Pool Party Fun

When cats inevitably find themselves parked in boxes, humans react with gleeful bewilderment. Gleeful because the image of a fat cat spilling over the sides of a too-small box is naturally hilarious, and bewilderment because we ask ourselves “What is it in a cat’s brain that tells it to sit in this box?” It seems as though this question is one of the great mysteries of the world, up there with the other seemingly unanswerable questions like “Does life have meaning?” or, “Is everything one thing or many things?”

But I attended a pool party yesterday and noticed that cats are drawn to boxes in the same way that humans are drawn to swimming pools. Plunk one down and next thing you know your backyard is swarming with bathers. In our ecstasy we’ve never stopped to ask ourselves why we’re drawn to swimming pools. Were one to ask a swimmer why he or she liked the pool, one would mostly likely be met with a shrug. “I don’t know. Pools are fun.”

The evolutionary answered would surely involve primordial man’s dependence on pools of water for both drinking and bathing, a dependence that has, over time, been passed along to become a pastime. I hate answers like this. They put everything in neat little boxes and leave no room for mystery. Much to my displeasure, the sterile and scientific answer seems to be the trend. As this trend of shoving every mystery through the sieve of science continues, we will eventually discover a method by which to talk to cats. Our first question will of course be “Why are you guys so drawn to boxes?” We’ll hold our breath as one of the last mysteries prepares for oblivion, and the cat will blink sleepily and say “I don’t know. Boxes are fun.”

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