Monday , 20 November 2017

Interview with Catakism author Jeff Lazarus

Are you obsessed with your cat? Does your cat “own” you? Well, then, you’re really going to enjoy our author interview with Jeff Lazarus. He’s written several humor books including “Dogtology: A Humorous Exploration of Man’s Fur-ocious Devotion to Dogs” and “Listen Like a Dog: And Make Your Mark on the World.” His new book “Catakism: A Humorous Purr-spective on Humankind’s Obsession with Cats” will be available soon, in early November 2017.

PCN: Of course cats should be entertained & loved, but we are wondering why this is the subject of your humor book?

Jeff: Not only should cats be entertained and loved by us, they should be talked and written about by us too – nonstop. These are some of the forms in which we celebrate our love, admiration and downright worship of them. Look at how tightly cats have us wrapped around their paws! We wouldn’t have it any other way now would we?! Actually, we have no choice. Once I realized that this is downright worship, the dogma, er…..catma, had to be written. The world needed to know that this craziness had a name and the calico in my blood drew me to the keyboard. We need to be honest with ourselves, with who we are, and have a politically correct name for it in this day and age. After all, if you say, “crazy cat lady” in these times, you may be called out with extreme prejudice. Identifying oneself as a Catakist will have its detractors too, but declaring one’s faith is more sacred, or at least it is supposed to be. It’s time to laugh at ourselves and our obsession and call it what it is. In case anyone hasn’t noticed yet, cats are so stinkin’ cute…and funny!

PCN: Catakism is a very funny title, and you are tipping your hat a bit to being devoted to a cat as similar to having a religion. How is this so?  A religion?

Jeff: Gosh no! Just because the definition of a religion includes: the belief in and worship of a controlling power, especially that of a personal God (i.e. Cat) AND a particular system of worship (i.e. our homes revolving around cat posts and litter boxes) AND the pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance (i.e. thousands of cat memes, pics and videos posted every minute on social media), should not necessarily lead someone to such a conclusion. Just because our behaviors described in Catakism demonstrate the devotion that we rarely see elsewhere, including those observers on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays, should not lead one to conclude that I am approaching the subject of religion – that’s Tabby, I mean taboo, right? I’m so glad you enjoy the name that has been given for one of the most common beliefs on earth – I love it too!

PCN: Do you have a cat that you love in this way? Or have you had a cat or pet that you once did?

Jeff:To have loved and to have lost is better than not to have loved at all, right? When I fall in love with an animal, I fall hard. I have had the deep attachment and devotion described in Catakism a few times in my life, with dogs and with cats. Jackson, a calico with a habit of watching me from an upside-down position, was the ruler of my universe for several years. It was commonplace for me to ask for permission to do most things in the house and certainly to seek Jackson’s approval. If I didn’t talk to him (or more commonly, ask him) in a higher-pitched kiss-ass voice, Jackson would assume that illness had stricken me and planned to get prior-authorization for my treatment. My life did indeed revolve around Jackson and that’s what brought me happiness. Somehow I’m not feeling too alone in this. I would assume that any respectable believer in Catakism will be nodding their head about now. Did I mention that Jackson was so stinkin’ cute? Point made.

PCN: Your premise is that felines are humanity’s biological and spiritual masters. What do you think makes cats so special?

Jeff: Have you ever fallen off a bookcase, or even a roof, and landed on your feet and uninjured? And if by the .000001% you have, did you walk away as if you meant to do it? Do you have ability to teleport yourself anywhere in the home you wish, such as inside of the laundry cabinet or from behind the computer screen? I highly doubt the answer is yes to these questions. Why? It’s the power of Cat. Our purring bundles of joy have psychic powers too that we still are astounded by. For example, who exactly is the common tomcat channeling while staring into space with laser focused attention? It’s a bit spooky really but fascinating at the same time. To look into the eyes of a cat for a prolonged period of time is very enlightening. You can feel their spiritual power. And, you will lose the staring contest. Of course there’s always the chance they are just wondering why you are staring at them instead of just turning over the catnip in your hands.

PCN: What duties should a human “master” take care of, according to a cat?

Jeff: First and foremost, changing the damn litter box! In order to properly serve cat, we humans must be readily available for refreshing said box and with the highest grade litter possible, and with such fine fragrances such as salty ocean breeze or pine cone potpurri (not a typo). Second, we must be ready to open the can of tuna surprise once we are given the sacred stare down from our cat pack (see “crazy cat lady” in Catakism). In fact, it’s advisable to just keep a can opener hanging from your belt like a tool, ready to spring into action. Allowing the cat to place its body across the computer keyboard is an absolute must or we may be wished into the cornfield. Hey, you can finish surfing the Internet later…when Socks says so. Other than that, it’s our duty to sit and wait for the cats to come to us and honor us with a rub of its body and if we’re lucky, receive the ceremonial purring. It’s considered a blessing to receive this kind of attention from a cat and many of us have to wait an extraordinary amount of time to receive this blessing, if at all. It’s a shame to miss work, and out on extra cash for catnip, just waiting for that moment, but we have to do what we have to do in order to feel validated.

PCN: What inspires you to write a humor book?

Jeff: Not only do I love to laugh, I enjoy seeing differing viewpoints of the world and finding the humor in them. I laugh all the time about things I think about. It just so happens that I’m writer so what better way to express my thoughts and perspective than into something so original We certainly don’t need a book about how much we love cats so I thought I would take the “pawspective” of looking at our own behavior and how silly we are around cats, how we cater to them, how we live a servant life to them, and how we wouldn’t have it any other way. Once someone realizes the definition of ‘belief ‘and ‘religion’, it becomes hard to make a counter argument that Catakism isn’t justifiably one of the most wide-spread on earth and with one of the most devoted following. I personally don’t know anyone that has denounced their belief in Catakism and can’t imagine how that would be possible. Once I find a unique perspective on something, I take action on it. Catakism is a classic example.

PCN: What do you think is funny about cats? Any specific experiences?

Jeff: Cats are just downright funny, period. What isn’t funny about them! Members of the Catakistic faith will understand this and agree. One thing I find extremely amusing is when a cat falls off of something, such as a table, bookcase, or roof, they act like they meant to do it. They just quickly walk away and look for the next place to nap. It’s as if they’re saying, “nothing to see here, look away”. They rarely let down their position of having cattitude or show vulnerability. I find laughter in observing how we all willingly settle into the subservient position when a cat comes homes with you and becomes your spiritual master (i.e. owner). The cat may be found on the streets, picked up at a shelter or discovered in the classified ads. The result is the same. They come into our home and immediately become the king of your jungle. They have that arrogance, not-a-care-in-the-world cattitude and look at you as if you’re crazy. Well, the truth is, you ARE crazy – crazy about cats! I better finish this question before a cat comes and lays down on my computer and edits my work. My next sentence would start with: jppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp.

PCN: Are there other books about cats you are thinking about writing?

Jeff: I feel that I have a civil responsibility to society to address unmet needs. There are many people out there who misunderstand cats; they see them as inferior beings and just don’t get it. There are those fortunate ones who have seen the light and want to take the leap into Catakism. Memorializing such an event is paramount. The sacred ritual of adopting Catakism as one’s lifelong faith is known as a Cat Mitzvah. An event such as this takes careful planning and often taking out a second mortgage on one’s home– after all, what band will you hire for the reception? I feel that one contribution I can make to society is to write: “The Cat Mitzvah; your comprehensive guide to planning, financing and celebrating the most important event in the life of a loved one”. On the political side of things, I would like to take a proactive stance against the controversial “Do No Litter” movement. As upsetting as a topic as this is, I want to spark the pro-litter initiative. Litter matters!

PCN: What else would you like use to know?

Jeff: I do have plans for Catakism and would like people to participate in the online community.

Thank you very much Jeff, for joining us today at PurrfectCatNames.com!

You can find Jeff’s book at:

Amazon.com

IndieBound

& other places!

 

 

 

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