My Cat is No Fat Cat

It's a good thing my long-haired calico Hyacinth can't read the
newspaper. Otherwise I'm sure she'd be deeply offended by all the
recent headlines about "fat cats."

President Obama used the derogatory term in an interview on
CBS's "60 Minutes." "I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch
of fat cat bankers on Wall Street," he said.

Granted, Hyacinth may be on the pudgy side, but she has little in common with greedy financial executives.

First of all, her pleasures are simple ones. Fresh water,
regular meals, and a ball of string are all it takes to keep her

Wall Street executives are the ultimate in high maintenance.
Ever since the government put the most modest of restrictions on
compensation at bailout firms, they have been in panic mode. Desperate
to free themselves of these constraints and protect their
nine-figure-paycheck lifestyles, they are rushing to return the bailout

Never mind that the top banks haven't found the resources to
provide sufficient credit to people who need it for their homes,
businesses, or school tuition. The number of zeroes on their executive
paychecks seems to be what matters most.

Secondly, how much damage could Hyacinth do to the world? A
few hairballs here and there on the carpet--nothing a damp sponge can't

Wall Street executives, for their part, drove the global
economy off a cliff. Their reckless behavior is largely responsible for
tens of millions of people falling into poverty and joblessness. And
now they are lobbying to block Congress from enacting new regulations
to prevent future crises.

For thousands of years, cats have had one primary job: rodent
control. They've done it well, with pride, required no training or
exorbitant perks, and made only the most minimal demands on the rest of

In fact, recent research indicates that cats give back to us
humans--big time. The University of Minnesota studied more than 4,000
Americans for 10 years and found that cat ownership reduced the risk of
heart attack by nearly one third. Think having a banking CEO around the
house would have the same healthy effect?

Contrary to popular belief, cats aren't even all that lazy. A
recent study by animal behavior specialists for the Nestle Purina
PetCare Company found that cats spend only about six percent of their
daytime hours napping.

I think it's time to stop maligning our feline friends by comparing them to Wall Street executives.

Whether fat or not, cats deserve much more respect.

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.