Due to having spent more time lately in my administrative role, I’ve neglected my scientific studies. This is to say, I’ve let my study of the mathematical physics of felines go to the back burner. This has been disappointing to my following in the scientific community who breathlessly await new discoveries.
However, science cannot be scheduled. Nature keeps her secrets like the proper Lady that she is, full of so much mystery that a man might spend a lifetime exploring. Each tender caress yielding...
Er..right..I was going to write about cats and I was beginning to write about something much, much different.
I have spent many years studying the physics of cats. My principal discovery has been the cat number associated to every household and the conservation of that cat number. For example, my house has a cat number of three. Whenever a cat dies or disappears, a new cat shows up. Whenever a new cat appears before the death of one of our allotted three, something untoward will happen to one of them.
This has happened time and again. There have been a few times when a fourth cat has been around, but this can be accounted for in regular, mathematical ways. This is one of the beauties of the theory. It is a fertile area for new discoveries.
It has proved its fecundity again after a longish hiatus. Let me explain.
Our current cohort of cats consists of Stars, Mischief (aka Missy), and Tyson. Stars is our oldest cat. She looked to be about a year old when she turned up shortly before the birth of our youngest daughter who is now 14. Missy is about 4 years old. Tyson, the only male among them, is a little over two.
Tyson is sleek and black. His fur is beautiful. Personality-wise, well, he believes he’s a dog. This is not meant as an insult, necessarily, but it is a simple statement of fact. Our dogs are male and I believe he identifies with them for that reason. I identify with them as well. In my case, it’s the fleas. In any case, if Missy hadn’t already been named Mischief, the name very well may have fallen to him.
Missy, who had been quite mischievous in her kittenhood, is now quite the regal lady. She views every human in the world besides my wife Jean with an emotion somewhere between disdain and contempt. This is to say, she is a cat.
Stars, the Countess Dowager of our home, has grown over the years. At one time, she had an appearance not unlike the other cats of our three, but over the years she has expanded. Currently her shape is somewhat between that of a football and a basketball, breaking toward the latter if the observer is forced to choose.
Recently, it struck me that this change has occurred mostly since the arrival of Tyson. This, of course, cannot be a coincidence. Rather, it is a consequence of the laws of cat physics. Tyson isn’t really a cat in the typical understanding of the concept. This is clear because of his dog-like behavior. But he has a perfect feline shape and appearance. He’s clearly not a dog. Therefore he must be an anti-cat.
He is to a regular cat what a positron is to an electron; what an anti-proton is to a proton.
Those who are familiar with how matter and anti-matter interact--i.e. mutual destruction--will not be disappointed by how he gets along with the other cats. This is to say, he doesn’t.
The clincher on the theory, though, is Stars’s increased size. Her mass has increased in proportion to Tyson’s. As Tyson grew, his mass as an anti-cat and the preservation of cat number has forced Stars to increase her mass. Her mass has to increase double to that of Tyson’s: once to cancel his mass and once to account for the missing third cat. The only other way to explain it would be her eating out of the cat food sack when our backs are turned, and what cat would do that?
No, the theory of cat physics and the preservation of cat number are unparalleled in their explanatory power. There are doubtless other discoveries to be made.
(Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, is Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Mathematics at Pittsburg State University. He blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. )