We all have those questions that keep us awake at night. Some I think are universal, like “Why am I here?” or “Am I making the most of my life?” or “Is the Hokey-Pokey really what it’s all about?” Others are probably common across various groups, for instance those defined by a common interest: “What should I fix on my car next?”, “How can I justify purchasing a Panther to my wife?”, “What kind of speaker should I put in my guitar amp?” Then there are the questions that are very personal, like “Should I take the scholarship and go to school for underwater basket-weaving or take a year off and travel the Himalayas?” or “Is Darth Vader really my father?”

Now at this point, you’re either thinking that I’ve been hitting the eggnog early, or wondering what the heck this has to do with cats and cars. There’s a question, that probably falls somewhere between the personal and group categories, that keeps me awake at night. That question is, of course, “What kind of car is my cat?” More specifically, I want to know what kind of engine any given cat has.


It’s a natural question, given the intimate relationship between cats and cars. We talk about an engine purring, we name cars after cats. Cats and cars can be temperamental. They may be indifferent to our efforts to befriend them, but we harbor affection for them anyway. Cats kill small animals, so do cars. They are both fast and can climb trees.

Pictured above are our three cats. They don’t usually get along quite that well, but it’s cold and the bed is kind of like cat Switzerland.

At the top of the picture is our oldest cat. She is our “fun size cat”, being about 2/3 the size of your average house cat and is our most enthusiastic purrer. Being on the older end of things, she prefers peace and quiet, which is most often to be found in our bedroom, away from children and other animals. All it takes to get her purring is to lay down on the bed and start petting her. I have always felt that her purr sounds like a small diesel engine, so she is clearly some small Euro-market hatchback.

The big gray cat is a couple years old and is the “deluxe cat” since he has such luxurious fur. He may or may not be a Norwegian Forest Cat, but he’s clearly well-suited for our Minnesota winters and will still happily be outside for a couple hours at a time, despite the cold and snow we’ve been having. His purr sounds like a lazy V8. His plush appearance belies his nature as a very efficient predator, so I feel like he’s some kind of V8-powered luxury sedan with a lot of get-up-and-go, maybe a Catillac CTS.


Finally, we have the newest cat in the family, who was hiding out in our garage this fall. She’s still settling in, so I’m not 100% sure of her personality yet. But her purr was giving me a lot of trouble until this morning. I wasn’t feeling any particular automotive engine very strongly. But this morning, as I was half-asleep, I thought I heard a neighbor running a snowblower. As I woke up, I realized it was actually the cat purring as she was wrapped around my wife’s head licking her (my wife’s) hair - yeah, she’s a weird cat. In that instant it was clear that she has a 2-stroke engine. I’m not sure she’s actually a snowblower, maybe some scooter or something.

The moral to the story is, don’t stay awake at night worrying about the big questions - the answer will come to you in that lovely half-asleep state on a Saturday morning.

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