Cats are the perfect models for dystopian sci-fi*. A race of beautiful bastards motivated by greed and manipulation, naturally inquisitive, acquisitive, and territorial. They’re already all our human problems in a wrapper people want to spend time with. Which makes them the perfect analog for working out science-fiction stories: give them an equivalent item to your story’s MacGuffin and watch what happens.
*The only problem is that we can’t combine the names, because I’m sure scat-fi is something that already exists, and am even surer that it’s not something I want to read.
Example: we’ve just set up our automatic cat feeder, and the cats have already started worshipping it. Once they realized they couldn’t beat it into submission (as with earlier and inferior cat feeders, which had clearly been designed by someone who thought cats were patient) they started sitting in supplication. Staring. Waiting. I’ve never seen them so close to religious. Once they work out the feeding times they’ll move on to the next stage: rebuilding their feline society around the infeline whims of an all-providing, suddenly all-powerful machine.
It’s appalling how quickly humanity became superfluous. We’re not the feeders any more, so we’re not as important. And we might know that in the long run we’re still necessary — the machine will need to be refilled, the machine will need new batteries, the machine might break — but then, when have we ever chosen long term survival over short term convenience? This experiment was meant to model a possible future and it’s already extrapolated the present.
I sat on the bed, obsolete before the Altar of Automatic Food, when one of its fuzzy supplicants scooched over to lean against me. Never taking his eyes off his whirring god, of course, but nevertheless moving to be warm, and comfy, and wait for the machine to take care of everything else.
And I thought, “I wonder if I can get a feeder.”
More feline fun with The Shrinking Cat Box Experiment