I was enjoying a nice cup of tea and a good book the other day when I was assaulted by my cat – jumping from out of that ethereal plane which only cats can inhabit, allowing them to sneak upstairs without you seeing or, as in this case, leap seemingly out of nowhere from just behind your head, legs gathered together as if performing a tuck dive but which, in fact, form a perfectly focussed point that when aimed directly at one’s groin causes pain on levels that can approach registration on the Richter Scale. As if the sheer shock of such an unexpected assault followed by the continent-shattering levels of crushing pain weren’t enough, the planning behind such an attack becomes clear mere moments later, and I can only imagine that amongst the vast arrays of apparatus that cats have at their command in their umbral realm, wedged between huge banks of humming monitor stations and clicker-clacking ticker tape reports, there is the lit fuse for the cat’s explosive assault: a large red lightbulb that sometimes illuminates brightly, underneath which is the faded, peeling label that reads “Owner drinking hot beverage”.
Mopping scalding tea from an already bruised block and tackle, if the dear reader catches my drift, I took the time to curse the rogueish nature of my cat who had now somehow managed to shadow step through the aforementioned magical cat realm out into the garden and was staring smugly in at me, safe from verbal or physical retaliation beyond the kitchen window. I had at that moment pause to think about my statement, even as I eyed the miscreant moggy: rogue was indeed the class that fit the feline’s infuriating fetish for furtive forays, but was that the only nature of this particular puss?
In short, what MMO class is my cat?
Rogue is the obvious starting point. For sheer backstabbing subtlety and raw damage per second, my cat had only moments ago clearly demonstrated with devastating effect her prowess in these areas. It takes little imagination to envisage a lonely trek to a long forgotten temple in a far away land, where under the tuition of a harsh but fair master she learnt these ancient techniques, honing her martial arts against wooden practise dummies, then other feline students until finally facing off against multiple masters of the art at the same time, all to a rising and rousing musical score. Training complete, my cat was sent from the temple by her now dying master to hunt down and rid the world of small angry dogs that had gotten too big for their own boots. It sort of breaks down around here (if it ever got started for any of you), because my cat seems to have been waylaid in her quest to fight the good fight against canine kind, and instead put her years of martial training into use predominantly by curling up in a ball and sleeping on my lap. She twitches when she dreams, so I can only imagine she’s having suitably epic flashbacks to the monastery, and churning over in her subconscious as to why she didn’t choose to abandon her training and leave with Wei Lin to search for the ancient treasure of the seven mystic dragons.
Admittedly my cat has more adventures in my mind than she does her own.
The whole ‘purring, sleeping, cute bundle of adorable fur’ thing breaks any idea of my cat being a Rogue, clearly when she’s in this state she radiates a feeling of wellbeing and quiet contentedness that is infectious to such a degree that it should probably be classified as a disease. It is my resolute belief that any conflict or diplomatic situation could be resolved amicably if all parties were made to sit down and discuss the problem in front of an open fireplace with a snuggle of recently fed and incredibly cosy cats on their laps. Yes, a snuggle of content cats, you define a better collective noun.
No question, the holy grail of peace for all mankind lies with the satiety of cats.
In this respect the cat can be thought of as a healer, not all cats are this way, some are definitely and defiantly bundles of pain, pointy at five out of their six ends, and would quite happily fall feet first into the more combat orientated classes. My cat is a healer though, so this narrows the field somewhat, and for the ever so slightly whimsical nature of this rambling we’ll say that the field is defined by those classes available in World of Warcraft, partly because the majority of people will know of those classes but mainly because it allows me to crowbar this post into the MMO theme of the blog.
The Paladin class could be a cat class, for certain cats at least: the pious old warrior who would like to think that he can do DPS but in the end finds that he is far better suited to simply receiving assault after assault before strolling off and finding a human lap in which to curl up and begin his healing phase, while simultaneously and inadvertently crushing his owner under his sheer weight. I imagine the big old tom cats – you know the ones, they seem to have been in the neighbourhood since it was first built in 1764 and show no sign of leaving this mortal coil any time soon – who plod around their territory with all the swagger and self assurance of a silverback gorilla, with the same content belief that nothing and nobody can harm them, and with which comes the lethargy and ponderous prowling of one who has never known what it is like to be bested in mortal combat. Other cats, dogs, trees, small children on bikes and even moving cars have been faced down by this veteran of the concrete jungle, he’s taken his share of beatings and yet walked away seemingly unscathed. When finally he is outnumbered, when the hordes of neighbourhood cats have temporarily put aside their inter-faction bickering to take down this old world colossus, he simply looks at his watch whilst twiddling his whiskers, excuses himself with a mention that it is time for his tea, and then he is gone. Ever had that moment when you looked out of your kitchen window and saw your old tom cat out in the road with an oncoming car charging at him, driver and cat both oblivious to the impending collision? You close your eyes and wait for the inevitable, sickening crunch; only you hear nothing and upon opening your eyes there is no traumatic scene of carnage and your old templar of the tarmac is intertwining himself between your legs and calling for his tea. Bubble and hearthstone isn’t just for getting out of dire combat situations with the cat mafiosi, you know.
It quickly became clear to me that my cat was not a paladin; it also became somewhat clearer that I was suffering some mild form of post-traumatic stress disorder from the blow to my boll… um, ego, and that this had made my mind wander in such a weird way. Well, weirder than usual, at least. It quickly became clear that my cat was also not a priest: healers extraordinaire and not inconsiderable DPS, they shun melee and do their most potent damage when in the form of a shadow. I imagine priest class cats to be those alley cats who skulk around at night, their wailing and caterwauling enough to wake the dead, a form of psychic scream if you will, putting all kinds of fear into the minds of small children and grown adults alike, who lay in bed, heart pounding and pulling the bed sheets up higher around their head to shield themselves from the banshee that is surely clawing its way up the very side of the house. During the day these hell sirens transform into the mild mannered cats of little old ladies, and spend their time healing the souls of those who offer them the Samaritan sanctity of a comfy lap. Again, not my cat, who does not so much let out haunting banshee wails, but instead emits a sort of pathetic croaking that sounds like someone is throttling a lamb that has been a heavy smoker all of its short life.
In the same way that my cat does not frequent dark alleys, she is also not a nature lover like the druid. Druid cats are those that are always out in the wild, enduring the bracing elements to bring you back wondrous presents from the forest mother, like the unidentifiable entrails of small animals. They create masterful arts of nature in your home, specialising in the medium of mud and your freshly cleaned kitchen floor, perhaps with a little leaf litter thrown in for good measure. And maybe some more entrails. Druid cats are also the ones that get themselves stuck up trees, forgetting that they don’t in fact have a flight form. My cat is not a druid either: the only thing that she’s ever brought back from outside was a pair of Action Man trousers, which she dragged in backwards through the cat flap and then stood over proudly, croaking in that strangled-lamb-tracheotomy manner a message which I believe was requiring praise and acknowledgement. We never found who those trousers belonged to, but somewhere some kid has an Action Man figure who fights his battles ‘privates to the wind’. My cat has also never got stuck up a tree, in fact I’ve never seen my cat climb higher than the sofa, although I am adamant that some form of ladder and platform arrangement must be used to gain the trajectory and velocity of her more formidable ‘lap attacks’.
And so by deduction, mad reasoning and if nothing else default, my cat would appear to be a shaman. It seems to fit well enough, a little bit of healing intermingled with extremes of burst damage that leave her opponents wounded and gasping for breath; she can take on a ghostly form, at least I assume she has some manner of power aiding those stealthy and speedy excursions into cupboards and under beds where she knows she’s not allowed, and when she’s particularly threatened or stressed she has the ability to lay down water and earth totems which, alas, don’t disappear after a set period of time but can only be dispelled with a scrubbing brush and detergent, and even then the lingering oral debuff remains for many hours, even with the windows open; when she’s older I imagine that she could also develop a particularly devastating air totem.
So there you have it, my cat is not a rogue but a shaman. And now I plan to take revenge on her for the ‘burst of flame’ hot tea incident earlier in the week by catching her unawares and strapping an ice cube to her forehead.
Cats as a class, have never completely got over the snootiness caused by that fact that in Ancient Egypt they were worshipped as gods.
— P.G. Wodehouse