No, You Don’t Have A Cat

persian_cat_-matahari_hunting_Imagine with me, as one of the atheists on the atheist/theist Facebook group did some months ago, that someone claims to own a cat. But a friend or relative or neighbor looks at that person with surprise.

“You own a cat? I’ve never seen a cat in your house,” he says.

“Oh, yes, I own a beautiful white Persian cat.

The friend frowns. “But I’ve never seen any cat hair—on your furniture, your clothes, my clothes. Surely, if you had a cat, there’d be evidence of your cat.”

“Well, I don’t know what evidence you want. I can show you the bag of cat food I bought last week. I can show you the special vacuum attachment I use to groom my cat.”

“No, no,” the friend says. “I need proof. Show me your cat.”

“He’s at the vet right now, sorry.”

“Uh-huh. Convenient.”

“I can show you pictures.”

“Easy to get those from Wikimedia or someplace.”

“You can talk to my brother. He’s seem my cat. He’s played with him and petted him. Talk to my kids. They’ve cleaned the litter box.”

The friend shakes his head. “Seriously? Your brother? He’d say whatever you tell him to say. And the kids! Poor things are probably brainwashed.”

“Well, you know Mrs. Frank in the house behind ours. She’s seen our cat in the backyard. She’ll tell you.”

“Come on. Her eyesight is going. She probably saw an albino squirrel. We’ve had lots of squirrels this year. More than usual. She was probably imagining one of the squirrels was a cat. Or maybe she saw a small dog. That’s more probable.”

“But our yard is fenced.”

“Dogs can dig under the fence.”

You sigh. “Can’t you just take my word for it?”

“Why should I? You can settle this once for all if you just show me your cat.”

“But I’ve told you, I can’t. He’s not here.”

The friend runs his hand over his face, muffling his answer. “Because he doesn’t exist.”

“Hey, I’ve got it. We bought him at a downtown pet store. I can show you the receipt and the registration papers and the pedigree.”

“Sure, sure. How do I know it’s not all forged? How do I know it’s for the specific cat you say you own?”

“I don’t say I own him; I do own him. I trained him from a kitty. When he was barely two months old, he used to meow and screech when he was hungry. I trained him to lie in a little toy crib, like a baby and gave him milk to drink from a baby bottle.”

The friend pivots away. “OK, now you’re just being ridiculous.”

“No, listen. He’s a special cat. He doesn’t ignore me like other cats do their owners. And he’s really smart. When I ask him who his best friend is, he puts a paw on the same scratch toy every time.”

“The more you tell me about your so-called cat, the harder it is for me to believe. You’re making this all up, right?”

“No, honestly, I’m not. Can’t you just take my word for it? I really do have a cat.”

“Anybody can say anything about anything. Just because you want to spin your yarn, doesn’t mean I have to believe it.”

“But I have the evidence: other eyewitnesses, the paperwork, the pictures, his grooming attachment, the bag of cat food, his litter box. For goodness sake, who would have a litter box in their house if they didn’t have a cat?”

“A crazy person, apparently. Like the one I’m talking to.” He stomps from the house.

The moral of the story: those who don’t want to believe, aren’t going to believe.

Published in: on February 2, 2017 at 4:43 pm  Comments (11)  
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  1. That’s the truth


  2. Love the story, Rebecca. Have you thought that it might be seen from a different perspective? What if I say I’m a Christian, point to the church I go too, the bible I own, the friends in a bible study with me, and the generous donations I’ve made, but my life hasn’t changed? Should others believe I’m a Christian because I can offer incidental evidence when the evidence of the Holy Spirit working through my life is not there? Sometimes I think we are too often guilty of just such behavior; I know I am. Your story is a good reminder that I must be so filled with the spirit that when the world cuts me, I bleed scripture.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, the changed life. I wonder how I could have worked that into the story to show that the cat changed the owner’s life. 🙂

      Your point is well-made, Len, but actually one that’s for Christians. My point was actually for those who find reasons not to believe. So you write the next one. 😉



  3. The metaphor works both ways. People believe in God despite the obvious.


    • Not sure how you could arrive at that view from this story, essiep. Over and over atheists have told me that, no, they don’t have to prove God’s non-existence, that it’s up to the theist to prove that he does exist.

      But if you believe there is proof, or even evidence, for God’s non-existence, I invite you to share it.


      Liked by 1 person

      • My comment is a reaction to your last line,
        Despite looking, I have never seen any evidence that there is a god. Theists seem to refer me back to the bible, but that is so full of contradictions that it can’t be used as a creditable source. Without the bible, you haven’t got much have you?


        • essiep, certainly God’s greatest revelation of Himself is through the Bible. That it seems “full of contradictions” is probably because you don’t see it as a whole, don’t understand how the various parts fit together. There is an element of the miraculous in seeing the truth of the Bible.

          But of course, you likely don’t believe in the miraculous, which is another way God shows Himself. There are, for instance, a number of well documented “modern” (as opposed to Biblical) miracles: people in countries that don’t allow the Bible, having visions that point them to Jesus Christ; people in an African country protected by an army of angels that they themselves did not see but only heard about after the fact from one of those trying to kill them.

          So the Bible, miracles, and then there is creation. The hand of God is written large in the universe.

          The existence of moral right and wrong is another evidence of God’s existence.

          Then there are the experiences of people who have had encounters with the living God.

          So we’re up to five evidences, I think: Scripture, miracles, creation, moral right and wrong, personal experiences. But at every turn, just like the neighbor in the story, you will give reasons why you don’t think these are evidences, that they can be discounted, that they in fact aren’t to be considered as evidence.

          Instead, what if you started with this premise: it’s possible that an all powerful being does exist and he created (through whatever means you choose to believe) the universe. Then look at all the rest: could he have revealed himself in a holy book? Could he perform all kinds of miraculous things so that people will know him? Could he put a stamp of his character and personality in the universe he made? Could he enter into relationships with the people he loves and cares for?

          If you would change your initial presupposition (maybe she really does have a cat), you’d see that the evidences are all there.



  4. So you believe the billions of people who have a relationship with Allah then? And all the thousands of other gods that people have ‘evidence’ they exist in their lives?


  5. I wouldn’t call it a moral.


    • We don’t very often use the word “moral” any more in the way I used it, so I’m not surprised, Daniel. I had in mind this definition: “a lesson, esp. one concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story” (Oxford-American Dictionary).



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