Does a cat need ID?

By Whisky, the Black & White Cat

There’s been a lot happening in the world of late. So any but the most alert reader might be forgiven for missing an important item of news – at least so far as it relates to cats:

No ID cat almost misses out on advent calendar gift .

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A cat called Ted in Kentish Town was recently the happy recipient of an advent calendar sent as a gift from Lincolnshire. At least he would have been happy had the item been delivered – which it wasn’t. The Royal Mail was reluctant to release the package to Ted’s pet human because she was unable to furnish the necessary ID – a requirement clearly stated on the calling card.

Ian was puzzled when I brought this news item to his attention. Clearly he doesn’t fall into the “alert reader” category, because he totally failed to grasp the pivotal significance of the article for cat-human relations. One for which you have no need of explanation if you are a cat.

If you are not a cat (and I admit this might be true of some of my readers) then let me draw your attention to the salient points of the BBC article without insulting your intelligence.

1. Ted suffers from feline HIV, which prevents him from leaving the house to claim the package in person. Consequently he has to send his pet human to claim it on his behalf.

2. Ted has a double-barrelled surname, which his pet human has adopted as her own. This I understand is an untypical arrangement which might be a source of confusion to officialdom.

3. Ted is a rescued cat. Like any other refugee from life-threatening abuse, he is hardly in a position to furnish acceptable ID to a basically unsympathetic authority. Moreover you will search the web in vain for clarification of what sort of ID the Royal Mail will accept from a cat.

4. The gift was an advent calendar.

Has this brought it all into focus? No? Any cat would give a deep sigh at this point, but I allow that Ian was equally perplexed and needed it spelling out for him. So here goes…

Let’s take the last point first. It was an advent calendar.

Ian professed bafflement at why anyone should send an advent calendar to a cat, and why it would cause annoyance to the intended recipient if the item were to be arbitrarily withheld. It’s at times like these I’m led to question humanity’s claim to be an intelligent species.

Let me remind you of what an advent calendar is. It’s a package sporting 25 little cardboard windows concealing small but tasty pieces of chocolate which cats find irresistible. The scheme is this: starting on 1 December you open one window a day for each of the 24 days leading up to Christmas - and there’s an extra big window for the Day itself. This ritual fortifies a moral discipline entirely lacking in Ian, who takes the seasonal appearance in his local Lidl of mini-Stollens, Pfeffernüsse and Extremely Chocolatey Biscuits as his cue to piggy-out on his favourite delicacies like there was no tomorrow. Ian does not do deferred gratification – and I’m sad to say this is not atypical of his generation, or his species.

I trust I’ve unlocked the import of the article for you. The remaining three points are so self-evident that if you’re still perplexed as to their significance there’s nothing I can say to make it any plainer. Except to examine the foundations and praxis of cat ID in a human context, for which space is lacking to do the matter justice.

updated: 04:19 09/12/2015