Animal Farm: The Cats in Government and Society

I’m re-reading Animal Farm by George Orwell at the moment, and loving every second of it. The cat is an interesting, though a relatively small character in the novel. On page 47 readers begin to see the problem with the animals newfound philosophy: to each according to his need, from each according to his ability. Most of the animals at this early stage in the farm’s revolution still do a fair amount of work, but the cat is one exception.

And the behavior of the cat was somewhat peculiar. It was soon noticed that when there was work to be done the cat could never be found. She would vanish for hours on end, and then reappear at meal-times, or in the evening after work was over, as though nothing had happened. But she always made such excellent excuses, and purred so affectionately, that it was impossible not to believe her good intentions.

There are those today who dedicate their entire lives to purring affectionately. Another section involving the cat starts on page 49, and discusses the committees which the pig Snowball had decided to form. One of these is called the “Wild Comrades Re-education Committee (the object of this was to tame the rats and rabbits)”. The problem was that the wild animals, sovereign citizens you might call them, did not quite go along with everything the rest of the animals believed in. Again the cat proves that she knows how to work this new system on the farm.

The cat joined the Re-education Committee and was very active in it for some days. She was seen one day sitting on a roof and talking to some sparrows who were just out of her reach. She was telling them that all animals were now comrades and that any sparrow who chose could come and perch on her paw; but the sparrows kept their distance.

It seems the sparrows were not as gullible as some American voters. I can imagine someone from the USDA telling a farmer, we’re from the government and we are here to help. But unfortunately the USDA grasp stretches further than the cat’s paws, and farmers don’t have wings like the sparrows.

I think that it is wise to remember that society and our government are full of cats. Does the cat really just want to become friends with the sparrows, or will she eat them? Do the politicians really just want to help the poor, or will them keep them in poverty to garner votes? Does Obama really want everyone to have affordable healthcare, or does he want control? Does the EPA really want to keep water clean, or are they after power? Will increased taxes benefit the whole of society, or only the political elite and their crony capitalist friends? Don’t be fooled by the affectionate purring.

7 thoughts on “Animal Farm: The Cats in Government and Society

  1. …Animal Farm is pro-socialism. Its a critique on the how the socialist revolution was sullied in Russia because it veered too far from Socialism, and became too individualistic.

    • It still points out the problems with socialism, and shows how any transition to socialism or communism would inevitably end up; with individuals taking advantage of the power vacuum, and using socialist goals as a cover to advance their own power.

  2. The last paragraph of your article illustrates my fears. They’re out for control because control is really the only functioning result of thier policies and laws; the excuses they use to pass the laws and policies never pan out but they ignore these facts.

    • Yep, just how the sheep are taken out into the fields, taught a new chant, and drown out anyone who would object to or clarify the new rules, and how they differ from the old ones. In Animal Farm, since only really the pigs can read, they convince the rest of the animals that the 7 rules written down at the beginning were always the same. Some have guy feeling that they were changed, but their lack of literacy and distraction by the chanting sheep makes sure it never gets resolved.

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