Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Talking cat videos

Animal videos pretty much fuel the Internet.

At least it seems that way.

I mean, it started with the mass phalanx of cat pictures and memes. That has since become pentimento to the videos we have now. I never saw myself as ever spending the time to actually watch one of these videos (not that I'm overly averse to a few animal stories, mind you), but SteveCash83 and his cat Sylvester had other ideas. 

Steve Cash is a musician who has produced a YouTube series called "Talking Kitty Cat." It features his black cat Sylvester as the focal point, a cat that mind you can voice his own thoughts. Many of the vocalizations are in interactions with Steve's other pets, a black dog named Shelby and a pale cat named Gibson. Gibson can talk as well, but seems to be able to express only two words, "help" and "Todd" (the latter term referring to a mysterious man seen only once in a junkyard, but each cat seems to want to get to his crib.) Shelby the dog can likewise speak, thanks to a device Steve cobbled together and placed on her collar.

But central to each video is Sylvester and his reactions to situations. Typically they're simple, one word responses. "No." "Why?" And my favorite, "fuuuuuuck." While the "grumpy cat" meme is already trite and redundant, Steve Cash somehow keeps it fresh. I think this is partly due to the fact that there is a legit narrative arc to these videos. You want to see what happens next. They're recursive in that they refer back to previous videos. 

I also think that Sylvester is a cat who says what everyone is thinking. Or at least what we have all thought at one point or another. Most appealing of all though is that he does not remain stuck and grouchy. No, in a true Nietzschean will-to-power, Sylvester acts. He finds a way through the window screen. He posts a Craigslist ad to give away the dog. 

More than anything, Steve Cash truly has great insight into the minds of animals. Anyone who has lived with dogs or cats has probably, either aloud or as dialogue in her or his own mind, imagined these responses from the furry members of the family.

Steve just had the good sense to turn it into a video series. Check out an episode here:

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