DO CATS SWIM?












Cats can swim, and some big cats have to from time to time, when hunting. Smaller domesticated cats can, but prefer not to. If they get in, they get in for a dip, and then the water needs to be close to body temperature, so there is no cold shock. Most mammals, including cats, have brown adipose tissue, so they can cope with the metabolic effects of the cold, so that is not a reason. Cats like comfort. Cats, not even the mighty lion, would not swim the channel – they wouldn’t get out of bed for the training, let alone the doing. Of course, cats hunt at night – our Caius is a small black hunting package with a white smudge on his chest (so that we can tell him apart at night from all the other black cats) who brings home a mouse and drops it in the kitchen/lounge/on the stairs for us to delight in first thing in the morning, as we get tea in bed as preparation for the most-daily swim at the lake or local Thames. But it is rare they will swim for their supper. Speaking of cats and big cats, the animal symbol of the English nation is the lion, and the (don’t mention it in polite conversation) brexit discourse has brought out a number of cat metaphors and analogies – there is the ‘cat that dreamed it was a lion’ (delusions of empire), and the French ‘cat called Brexit’ (who wants to leave the house, but stays and looks around when the door is opened for him), and the invocation of Schrodinger’s cat when discussing Parliamentary Sovereignty in the debate. Marc Johnson of the University of Bristol Law School, uses the Schrödinger’s cat analogy to suggest that “sovereignty can be present in multiple places and remain intact, allowing the normal operation of both the UK Parliament and European Parliament, without offending a nuanced view of sovereignty. In order to do this, one must cast aside the orthodox views of sovereignty and start with a pragmatic and philosophical approach to Parliamentary Sovereignty as it today. Brexit is akin to lifting the lid of Schrödinger’s box to observe the actual state of sovereignty at a specific point in time, but in doing so it reduces the observers to that of a quantitative measurer, and asks ‘is it dead or alive’ – when, in fact, reality is far more complex than this”. Indeed more complex. Like cats themselves, which can seemingly be in multiple places at the same time, want be inside and outside at the same time, dream of being bigger than they are, but don’t really like swimming.

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