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Who put the cats out?

July 8, 2023

Cats! You either love them or hate them! That sounds a rather strong statement, and perhaps the word hate is overstating the fact, but it is surprising how many people do not like cats nor want to be near them.

I can think of many instances in my life beginning as a young girl, when I have done everything in my power to avoid being in the same room as a cat. Those annual holidays with Auntie Nellie in Southport were both a delight and a nightmare, when the resident cats wandered in. Yes, they are lovely from a distance, especially kittens who are simply adorable. Who wouldn’t want one sitting on their lap? Actually, ME!

They make me itch, they make me sneeze, they irritate me beyond all measure. My eyes puff and inflame, and I might even feel as if I am going to have an asthma attack. So, cats, keep them away from me.

Why are they on my mind now? Probably because the cat next door has just destroyed a young pigeon in my garden, and the focus on my favourite news channel this week seemed to be centred around cats.

There is a very humorous and interesting story which has just come to mind about my cat experience when I visited a school many years ago. A story which is worthy of telling, so I must write the full account separately to this blog. In brief, during the days of my many author visits, a school that I was sent to by my agents, turned out to be unusually cat friendly. As always with my school visits I looked forward to my time with the children, and in this instance, it proved to be a private school in South Yorkshire.

On arrival, I realised that the school, a converted rather grand property, housed a small group of primary aged children. I rang the bell, the door opened, and I was greeted by a very eccentric and unusually dressed woman, accompanied by – wait for it – a black cat. To my horror there were more cats. They sat in the classroom, on the teacher’s desk and even one in the rest room, or to be precise the toilet.  I was politely offered a cup of tea and escorted to the staffroom to see a cat sitting on the work top near the jug of milk. I declined and asked for water.

I kid you not! More about that story later….

Meanwhile, what I really want to say is how disturbed I am with all this gender nonsense in the world today. Yes, I think the world has gone completely mad. All this talk about 9o + genders. Don’t get me started on that one!

I spoke about this in my blog on June 5th. But now wanting to identify as non-human baffles me beyond measure.  I think of one young adult in America who insists on identifying as a Barbie doll. Well, she’s not a doll and she can’t be a doll. Indeed, she wants to dress in Barbie clothes, but when it comes to drastic cosmetic surgery including rib removal to change her body to look more like Barbie, I despair. This is only one example of the madness in society today, which is now creeping into the UK and sadly our schools.

Recently, several schools admitted instances of children wishing to identify as animals. I’m sure you could google them as they were well documented in the media with students posting video footage as evidence. Yes, it’s a fact, kids coming into school wanting to identify as animals. The case most relevant to this blog, Cats.

Is this a mental health crisis we are witnessing? Or kids play acting and simply winding up their teachers?  Either way there is something drastically wrong which demands immediate attention.  A video clip on a student’s mobile shows footage of a student being reprimanded for the cat theory and the teacher verbalising that if a child wanted to identify as a cat, they should be allowed to do so, and their choices should be respected.

Whilst an urgent referral to CAMHS (children and adolescent mental health services) might be appropriate, how about a discussion which went something like the following: –

‘Would you like to have your lessons in the playground? Would you like to sit outside under the bushes for a few hours? Perhaps you would enjoy your food in a bowl, get on all fours and eat in the school meadow? Think carefully, do you really want to identify as a cat? ‘

Teachers need to have serious and intelligent discussions, but what I find desperately worrying is when a teacher reacts by attacking those peers in the classroom who quite rightly say, “you can’t be a cat, you’re a human”.

What is wrong with our teachers? So, on that note, a final point. I have worked in the childcare sector for 35 years. Preschool children can identify as batman, a dinosaur, as a princess and even Barbie. That’s imaginary play, isn’t it? But I’m sorry, when a child leaves primary and goes into secondary education and talks about 90 + genders and identifying as animals, I am very concerned.

We all should be.

Chat later.