Cats: 6 Degrees of Separation

Cats: 6 Degrees of Separation is a bit of crude cat-centric philosophy….but I believe there is some value in writing about it, particularly in these difficult times of world dysfunctionality.

As I said in an earlier post, I believe everything that we do is connected. If all of us are connected then our cats are connected because what our cats do depends to a large extent on what we do. The Internet age, and particularly the growth in social media sites, has made the 6 degrees of separation theory even more meaningful and understandable.

The 6 degrees theory says is that all of us, on the planet, are connected by a maximum of 6 intermediary people. This is a serious theory that appears to be true.

This post uses the principle upon which the 6 degrees is based: we are all connected and quite closely.

Individual Connections

With internet social media, the theory of 6 degrees of separation results in a much more direct connection between what we do and all cats. Here is a possible 6 degrees of separation chart concerning cats and PoC. It is only an example….

Cats 6 degrees of separation

Cats 6 degrees of separation

What I am saying here is that when Ruth, for example, writes an article and creates a poster, it is spread out to social media websites. It gets passed around the internet and the poster ends up being seen by, hopefully, one person who acts upon it.

That person may be once removed from PoC or ten persons removed or more. I am using the general principle that our actions are connected to unknown individuals. Ruth’s posters are a good example but there are many other contributors to PoC whose work, I hope, will have changed someone’s behavior somewhere in relation to their cat.

Also, PoC is just an example. There are many other websites that support cat welfare. There is also a general connection – all cats are part of a whole….

General Connection

Cats: 6 degrees of separation

Along similar lines, I believe that the actions of anyone, anywhere affects all cats in general anywhere and/or individual cats as well.

My theory is partly based on the idea that all of us have a duty to try and improve the world. The end objective is greater contentment for the whole. This applies to all living creatures who have emotions and feelings. As humans manage the planet it is in the collective hands of people to create greater contentment amongst all living creatures who have emotions.

Selecting cats; if “contentment” were measurable, you could measure the sum total of contentment of all the world’s cats. We can’t measure it, but it must exist.

If I make my cat, Charlie, happier, today, that increases the sum total of contentment in the world of cats by a very, very small amount as Charlie is one cat amongst an estimated 500 million in the world. However, I have made a contribution to improving the sum total of cat contentment for that moment.

This brings me to a Gandhi saying, the exact words, of which, I have forgotten. The gist of it is this: it is worthwhile doing a very, very small thing for the good because if everyone follows that idea the world would be improved substantially. I realize that it won’t happen because the world pulls in different directions all the time, tearing itself apart, but we have to be guided by  principles that lead to greater contentment for all.

If a person does something that has no impact on a cat then nothing changes. As change for the better is required in the cat world, doing nothing to improve it is a negative. That is, doing nothing has a negative impact, in the future, on world cat contentment. So even when there is no direct impact from our actions it does have negative connotations on cat contentment.


We are all connected. On an idealistic level, we have a duty to improve the whole and are able to achieve this by improving the bit that we can.

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Cats: 6 Degrees of Separation — 8 Comments

  1. Well said, Michael. There is a quote by Mother Theresa (I think it’s hers) posted on the wall at the nursing home where I work: “In this world we cannot do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Paraphrasing, so I hope that it is correct.

    My article on declawing posted on PoC is all over the Internet now, or it seems that way. I’ve even seen people I don’t know reference it or include links to it in their comments on anti-declawing Facebook pages. I think my article about the Cat Network in West Allis might have helped Merlin get adopted. You commented below that article that you would have loved to adopt him if you were closer. The Cat Network had put a link to my article about them on their own web site. Could your comment that you wanted him have motivated someone here in the States to find him desirable? I think so.

    I posted my song about the Peshtigo Fire on a social networking site, one I used before I realized everyone I know is on Facebook anyway. The song is about Joseph Lacrosse who saved a baby from the fire by jumping into a shallow well with her and then caring for her for three days until she could be reunited with her family. I got the story from a great grandson of that baby. One day a woman contacted me via Facebook telling me she found my song when she searched for Joseph Lacrosse and wondered if I had any more info on him. She is one of his descendants. I had no more info than she did really. All I knew went into the song. But she was thrilled to find the song and know that at least someone out there remembered her relative’s heroic deed. My post was the only place she found him mentioned anywhere online.

    So the Internet can be a wasteland of cute cat pictures at best, pornography and hate speech at worst, but it can be more. It can help people and animals.

    • Well said too Ruth. As you say, the internet can be a wasteland of literally billions of pages of what I call “pap” but it can also really do something good. I believe that Google and Facebook and the big sites should try and help us dissect the good and useful from the waste. Google is meant to do this in a search but it is still all there and Facebook make no effort at all. I suppose “usefulness” is a personal thing. One of the big obstacles on the internet is finding things that are meaningful and useful.

    • Ruth. That’s an amazing story about the fire and the man Joseph’s descendant contacting you. That really is a perfect example of connections that are far from random yet unexpected.

      • My father in law invited me to share my music writing project with his “Heart of the Valley Senior Service Club” which serves Wisconsin’s Fox Valley area. He said the old timers there would have ideas for me, and that’s where I met the man who told me Joseph’s story.

        I am slowly working on a history book featuring songs about people or events that are largely forgotten, but should be remembered. Everyday people who became heroes, whether history remembered their efforts or not, became the focus of my work when I realized what a horrible thing it is that residents of Wisconsin Dells (Kilbourn) remember Belle Boyd, a Confederate spy who happens to be buried there, but have completely forgotten Thomas Allen, an escaped slave and Civil War hero who truly was a part of that community until his death in 1874. Tom probably dragged the ancestors of some current Dell’s residents off a battle field years ago, but today they don’t know who he is. So I wrote a song about him.

        I wish some of his descendants would contact me. They are out there. He had four children. H.H. Bennett took a picture of all the kids standing in front of the Kilbourn school. You can spot Tom’s kids because they are the only ones who aren’t white. Tom’s tombstone is the biggest of all the Civil War vets buried up there. But in the end racism prevailed, because history remembers a flamboyant white woman who fought to keep the slaves in their chains but has forgotten a black man who risked his life to see those chains broken forever.

        My songs about Herman the Police Dog and Simon Able SeaCat are part of that same project and are on PoC somewhere.

  2. Live the change you want. I think that’s the only way things can get better. A lot of people think there’s no point and that’s the problem. The lack of hope. It’s hard when everything around you is so anti sustainability. It’s hard to feel powerless against the horrible stuff we are being fed. I stopped watching television entirely after I left England in the late 90s. With adverts it’s impossible not to have a polluted subconscious and a general feeling of despair. Put me in front a TV and I have plenty of rude things to say about whats being spoon fed in to my consciousness. Things like the Telly Tubbies are a form of spiritual rape in my opinion. They have televisions in them. Kids who have grown up looking at things like that must feel lost.

    By living the change we want – or by making an effort to be how you want the world to be then I think you can inspire others to do the same. If you consider the 6 degrees of separation this becomes very apt and powerful.

  3. How very interesting and this reminds me of when I first made contact with Annie Bruce author of ‘Good Cats Wear Black’ and long time anti declaw advocate.
    I couldn’t find an emnail address for her and wrote snail mail to tell her about our UK and Australian troops I’d gathered to help educate about declawing and work towards a worldwide ban.
    I was amazed to have a lovely snail mail reply and what she said has stuck in my mind for 5 years now.
    I’d written that I didn’t know how much help it would be to their fight because people in England and Australia couldn’t do a great lot to educate in the USA.
    She wrote ‘Ruth, if you only educate ONE person in the USA and that person never declaws a cat again, you’ve saved ONE cat, but the chances are that person will tell not ONE but TEN people and then if they tell ten more people and they do the same, that’s many more cats saved and those people tell other people, it will go on endlessly and eventually thousands of people will be educated and passing it on and thousands of cats claws will be saved’
    So in a way it’s like your 6 degrees of seperation spreading the word.
    ‘Lots of small steps lead to a giant leap’
    Sadly Annie became ill from exhaustion with the anti declaw battle and had to step back a bit but we are still in touch and she, like us, longs for the day it is stopped completely.
    Michael, your PoC has spread the word far more than we could have ever done without you.

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