There are a lot of cat-hating men in the world it seemss:
Just what the world needs - another Tiddles
Sunday February 17, 2002
Why clone a cat? Why clone a stupid cat? Why not just get another one? Or stuff the first one full of woodchip and old nylons, or bits of other cat, and drag it behind you with its silly feet nailed to a little wooden trolley, preferably one with broken wheels that let out mournful little squeaks every so often, just to make the whole experience more gothically depressing and drive you ever closer to the high balcony and the open window?
The most worrying thing about last week's news that a cat has been cloned by an American company seemed, at first, to be the name. You can see the cynical thinking behind calling it Genetic Savings & Clone, with its matey punning and sepia-cardiganned Jimmy Stewart feel, but, still, you just know that the man behind it, 81-year-old John Sperling, will be an evil wheelchaired genius possessed of some bizarre bodily accessory, like a gloved nose, and backed by a blond whey-eyed henchman who spends his time making scientists' deaths look like needlessly complex accidents - being hit on the head by a gargoyle while swimming off Land's End and the like - and will be played in the film by Charles Dance or Christopher Walken, depending on budget.
But more worrying was the triumphalist feel of the announcement, as if we, any of us, at all, in any way actually wanted cloned cats. Dolly the sheep was exciting. The first cloned human will be exciting, especially if it's Charlotte Rampling. And think of all the exciting animals in the world it would be fun to clone, even if only to save them from extinction - wolves, dugongs, narwhals, that brilliant little puppy thing with the huge teeth and tiny blue wings who sidles up and makes snuffling noises whenever you drink absinthe. But cats? Cloned cats? How can you tell?
Not quite sure why I hate them so much. I thought it was simply that they were unremittingly cold and snotty to me, but then I realised they were also like that, all the time, to their owners. They don't recognise their owners. They don't love their owners. They take food off their owners, and sneer at them, and spray their curtains with pee, and at night they lie on the faces of babies and steal their breath until the babies die (I think someone said), and I'm sure if I added that they also gathered round laughing with their smirking cat-faces and bloodstained paws to plot 11 September, the FBI would soon be on the case.
But it's not just the cats, it's the people who love the cats, the people giving squillions to Mr Glove-nose to clone their stinky-bottomed furballs.
People who love cats don't love people. A cat is what you have instead of friends, or fun, or an affair; a cat is what a certain type of single gal - yet not, importantly, Bridget Jones, for she was too smart and shambolic, too alive, to have a cat - uses as an emotional mirror when she comes home from her venal marketing job: and for some reason it seems to help to whisper 'Didn't spin so well today, Mimsy Frostovich', or wonder openly why she doesn't yet have a boyfriend, to a small, black, arrogant, retreating arse.
Get rid of the cats, girls! We'll never love you because of them! Get a dog!