"Fact: Cats Are Better Than Humans" by Ashvaria Rai — Our March 2020 Bronze Medal Winner

by - Thursday, May 07, 2020

Ashvaria is our third place winner from the contest posted in our March 2020 issue!

What the judges had to say:

"If only humans could see through the pretentiousness of each other the way this cat can."

"Enjoyed the theme of the ability of animals to see the truth of people, rather than the exterior distractions. Clear, logical ending."

"This story, by telling it from the cat's perspective, highlights the one best qualities of humanity - loving and looking after all beings."

"Sarcasm and irreverence are perfectly in-line with the character, and the fresh perspective from the main protagonist's point of view was as unique as the inner voice."

"I appreciate that you used such a simple medium, a cat, to share such big observations about the "human condition". I enjoyed that aspect of your story."

Meet Ashvaria:

Ashvaria Rai describes herself as "just an undergrad trying to figure out life through writing."

The photo prompt:

  the unedited story:

Fact: Cats Are Better Than Humans

by Ashvaria Rai

Humans are strange. And not in an adorable, hipster, quirky way. Rather in a superficial, pretentious and absurd way.

Take, for example, the way a woman just petted under my ear and spoke to me in an infantilized tone – patronizing! So very patronizing. As if I’m unable to understand more than ten syllables at a time! Preposterous.

My owner, Misty, never speaks down to me like this. When we converse, she treats me like an equal, relaying her woes and joys as if I were one of her own kind. Although sometimes she misinterprets my words it must be my prairie accent throwing her off she understands the emotions and meanings behind my purred responses just fine. Our talks have a rhythmus pattern to them they always begin with Misty asking me how much we made today; I then push all of our hard-earned items (some paper currency, some coins and miscellaneous paper clips and lint balls that accompany the emptying of pockets) into a corner of her guitar case and she counts aloud our profits for the day. I am not yet aware of the values why is the flimsy paper worth more than the solid metals? It makes no sense!

Depending on how much we gather, Misty will say “great job kiddo!” or “we’ll do better tomorrow Stormy.” Then she will proceed to tell me her thoughts on all the things people and listeners and her “wicked stepmother” and seeing corner-Joe with yet another girl and just, all the things.

I love Misty, I really do. I have never had an owner as wonderful as her. But I feel for her sometimes. I don’t understand how someone as kind and grounding as her can be subjected to such unfortunate events and such bad treatment. Especially when I compare her to my previous caretaker.

I don’t remember all of it I don’t even remember her name. Perhaps it is best that I don’t. She was the worst type of person. She was rude and negligent and fake. Worst of all, she named me Grey. Because I had grey fur. You know what Grey is? Grey is uncertainty, Grey is indecisiveness, Grey is neither here nor there, Grey is... just a terrible name for me!

I hated living with her. I was never fed on time, she never pet me (except while holding me hostage in her arms whenever she smoked on the balcony) and she was always yelling at me for every little thing. “Pets are in, and I’m allergic to dogs”, this was the reason she gave when asked why she kept me.

She bought countless, pointless, shiny items and always firmly asserted her ownership over me whenever I would accidentally break one. Sometimes I broke them out of spite it wasn’t a big deal, really, she could just buy another one, but it was the principle. We had astoundingly different principles.

She had people over, almost always. They would all gossip. Then when theyd leave, she would call up some others friendsand gossip about the ones who had just left. She was arrogant and never spoke kindly to the maintenance workers, drivers, delivery people anyone who wasn’t “up to her standards.

And yet, people worshipped her. They craved to be in her presence, silently begged for her approval. They cooed out their compliments and devoted their attention solely to her, as if she was somehow different than them, as if her excess somehow warranted supremacy. Take away the shiny things, the inherited arrogance, the façade of righteous superiority and she was no different than anyone else. Even with these things, fundamentally she was no different, although perhaps a bit more wicked.

When Misty found me on the street, I was in very bad shape. I had been malnourished, robbed of patches of fur and thrown out. She took me in right away, taking off her coat to shield me against the heavy rain. I tried to tell her to keep it, but my voice came out all broken and hoarse this worried her even more. She bundled me in her coat and took me to her favourite place called “The Shelter”.

At first, Misty was told she couldn’t take me in. But one look at me and the bouncer made an exception. Misty put me down and walked away, I thought she had left me there on my own, but she quickly re-appeared with some milk, hot soup and bread. I stared at her, wondering why she wasn’t eating yet, she stared back. Then she pushed them all closer to me. My heart surged. I only went for the milk, pawing at it until she tipped it gently so I could reach the liquid. I pushed the bread and soup towards her, then snuggled up against her leg. She smiled and I felt like I was going to be okay.

“I’m going to call you Stormy” she said “because your fur reminds me of beautiful storm clouds and we met in the rain”. I purred softly. I liked Stormy.

That feels like a lifetime ago. Ever since then, I’ve never looked back. Misty nursed me back to vigor and quickly became my companion, my provider, my very best friend. She is the kindest, most hardworking and most genuine person I have ever met.

And yet, people are not kind to her. They do not listen to her music; when they do, they do not compensate her well for it. They are unkind and judgmental and never respectful. They assume and chastise and whisper whenever she heads towards her favourite place. Some even yell obscenities at her as we try and sleep under the stars.

Which brings me back to my previous conclusion: humans are strange. They are obsessed with the superficial and pretentious and mistreat those who are good and pure and needed in this world.

But that’s okay, Misty doesn’t need them. Because she has me. And cats are better than humans anyways.

[Read the first and second place stories]

Learn how you can participate in one of our Write-Prompt Flash Fiction Contests HERE

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