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January 28, 2008
Now, that's one of the best cat names I've ever come across. It captures the hidden power of the race, that mysterious reserve that makes it impossible ever to know what they're really thinking, and reminds you that you really might not want to know, anyway, even if you could.

Because here's the thing: cats are in it for themselves, and they never pretend otherwise. Go ahead and name yours "Fluffy" or "Lovey" if you want to: it won't stop him from stealing you blind if he gets the chance. They'd all just as soon put a dead mouse on your pillow as look at you.

Sniper, of course, was named by a teenaged boy. I met Sniper at his home this past weekend, along with his fellows in the cat insurgency, Minc and Cheetah, the dog, Tanner, and some people who also live there, whose names I don't recall. It was just like home: low-level catfrontations breaking out here and there, the dog securing the perimeter over and over again. I angled for a cat to come and sleep with me, but they're set in their ways: it takes more than a weekend visit to capture that kind of company. Once somebody landed agreeably on my chest, and a pair of round yellow eyes stared intently at me for a moment or two. But then whoever it was got bored and left without explanation. Never apologize and never explain, is their policy.

But, you say, what about the way my kitty loves to cuddle with me? I know he loves me.

Well, maybe. They do if they want to, I guess. But they never lose their sense of self in love, however weak or strong love may be. A cat's considerable self never disappears in the thick soup of his devotion, the way ours sometimes does.

Perhaps that is what we admire about them.
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