John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Cat and Mouse Game

Posted on November 11, 2013

Why do cats get all the bad press?

And why does our culture embrace rats and mice?

Think about it.   Mickey Mouse.  Tom and Jerry.  Ratatouille.

Walt Disney started it all.  Mickey Mouse has made the Disney family a lot of money over the years.  Mickey and Minnie, the lovebirds.   Mickey Mouse, hero.   Mickey Mouse, sympathetic, playful creature and leader among anthropomorphic creatures.

But when a mouse scurries under the floorboards, little kids and Moms don’t squeal in delight.  They scream in panic.

Tom is a hapless cat, trying to capture the cunning and brilliant little Jerry.

The story line would probably be deemed inappropriate for kids today, but back in the day (when America could handle some good old fashioned cartoon violence), Tom and Jerry’s battles were epic, with Tom the cat ever winning the day.

But in real life, that’s not how it works.  Cats are the cunning ones, especially when it comes to catching mice.  You get a good cat, and the mice run away.  Or they get eaten.

Which is nice, especially if you are a homeowner.

The movie Ratatouille took this convention to a whole new level by glorifying a rat.

Now, since the spread of the Bubonic Plagues, rats have gotten some pretty bad press, and deservedly so.   Rats spread the plague and they are disgusting, vile creatures.

But that is not how the creators of Ratatouille see it.

Where most people see the rat as public enemy number one, Hollywood sees Remy, a gifted French chef who just happens to be rat.

To be fair, most Parisians in the movie share the common perception that rats are disgusting, but the whole point of the movie is to make rats seem less disgusting and more human.

But that’s not reality.  In reality, rats are disgusting, vile creatures that spread germs and destroy lives.

In reality, cats are not evil, stupid or hapless.  They are great assets, especially if you have a rat or mouse problem.

You have to wonder who in the rat/mouse world had the presence of mind to launch this world-wide PR campaign to promote the rats/mice and run a negative campaign against the cat world.

This is what happens when we are too cool for school.  You get movies like Ratatouille.  And empires like the Mighty Mouse.