[extropy-chat] Cats

Keith Henson hkhenson at rogers.com
Wed Jun 7 16:08:08 UTC 2006

Keith wrote:

 > Though it does have the flavor of what we do with cats . . . .

Some time ago I spent a few weeks with an old lady who has cats.  (She 
wasn't much older than me, but I will be 64 this year.)

She had 10 or maybe it was 11 cats--you never saw them all at once.  They 
were all indoor cats.  About half of them were feral cats.  They had been 
trapped, neutered or spayed many years ago.  They approached to beg tasty 
food but ran if anyone tried to pet them.  The cats were getting old, two 
of them were over 20.

She loves her cats and dotes on them.  When I was there they were taken 
care of about as well as we would take care of aging humans.  One of them 
had had his colon removed and while he could use a litter box he did 
not.  That one looked particularly awful but seemed reasonably active for 
an old cat and not in pain.  Some of them had to be chased down and caught 
every day because they were getting daily injections and one of them was 
getting fluid under the skin.  Her vet bill runs to $15k a year; a cancer 
operation on one of them cost several thousand dollars (the effort did not 
extend the cat's life).

One of the best sets of books on space colonies is _The Revolution From 
Rosinante_ trilogy by Alexis A. Gilliland.  The trilogy is also perhaps the 
first to use the concept of incorporation to give an AI legal rights.  Two 
of the AIs (one was trained up by a religious nut) used his/her deep 
knowledge of human psychology to create a new religion that was both 
consistent with known science and deeply appealed to the "reptile brain" in us.

Near the end of the last book, one of the AI is talking about the symbiotic 
relation that was developing between AIs and humans.  I don't have a copy 
out right now, but from memory the AI characterized it as "Like cats.  You 
live in *their* house and take care of them."

I am not going to try to draw morals from this set of data (some of it from 
a fictional source) but I know I would not like to be one of her cats.

Keith Henson

PS  I suspect my libertarian leanings extend even to pets.  If an animal 
wants to be a pet, that's fine, but I am not inclined to keep one locked up.

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list