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Is Simon The Cat High, Or Is He Just Winning At Being A Cat?

Simon has lived with us for about three and a half years. He came into our home from the local animal shelter. My wife and I were reluctant to adopt him—as kids, we were both highly allergic to cats. But our two daughters really, really wanted him. And he was cute. And we were not about to live with a dog in a Brooklyn apartment. So—Simon.

Over the past few years, he’s gone from being a fairly spazzy kitten—mad-eyed dashes down the hall, intent on destroying any glass that dares sit on a surface with a single swat—to a slightly less spazzy teenager.

But he’s never, until recently, shown much interest at all in our kitchen sink. That changed about a month ago, when Simon became obsessed with our apartment’s kitchen sink. Like—obsessed. It’s the first thing he wants to do each morning—sit at the sink’s edge and lap and slap at a slight trickle from the tap. For many hours each day, he now sits in the sink, waiting for, well, I’m not sure what. Because sometimes I’ll turn the water on and he won’t sip it at all; he just wants to stare. And stare.

About the staring. I’ll often be puttering around our place tidying up, or getting ready to go out, or just moving one pile of mail from here to there, when I’ll look up and catch Simon. And he’s staring at me. Unblinkingly. Or, at least I think he’s staring at me. The truth is, it’s hard to read his eyes, his expression. It’s as if he is in awe of what he’s taking in, as if it’s the most amazing thing he’s ever seen. It’s as if Simon is high.

Photo by Maccabee Montandon
Photo by Maccabee Montandon

While it’s difficult, or really impossible, for me to know exactly what’s going on in his mind, Simon Le Bon Chat often exhibits behavior we commonly associate not with a sober person, but with someone under the influence. Dude trips out. Further proof that he may, in fact, be high on something occurred a few days ago, when I sat down to catch up on the episode of High Maintenance told from the perspective of a dog named Gatsby.

Until that moment, Simon had shown only casual interest in television. While many critics and viewers love to gush about our golden age of TV and of living in the era of #PeakTV, until that episode of the freewheeling, brilliantly stony show about life in contemporary New York City, Simon couldn’t have been bothered to curl up for even a single episode of any show. For the full 22 minutes of the High Maintenance episode, our cat was entirely transfixed. Didn’t look away. Couldn’t look away.

And sure, as at least one colleague of mine has noted, the dog playing Gatsby did give a transcendent performance.

https://twitter.com/tcberman/status/783869452869857280

But can it be pure coincidence that the one episode of any show that Simon has cared about at all occurred in arguably the most weed-friendly program on television?

Whether or not Simon is actually high, there is growing support among pet owners that perhaps he should be high. At least if he ever has to battle a disease or illness. We’ve weighed the pros and cons of giving ailing pets cannabis here before:

In states where medical marijuana is legal, doctors are allowed to recommend the herb to patients. But it remains illegal in all 50 states for veterinarians to do the same. And PETA and the ASPCA do not support cannabis for animals due to this lack of solid data. But anecdotal reports, including mine, suggest that there is a substantial benefit.

There is some evidence that cats respond well to cannabis and other more legally and physiologically complicated drugs. In the 1970s, a professor at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute named Barry Jacobs studied the effects of LSD on cats. In an interview with Vice, Jacobs noted, among other things, that the animals appeared to be having a good time while on the hallucinogenic, which is considered a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

Here’s Jacobs in that interview:

Some of them ran around like crazy people, bounding around. Can I say they were happy? No, I can’t tell about happiness. But they certainly seemed—can I say they enjoyed it? They were really bounding around as opposed to having behaviors that looked fearful—they just didn’t do that. And a lot of them stared for long periods of time.

Ah yes, the staring. I can relate. This brings us back to Simon. I realize it is highly unlikely that Simon is truly high. Neither my wife nor I have seen any evidence that he’s been secretly smoking out or even nibbling edibles.

But there is no denying that much of the time he certainly acts high. And at the end of the day, what’s the difference? At the end of the day—and in the beginning, too—all Simon really wants to do is hang out in the kitchen sink and watch a trippy TV show starring a fluffy dog and a weed delivery guy.

It doesn’t get more high than that.

Posted By: Maccabee Montandon

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