A Catless House is a Soulless House. Why?

The title of this post is a well known phrase. Sir Patrick Moore said it, as have many people before him including Jean Cocteau, who said it in a different way. Ruth, regular contributor, quoted another version: “A house is not a home without a cat”. The question I ask myself is, what exactly is going on? What does this phrase really mean?

Firstly, a good half of the population of the USA would not agree with it because they don’t keep a cat companion. Or perhaps some do agree but are unable to keep a cat.

Secondly, what about the dog? Is there a similar phrase for the dog companion? Or is he and other animals excluded?

I don’t know of any work on this phrase but even if there was some out there on the internet I would rather try and figure it out on my own and put my own spin on it. Of course, I welcome the comments and ideas of visitors.

A house is not a home without a cat
The Lord Of The House
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

My Personal Theory

The word “soul” is usually used in relation to people and animals, but normally people. For me, it means the spirit of the person, which is the core of the person’s being and which lives on after death.

In relation to a house it probably refers to the spirit in the house. In this context I think “spirit” means that the house has a sense of life, joy, completeness and balance. I think the “balance” or wholeness of a house is important.

The domestic cat is a wonderful representative of nature. She is a top predator and supremely agile. A cat adds a dimension to the feeling within a house, without which the house is missing something. But what is it missing?

My personal view is that our cat companion connects us with nature and in doing so makes us whole. Due to our so called intelligence we have a tendency to distance ourselves almost casually and inadvertently from nature. Yet nature is our mother and father. We are part of it. If we distance ourselves from it we are orphans, lost, chasing something that we don’t understand. The blame for this is probably technology.

The male of the human species runs the world and he likes to create new technology, which leads us away from nature, the natural organic world.

A cat companion reminds us that we are part of nature, that we are a species of animal and that we can and should live in harmony with other animals.

The cat brings the spirit of the animal world into our homes, keeps us connected with our roots, which if we go back far enough is nature.

Now, that is my theory and it might be a very personal one. I don’t know if it is mumbo jumbo or not. I feel it is correct. We should trust our feelings.

If I am correct, it doesn’t really matter if a person lives with a cat or a dog; there is the same benefit. Although the cat will ground a person better because a dog will treat a person as a master, which is unhealthy, I think. People need to be a little bit more humble. Cats help us be humble. Dogs might assist in our gradual distancing from nature.

If you are religious and believe in a God, I think it is fair to say that humankind is becoming more secular, which I think it a symptom of our gradual distancing from nature.

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16 thoughts on “A Catless House is a Soulless House. Why?”

  1. I think if anything is to be called god, its the mechanics/way/message of nature. I also agree with Ruth that people are missing something huge is always in a city. I, however, think the city is also a force of nature, and perhaps nature at its worst, or infact nature untamed. So when I say a person needs to get out of the city, its not in order to experience nature, but moreover to experience a part of nature that works, that is more sustainable and that we must learn from if we are to survive. I think if there is anything that is far from nature or perhaps if it were possible for something to not be nature or somehow artificial – it has to be culture. Culture is the thing that tries so hard to control nature as if it is itself not nature. But it is and so culture is often unsuccessful in its mathematical aims. I am not a person who goes to Florence and is wow’d by all the old buildings and culture. I see suffering and pain and rich people making many poor people build their follies and ideas into some kind of physicla reality. But I am no normal that way. Most people are totally wow’d by cathedrals and big old buildings and they dont think about what they actually mean. There is no balance in culture in terms of natural sustainability. How can you have a huge cathedral and next to it a bunch of people living with almost nothing over their heads. This is not balance. This is a clear sign that already things were completely bonkers with us humans. Clearly the fact that so many people still go and look at this stuff and seem to like it so much means that we have a really long way to go in terms of how we think and how we understand our own true nature – which is not separate and purely cultural but is infact something which needs wilderness to find balance to the concrete jungle.

    Until we grow up and finally have sustainable taste in aesthetics and earthly living, we will have cats to help show us the way – and in that sense they really are the soul that is missing from us and the places we live. That’s why expressions like this exist in the first place. People also like actual fires in a fireplace. Thats another little piece of the ancient world inside our homes. A cat sleepingin front of the fire, well, you can’t get much better than that now can you πŸ™‚

    • Good to read your comment. Glad we agree. By the way I have taken on board what you say about getting an Asian writer for the site. I’ll try and get one although it will be difficult I sense.

  2. Without cats around, a house feels lacking and I think it is because they make us feel spiritual, a sort of connection to the long ago world and Nature.
    People who don’t like cats are really missing out on the love and tranquility they bring to make a house a home.
    Hairless cat is so right! No matter how many cats we have, the loss of one leaves a huge gap. My heart is full of sadness for the beautiful cats we’ve lost over the years and I never forget that their lives are very short in comparison to ours and I treasure every moment I can spend with the two cats we have now.

  3. Hi Michael,

    Beautiful interpretation. I like that.

    They really do bring the house to life; they give it a spirit.

    We are removed from nature due to technology and cats provide a much needed connection.

    Ruth is right, when a cat is out of the house for a while, the house feels empty and dead. If a household has multiple cats and just one dies, you can really feel it even though there are several left.

    Cats appreciate everything in the house right down to the last detail. Children do this too, but not quite to the extent.

    It’s like the house is them while they are there.

    It’s like an artificial nature setting for them, so they bring it to life. Every inch of the house is sacred to them and you can really feel it.

    This post reminds me of the cats I’ve lost over the years and it makes me sad. When ever I lose a cat, I lose a piece of me for good. It’s very hard for me to bear and I’ll never get over it.

    =^-^= Hairless Cat Girl =^-^=

  4. If Monty is outside and I run in to get something, I don’t like how the house feels without him inside of it. Sure, I worry and try to get back out to him quickly, but it’s not just that. Twice in his life Monty has had to stay at the vet for a little while when he wasn’t feeling well. Of course I was concerned about him, but the worst was the house without him here. Sometimes you know something is real only when you experience it’s absence. Monty is the soul of this house, because it feels empty and dead without him in it. He’s only been here three years but in that time he has completely transformed our lives. He’s made this Monty’s house, as if all that came before was just preparation for his arrival. I’m sure Monty sees it that way and why not? Back in 1925 when this house was built it was to make a home for a small black cat who wouldn’t even be born until 2009. Humans would say that’s silly, but since I believe God had a plan for Monty and I, it may not be that far fetched. When my sister told me she thought there were kittens under our porch I had an immediate feeling that something was wrong– that a cat who should be in here was out there. Yes, I certainly was sad for the kittens because every cat deserves a home. But it was more than that. I was thinking of a specific cat. I even thought, “He belongs in here.” I knew somehow about Monty before I ever laid eyes on him. I was troubled that he was out there long before I ever knew he would live in here. His presence here was meant to be, it was fated to happen, and I sensed that. Or God whispered it in my ear in anticipation of what was to come.

  5. I used to go round and round with a very dear pastor friend as to whether humans need experiences in nature to fully be in touch with their Creator. He always said no, they don’t. All we really need is the Word and that is all sufficient. Any thought that you need nature seemed pagan to him. And he did say, rightly, that if we look only to nature we might well conclude that there is a god, but he hates us. Nature is red in tooth and claw, that cannot be denied. But I wasn’t saying, “Stop going to church and worship outside.”

    However, I think being in touch with nature is an important dimension of our existence and without it we are living an incomplete existence– a life that is less rich. We’re missing out on blessings that come from being in touch with nature. My friend was born and raised in a city. He probably never got out into the woods– certainly not in his adult life. He was a scholar, not an outdoorsman. Sad that for most adult men, they only get out into nature to shoot something. At least he wasn’t doing that! But he missed out on an important part of life. There is a quietness, a peace and tranquility to be found in nature. It can be a place to reflect and think.

    I do think having a cat gets me in touch with nature. For Monty and I it is in a very direct way because he likes to get outside every day and I go out with him. There are trees, grass, weeds– a certain naturalness to our back yard because I like to leave it that way. It’s not the same as hiking to the top of the east bluff at Devil’s Lake, but not every experience with nature has to be big and breathtaking. (My knees couldn’t handle doing that all the time anyway.)

    • I love your comments. I believe that we are nearer God when we are enjoying nature. Even if we don’t believe in a God we might believe in a superior intelligence that created the universe and the universe is nature. Nature – the rocks, the landscape, the trees and animals – was here hundreds of millions of years before humans. We are the newcomers. Being in touch with nature is invariably uplifting to the spirit. Some people won’t find that because they are so distanced from it they can’t understand it. Our domestic cat represents nature in the human home.

      • I’ve found people who grew up in cities to actually be afraid of nature at times. They aren’t comfortable hiking around in the woods. But they can change. My cousin Kevin was kind of like that as a kid, but now he loves hiking and he’s introducing his kids to it as well. He’s very active and loves the outdoors. He does geocaching, which is a great alternative to going out into the woods to shoot something. You have the excitement of looking for something, but no one gets hurt– you just add your name to the little book in the cache when you find it. Actually, I can’t say no one gets hurt. When Kevin and I were geocaching by the Wisconsin River I fell and skinned my knee and I still have a scar there. Clumsiness aside, it’s a great activity.

        • Agreed some people can be afraid of nature. But they should embrace it and love it. It is indicative of a emotional distance from it. Government should do some work on this aspect of life.

          • The government does a lot in this area. We have the state and national parks systems. Nature is preserved so people can enjoy it. Wisconsin’s state park system has something for everyone, from paved paths and staircases up the bluffs, special trails created to be wheel chair accessible, groomed cross country ski trails, pristine beaches, campgrounds, boat and canoe rentals and even fun events like night time nature hikes on Pike Lake’s “astronomy trail.” There are so many great things provided for people at little cost, because taxes support the park system. You can buy a sticker for your auto that costs $25 for the whole year, but if you walk or bike to a state park access is free!


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