Have you ever wondered what your cat’s moral code is? I’ve been thinking of that, lately. As a writer of science fiction and the creator of the Feline Freedom League, posted here on my blog, I’ve had to create worlds for aliens to inhabit and humans to visit. One of the ways that you develop believable aliens is to give them a set of guidelines to guide their behavior. With the Feline Freedom League, I have anthropomorphized cats. I’m not the first writer to do that, and I doubt that I will be the last, but the exercise has left me wondering. Why do cats behave as they do, assuming they are as intelligent as a human is. This is a form of the ‘what if’ game that writers often use. So I used the Ten Commandments as a guideline and came up with seven Rules of Cat Morality.
- I am Bastet, your goddess. You shall hold no others.
- You shall worship none but me.
- You shall set aside time each day as holy.
- You shall worship me during your holy times.
- Honor your Elders.
- You shall not murder your fellow felines.
- You shall not steal another feline’s possessions
I used the ancient Egyptian goddess of Bastet in place of the Christian Judea God or Islam’s Allah because cats were her sacred animal and it seemed appropriate. That’s the basis of the first two Rules. Some would argue that there are only six Rules; I was shooting for ten, but could only come up with seven. Now, before anyone gets on my case about the missing Commandments, I would like to point out that a cat would not distinguish between stealing and coveting, so I eliminated the ambiguous coveting. I also left off the one about adultery, as a cat has no concept of adultery. They do not mate for life and they would have no problem with sharing partners. This is the basis of the phrase, the morals of an alley cat, meaning that someone is promiscuous.
A cat is a predator, which means that their view of killing is different from a human’s view. They would see nothing wrong with killing mice or anything that isn’t a cat. That is why I worded Rule 6 as I did. Rule 7 is worded as simply as possible. Now I have to define what a cat would consider as a possession. I suppose territory would be a possession to a cat, so one should not take another’s territory, but of course, there are exceptions to every Rule.
My little exercise in cat rules of morality will probably form the basis of the cat society I have created in the Feline Freedom League and the story I am planning to write about Feline Criminal Investigative Service. The planning for that story is very preliminary, but it will likely be a NaNoWriMo story, if not this year, than perhaps next year.