J.J. Rousseau and Cats

“L’homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers. Tel se croit le maître des autres, qui ne laisse pas d’être plus esclave qu’eux.”

Du contrat social (1762) – Jean-Jacques Rousseau né le 28 juin 1712 et mort en 1778

Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. Those who think themselves the masters of others are indeed greater slaves than they.”

The Social Contract (1762) . Jean-Jacques Rousseau, born on 28 June 1712 and died in 1778.

The title page of the first edition of this book features the image of Justice accompanied by a cat. Rousseau loved cats

In one of his conversations with James Boswell who was travelling around the continent in his Grand Tour, on 15 December 1764, Rousseau asked him:
‘‘Do you like cats?”
“No,” was the answer
“I was sure of that. It is my test of character. There you have the despotic instinct of men. They do not like cats because the cat is free and will never consent to become a slave. He will do nothing to your order, as the other animals do.”
“Nor a hen, either,” Boswell objected.
“A hen would obey your orders if you could make her understand them,” the philosopher rejoined, “but a cat will understand you perfectly and not obey them.”

“L’uomo è nato libero e ovunque si trova in catene. Anche chi si crede il padrone degli altri non è meno schiavo di loro”.

Il contratto sociale (1762) di Jean-Jacques Rousseau – nato il 28 giugno 1712 e morto nel 1778.

Sul frontespizio della prima edizione del libro è rappresentata la Giustizia accompagnata da un gatto. Rousseau amava i gatti
In una delle sue conversazioni con James Boswell, un giovane scozzese che stava viaggiando per il continente nel suo Grand Tour, il 15 dicembre 1764, Rousseau gli chiese:
”Vi piacciono i gatti?”
“No”, fu la risposta
“Ne ero sicuro. È la mia verifica del carattere. In questo avete l’istinto dispotico degli uomini. Non amano i gatti perché il gatto è libero e non si adatterà mai a diventare schiavo. Non fa nulla su vostro ordine, come fanno gli altri animali.”
“Nemmeno una gallina lo fa”, obiettò Boswell.
“Una gallina vi obbedirebbe se riusciste a farvi capire”, ribatté il filosofo, “ma un gatto vi capisce perfettamente e non vi obbedisce”.

79 thoughts on “J.J. Rousseau and Cats

  1. Thank you, Luisa, for your unusual and amusing information! Dr Samuel Johnson loved his cat and there is his statue in London, the cat that is, and it was “a very fine cat indeed .”

    Joanna

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Fantastic article on J.J. Rousseau! I loved his explanation on his fondness for cats and he is still right. I love cats too. They are very cute, highly intelligent creatures. Wow. Rousseau was so wise. And you, dear Luisa, are doing a wonderful job. Enjoy reading your blogs. 😊😊😊 ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Luisa ! Again you have chosen a Political Philosopher of my choice . Jean Jacques Rousseau , a French thinker , who developed ‘ The Social Contract ‘ theory of the origin of the state propounded by Hobbes and Locke . But theory of General Good has been propounded by Rousseau himself . That it was for the General Good that , according to Rousseau , contract between the people was done to form the state ; so that people could be got out of the state of nature . But Rousseau in his book ‘ The Social Contract ‘ published in 1762 has written , ‘ Man is born free ; and everywhere he is in chains .’ That man is born free but he is in chains due rules and regulations framed by the state as such . Actually this was the self-imposed chains of state created by the contract between the people for coming out of the state of nature . Thanks Luisa for introducing such a great genius who changed the political scenario of France . Equality , Liberty and Justice — all political slogans emerged out this theory called ‘The Social Contract’ as such . Moreover, Luisa very few people know about Emile a book written by Rousseau. It was a book on Education . Thanks again !

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I reckon despite being entirely allergic to them, to the extent of knowing one was in a room and left a hair on a carpet years ago, . I am prob a cat….. But yes this quote is epic.

        Like

  4. “un gatto vi capisce perfettamente e non vi obbedisce”
    Haha, dipende.
    Certamente sono spiriti liberi ed anarchici, ma un po’ obbediscono anche loro.
    Oppure sono molto bravi a farcelo credere.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. C’è un abisso tra gli uomini (maschi) che amano i gatti e quelli che non li amano. Comunque posso dire che i miei gatti mi hanno addomesticato perfettamente e sono sempre felice di obbedire. sono proprio bravi🤗🤗🤗.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I had a dog but after he’s gone I pretty much didn’t feel like taking in any as none can replace him for me, cats we have lots of stray cats around. Would love to see pictures of your dog someday. 😊

        Like

  6. Favoloso e vero questo dire di Rousseau, i gatti sanno essere una meravigliosa realtà senza mai perdere di vista la loro indipendenza❣❣❣ Buon proseguimento di serata cara Luisa 😘🥰

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Non possiedo gatti ma alcuni di quelli dei vicini, liberi di andare dove vogliono, mi hanno adottato e quando vogliono una coccola mi vengono a trovare. Altri sono inavvicinabili.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s