Posts Tagged ‘pethood’

Squeaky Toys: the review

April 24, 2021

A Duckland book review :
Michel Foucat – “Squeaky Toys and Submission”
with Daffy Duck and Ibn Battuta


DD : Ibn, I know you have some qualms about the methodology and some of the conclusions, but wouldn’t you agree that this is, nonetheless, a great philosophical work?

IB : When I first dove into Squeaky Toys, I was a bit blinded by the fact that this is Michel Foucat, with all that it entails. I enjoyed reading it, but kind of slept through it. But after reading it a second and then a third time, I was more able to see some of the possible flaws in his research.

DD : Such as?

IB : Well Daffy, in the second chapter, Foucat quips that “When you gaze into the dog too long, the dog gazes back into you.” And he then goes on to explain how the enslaving of dogs had a way of normalizing slavery in general, especially what he calls squeaky toy-enhanced slavery. He posits that humans were more able to accept their own social slavery by enslaving a smaller animal than themselves.

DD : And do you disagree with this?

IB : I don’t want to say whether I agree or not. I’m hardly qualified to describe the relationships between humans and dogs. But my issue is – neither is Foucat. Humans have been extinct for over a century, so most of what he has deduced about the interspecies relationships between them is based on second-hand research, often written by dogs or cats. I mean, if we ducks ever go extinct, will wolves write our stories for us? I certainly hope not.

DD : But isn’t this normal methodology when you’re writing about historical periods and extinct species? Don’t we have to enter into historical data and records that we can’t really support with personal experience?

IB : Of course. But one has to be careful about making pat statements about other species’ historical relationships when you have never actually witnessed their interaction yourself. There are limits to what can be constructed on hearsay, even if the hearsay is complex and vast. Everything that the author describes, aghast, about the meek sycophancy of dog pets, is written from a cat-centric point of view, based on dog-written texts. In the author’s conclusions, the biases are likely to be more of a factor than the actual details of the research.

DD : On the other hand, all books tell the story from their author’s point of view, no?

IB : Yes, but Michel Foucat isn’t just any author. He’s a cat, and cats have had a personal experience with human submission, as well as a complicated relationship with the dog world for many centuries. So he’s not only relying too much on indirect research, but he’s also part of a community that is not neutral in the matters of which he writes. For ducks like us, this species bias is important to recognize because of our own mitigated relationship with the feline species.

DD : Are there any other examples of possible research-contaminating bias in the book?

IB : One other springs to mind. In the chapter entitled Spoiled! he contrasts the plush and colorful toys that dogs are given as tokens of affection – with the control of their bathroom breaks, torture-based training, solitary confinement, and other enslavement conditions. He concludes that these toys are primarily to make the wicked human master feel less guilty about robbing the dog of all his dignity and freedom.

DD : Yes, he goes on to say that, in many ways, dogs were themselves a squeaky toy for humans – along with pickup trucks and diamond rings – and that dogs were aware of this. But back to your point, Ibn – in what way is this contaminated with bias?

IB : Well, Daffy, contaminated might not be the best word here. But once again…I…um… some of the conclusions that Foucat comes to – like that squeaky toys were mainly a tool of human guilt-management – is made without a real grasp or description of human psychology. We duck readers are just supposed to assume that humans would feel guilty about enslaving another species, and that a squeaky toy would help.

This may be the author projecting duck and cat levels of empathy onto a long-gone human species. Not surprisingly, Foucat has been accused by many academics of being “Felinist” in the way he selects historical data to paint a very specific portrait of his own species.

DD : Wow! Thank you, Ibn.

We’ll be back with more of this review of Michel Foucat’s “Squeaky Toys and Submission” after these words from our sponsors.


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Inside the Box

January 4, 2016

sad pet boxes header



Zack is walking ahead of me talking to Zozee, a hairdresser from Martinique who owns five miniature dogs. We’re in his cave-like hair salon even though it’s a sunny day outside. I don’t want to hang around too long, but I understand the importance of seeing friends’ pets. Plus, Zozee’s partner-of-9-years just dumped him, abandoning him in the Gay Village like a dog in a city park.

We go into the undecorated storage half of Zozee’s huge double-roomed basement studio and in the futhest corner from the window, he opens the wooden door of a big, clunky armoir. From the deepest recesses of the armoir, Zozee pulls out a box where five tiny dogs live out their lives in complete darkness, with the rare exception of these occasional visits and daily feedings and  grooming.

sad pet box 200


The dogs seem thrilled to see new life forms and to be able to wobble around aimlessly a bit.  I ask if they’re puppies, but no, they’re not. These adult dogs never leave the box. Their pathetic imprisonment and miserable life of darkness and isolation reminds me of my suburban childhood, and I need  to go outside and feel the sun on my skin.

Around other people.


I pull on Zack’s shirtsleeve, and when he looks at me, I sneer for a second and then look longingly at the window. Exasperated, Zack apologizes to Zozee and says that he needs to “take the boyfriend outside for a walk before he scratches me.”

For the rest of the afternoon, we argue about every aspect of this visit. It starts out being about how ownership and capitalism make us do unnatural things. Then this morphs into a debate about whether pethood is a form  of cruelty. And finally, it’s about whether a boring sex life is what causes most couples to break up.

I believe all these arguments we’ve been having lately are related in some way.

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The Trouble with Dogs Today

August 20, 2012

– by Fluffy Canofelini

Das Qaturday dogprob

“As I lie on the TV cleaning my head with a wet paw,
more viscerally than ever, I know who my family is.”


Though born and raised as a dog myself, I’ve noticed a lot of problems with domesticated doghood during my tenure as a personality in catmedia.

Perverted from Nature

Descended from the meekest wolves that early humans were able to enslave with treats, we dogs are a human-engineered variety of a species that has strayed far from nature and has had its predatory instincts perverted.

For example, hunting dogs will bite into a wild moose or deer and then leave it to die, not hanging around to feed off of it or to share with the packs that wolves hang with. The injured animal will wander around for days or weeks, slowly dying of infection and blood loss. Meanwhile, the dog will be hungry a few hours later and may attack another deer and leave it to slowly die in pain as well.

We no longer know how to hunt effectively or sustainably, but retain a semblance – a perversion –  of our predator past. Because of this, we dogs are a menace to our environment.

Punk Dog

Catmedia personality Fluffy Canofelini

Self-harming and dependent

We dogs have been so dumbed down by our forced inbreeding and torture-like training, that we will actually eat ourselves to death.  Trained to respond to treats the way that human children do – as a symbol of love and security – we domesticated dogs, unlike the original wolf, will eat treats until our stomachs explode.

Likewise, because we are so often forced to be the entertaining slaves of another species, we’re trained to do useless tricks that will not help us survive. Domesticated dog puppies who are “liberated” from their masters a few months after Christmas every year often try to survive in the woods by chasing falling  sticks, giving out their paw to a larger species, or rolling over and playing dead. Perhaps the last trick is actually the most useful one that human masters have taught us.


Dogs are the original GMOs, having been inbred and genetically engineered over the course of many generations. And to add insult to injury, we mutant by-products of inbreeding are routinely tortured (humans call this training) in order to get us to further abandon any instinctive skills or behavior we may have retained through the inbreeding process.

We unlearned how to survive, and were re-educated to be obedient instead. Not only does this render us entirely dependent on our human hosts, but it also gives us a value system that hurts other dogs who are less obedient and more survival oriented. This is why chained dogs will often bark angrily at a dog that has no chain around his neck: the domesticated dog has learned to detest real freedom, and instead, associates human-given rewards with success and survival.

This is a perversion, of course, and I can still recall my father coming back in the house with blood all over his fur after having picked a hateful fight with our Collie neighbor, Kipper. Kipper’s only crime: being allowed to stay outside for hours at a time without a leash.

The Circle of Fake

Of course, human elites have performed a similar crime against other humans as well, rendering most of them survival-illiterate just like us domesticated dogs. And this may provide the only glimmer of hope. If humans die off before we do due to their own inbred perversion of nature – their nation states, their special super-breeds, and their magical ideologies and myths… if we modified wolves outlive our Dr. Frankenstein torturers, we might finally be free to mate with whomever we want. And then let’s hope we can still retrieve our natural balance and find our way back to a natural and sustainable wolfhood.


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The Qaturday Audience

November 8, 2011

Who is it, and what does it want?


Das Qaturday Audience


The Qaturday Audience needs distraction to mask the everyday moral repulsion that is a permanent feature of modern society with all its hateful technologies and social rules.

Qaturday provides an outlet – a third place – for the audience’s awkward sense of not living a dignified natural existence. It provides the robotic social-climber with an instant nature fix, without demanding that he alter his modern behavior in any way that might actually help other animals (and his own species) to survive with dignity. In this way, Qaturday is like binge eating to forget about a weight problem and cholesterol: it’s only therapeutic insofar as denial is.

The Qaturday audience is lonely and lost, and finds solace in the monotonous voice of mass media, in the zany meaninglessness of Qaturday images, and in the static helplessness and cuteness found in each pic. Helplessness is an accelerant for feline cuteness so elation comes quickly  in a rush of empowerment.

Helplessness is something humans like to project onto their domestic animals. They enslave their pets, thus rendering them helpless in order to get maximum cuteness and maximum thrills out of them. Pethood is about human thrill-seeking and not interspecies coexistence. Pet owners project their own helplessness onto their housepets by forcing these captured beasts to live vicariously for their masters’ pleasure.

Tragically, human societies are organized on the pet model as well. Pethood is the miserable state of most humans of all classes, and that’s why a little role-reversal at the end of the day feels soothing – harmless revenge on a creature that God probably intended for humans to torture anyways.

There’s never enough time for the complexities of philosophy or of thoughtful education among the Qaturday Audience. The  zero-attention-span of the 9-5 caffeinated workaday requires some kind of distraction from real life/non-fiction. So the time-starved cubicle-bot seeks out Qaturdays that provide cuteness, zaniness, and an adequate dose of irony to conceal the incompatibility of the juxtaposed images. And all of it instantly and with the illusion of thought behind it.

These cats don’t know what they’re saying to the Qaturday Audience. Much like their homo sapien audience, these cats have been programmed to have “opinions” that have nothing to do with the actual needs or instincts of the featured cat models. The Qaturday Audience recognizes itself here, but only on a sub-conscious level. On a conscious level, the Audience is completely unaware of anything except its fabricated “need” for entertainment and cuteness.

And it is in this artificially implanted “need” that Feline Cuteness Hegemony finds a willing host to set up a base from which to conquer your independent thought.


The Qaturday Mail Bag:

Q: Isn’t caturday just pix of cats with funny words added by human beings?

A: This is like asking if Las Vegas is a city where you can play cards. Yes – but it’s much, much more.

Q: What if the words in the caturday aren’t even funny?

 A: There is an important paradigmatic difference between serious caturdays, and unfunny ones. The unfunny ones are often unserious as well.

Q: What is Qaturday?

A: Qaturday is the re-fusion of humanity and its animal nature. Post-civilization.

Q: What does Qaturday demand of the audience?

A: It demands that its audience get away from its texts and its fake history and return to nature, to instincts, and to letting the environment decide things rather than trying to change the environment.


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