Ugly Cats and the Loneliness of Man

You’ve read countless essays about why the internet loves animals. But chances are you haven’t read one as smart, surprising, and memorable as this one. A fascinating exploration of what lurks within the emotional bonds we foist on our pets.

The invention of photography helped establish the pet as a kind of ready-made anthropomorphism. But pets are still animals. A large part of the appeal of adopting a pet is the thrill of interspecies contact, the everyday encounters with what Berger calls the “abyss of non-comprehension”: the joy of making contact across this abyss and approaching a nonverbal intimacy that feels ancient and transformative. A pet is a little walking tornado of mysteries. What does she dream about? What is she trying to tell me? What does the world look like through her eyes? Who am I to her? These are not trivial questions.

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