of course I haven’t been fed, I swear. You must have forgotten to feed me, even though you’re sure you did… (delivered with masterful endearingness…) would I lie to you? ”. They can tell which of your guests don’t like cats and will make a bee-line for those ones, knowing the victim will have to feign affection. Any rapid-onset allergic reaction to cat fur is a bonus.
6) Highly effective cats are mistresses of love without attachment
Cats fool us with this one, too. They’re not frightened of intimacy, and they know that both partners must play their role in any intimate relationship. Your role is being totally and unconditionally committed to them, and theirs is to do whatever they like. whenever they like, with whomever they like. This goes very well with habit #4, and the slight but ever-present possibility of a permanent disappearing act.
They also know very well about our ludicrous anthropomorphic habit of attributing favourable human attributes to them. So they let us keep our illusion that they’re lovingly devoted to us. It’s not so bad, really – most of us will never notice the difference.
7) Highly effective cats understand the pointlessness of existence.
Cats are completely at ease with this concept. Why would there need to be a point in existence? What would be the point? Having a point would be pointless. Apart from providing opportunities to sleep, of course.
And by the way – all cats are Highly Effective Cats.