Thursday, January 10, 2013

Feline Kilroy Complex

My friend Jenn calls it the ‘Kilroy complex’ – the tendency of some cats to favor hanging their heads down over things – a shoulder, the edge of a bed, whatever. 

Not all cats have it -- my cat Guinness does, my other cat Herbie does not.  

It’s cute and a little mysterious. I can’t imagine why hanging one’s head down over something would feel good. But it must. 

 Kilroy has an interesting heritage – originating, perhaps, with Australian soldiers in World War I then adapted/adopted by American soldiers and/or factory workers during World War II. One of the meanings was to indicate a safe territory – someplace where American forces had secured a sanctuary. Or it could mean that someone in some munitions factory or shipyard had marked a weapon or battleship with his (or her) signature, guaranteeing that it was well made. 

 For Guinness, it’s just a thing that he does. Often when I’m at the computer, he will walk in front of the keyboard then onto my shoulder, draping himself in classic Kilroy style – and purring. This action stops all compositional progress of course but, really, who cares? It feels like a sincere form of feline affection, an endorsement: this is safe territory and our bond is well made. 


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