A cat’s perspective on property.

Natsume Soseki. I am a cat.

In the first place it is my opinion that sky was made to shelter all creation, and that the earth was made so that all things created able to stand might have something to stand on. Even those human beings who love argument for the arguing’s sake could surely not deny the fact. Next we may ask to what extent did human effort contribute to the creation of heaven and earth; and the answer is that it contributed nothing. What right, then, do human beings hold to decide that things not of their own creation nevertheless belong to them? Of course the absence of right need not prevent such creatures from making that decision, but surely there can be no possible justification for them prohibiting others from innocent passage in and out of so-called human property. If it be accepted that Mr. So-and-so may set up stakes, fence off sections of this boundless earth and register that area as his own, what is to prevent such persons from roping off the blue sky, from staking claims on heaven, an enclosure of the air? If natural law permitted proprietal parceling of the land and its sale and purchase for so much a square foot, then it would also permit partition of the air we breathe at so much a cubic unit and its three-dimensional sale. If, however, it is not proper to trade in sky, if enclosure of the empyrean is not regarded as just in natural law, then surely it must follow that all land-ownership is unnatural and irrational. That, in fact, is my conviction: therefore I enter wherever I like. Naturally I do not go anywhere I do not want to go: but, provided they are in the direction I fancy, all places are alike to me. I slope along as it suits me, and feel no inhibition about entering the properties of people like the Goldfields if I happen to want to. However, the sad fact is that, being no more than a cat, I cannot match mankind in the crude matter of simple physical strength. In the real world the saying that “Might is right” has very real force; so much so that no matter how sound my arguments may be, the logic of cats will not command respect. (Page 14-16 of 2nd book)


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