It was Completely Outrageous, I say. The Cat was in the Garage, I say. It was Sitting on my Spare Cushion as if its Comfort was Sufficient Moral Grounds to Occupy my Space, I say. It was Oppressing me, I say. Whilst I am saying all this I am also Barking a Lot.
It was not doing any harm, says the Owner. Did you not hear the Sounds of Pursuit Earlier? It was probably sheltering from a Murderous Fox, and you were not Using your Space at the Time.
I might have been using it, I say. It was Mine to Occupy, I say. I am on the Moral High Ground, I say.
You are on some sort of High Ground, says the Owner, but that does not make it Moral. You were Fully Occupied with Squeaky Cat on a Cushion Upstairs. The Cat was Probably Scared for its Life.
That is Not the Point, I say. The Space that I could Occupy and to which I have Exclusive Rights is Considerably Greater than the Space I actually Occupy at any one time. At any moment I could be Anywhere in this Space. This is called Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle implies that it is in general not possible to predict where a Body will be with arbitrary certainty, even if the usual conditions through which its position can be predicted are specified. This means the Cat was Morally Oppressing the Moral Dog. Any Cat worth its Salt would have known this.
Heisenberg does not cover the situation of the Moral Dog with a Squeaky Cat, says the Owner. The Cat and I were fully aware where you Actually Were from the Yowling and Squeaking that Accompanies your every Rest Period. I imagine, in fact, that Persons whose Hearing Assistance Devices were Switched Off could also hear you, even if they were in Gospel Oak. The Cat could not possibly have imagined it would be Morally Oppressing you.
The Cat has Morally Oppressed my Space, I say. Now my Space is not the same as it exudes a sense of Cat. The Cat should have Escaped the Fox in some Other Direction.
Sometimes, says the Owner, there is no Other Direction. I do not imagine the Cat was Particularly Thrilled at having to Hide on a Cushion that Smelled of Moral Dog. Perhaps, as a Moral Cat, it decided that such distinctions as Catness and Dogness were Morally Unimportant in the Face of a Threat to Life.
We seem to be suggesting, suddenly, that a Cat can be Moral, I say.
Just because something it not like you that does not mean it is not Moral, says the Owner.
It did not look Moral, I say. It looked like a Giant Ball of Scary Fuzz.
That is because your ideas on what Looks Moral are Rather narrowly Defined by your Natural Dogness, says the Owner. Such intuitive views of what is Moral tend to accompany the kind of Primeval but Morally Outdated Ideas regarding the Moral Nature of Ancestral Cats and Ancestral Dogs that were associated with claims to Conquered Territories, Controlled Empires and the Oppressive Subjugation of Other Races.
I suddenly get a sense this is not Really about Cats, I say.
Your sense is correct, says the Owner, looking at her phone. The news says that that ninety people were picked up in small inflatable boats trying to cross the Channel in freezing temperatures. Fifteen were just children. What must they be running from to take such a risk? And why do People imagine they were not Moral? Is their Situation not Analogous to that of your Cat?
I look at the pictures on the Owners phone. The people on the pictures look Moral to me. I realise that perhaps I have not been Fair to the Cat although, in my defence, I had not previously realised that a Cat was something I might be Morally Obliged to.
So you are suggesting that if we do not need the Space we have a Right to Occupy, I say, we should allow all Escaping Cats And Escaping People to Live in our Garage? Our Garage will swiftly be Very Full.
Those who are escaping will not need to live in our Garage, says the Owner, there is plenty of Space. As you and I have discussed, three times more of our Space is Occupied by Grouse Moors as by People. The Moral Duty of Rescue does not involve Giving Up all that you have, but some of what you can Spare. It involved being Generous in the Way you Assist. If there is Space with which to be Welcoming, we should not claim that we need All of the Space All of the Time for Ourselves in order to exclude those in Urgent need of Assistance. Even more particularly, we should not assume they are not Moral to try to ask us to do so.
I had not realised I might have a Duty to Rescue to a Cat, I say.
All Moral Beings have a Duty to Rescue all other Moral Beings, says the Owner. That is a Part of Being Moral. Now let us go indoors. Do you want to bring Squeaky Cat II with you?
No, I say, I think I will leave him here, I say. The next time the Moral Cat flees the Fox it will have Company. It seems the least a Moral Dog should do in the face of the Moral Cat feeling the Murderous Fox.
It is a shame, says the Owner, that the Moral Dog does not wish to be Prime Minister.
Perhaps, I say, what you really mean is that is a shame that the Prime Minister does not wish to be Moral.
Actually, says the Owner, I think it is Both.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.