Sunday, 5 July 2015

The Man Who Brought The Cat In From The Cold

In the boss's chair: one of up to
96,000,000 cats in USA
Never let it be meowed that human TV is useless - well, not entirely, anyway. Every now and again among the game shows and the soap operas they have something of real interest to cats, and tonight is one of those occasions. 

Did you know that in the 1940s cats were not as well appreciated as we are today? I know - it's truly shocking, but it's a fact. Back then most people preferred to have a dog as a companion 'cos they could train a dog to go outside to answer calls of nature, while cats... Well, you know as well as I do, we train humans, not the other way around. Those cats who did have staff prepared to work for them found their services came at a price - the cats were generally expected to spend the night outside. Now, granted, lots of cats are fine with that, but not all. Speaking personally, I would truly hate it. 

Those who couldn't bear to leave their cats outside on a cold winter's night would use a pile of ashes, dirt or sand. It worked, but it had a major drawback - the ashes, dirt or sand would cling to the cat's paws and end up being trailed all over the apartment or the house. Staff didn't like it. 

Staff appraisal: feline employer
assesses human servant 
One day a lady in Michigan approached her neighbour, Ed Lowe, a businessman who sold sand, and asked if he had some that she could use in her cat box instead of ashes. He had a large quantity of Fuller's Earth, a kind of clay which is full of highly absorbent minerals, which he was eager to get rid of, so he gave her some of that instead. The clay worked way better than anything she'd used before, which as it can absorb its own weight in water was not surprising. She told her friends, and they came around for Fuller's Earth, too. 

An astute and innovative businessman, Ed Lowe realized he was on a winner and he made a fortune - but here's the spin-off for us cats. Humans began to realize that applying for a job as servant to a cat didn't have to mean constantly cleaning up after us or putting us outside. Once that problem was out of the way, there was no longer any barrier to giving us our rightful place as the boss of choice of millions of humans who need an anipal employer. There are now believed to be 74-96,000,000 cats with staff in the USA alone, with 30-37% of households headed by a cat. 

So, Mr Lowe, on behalf of indoor kitties everywhere, thank you for being exactly what the TV documentary called you - the man who brought the cat in from the cold! 

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