You’ve logged onto your Social Media, and you see a cat with a prosthetic limb on your Social Media account – aww, it’s so cute!
It’s chasing a toy!
It’s coming down the stairs alone!
Aww – it proves that Anybody can do Anything, just so long as they Never Give Up, right?
You think this kitten is inspirational? All kitten wants to do is crash around at full speed for ten minutes and then have a sleep on your favorite sweater before dropping half his dinner on the kitchen floor and shitting in your shoes, just like any other cat.
©Myst / Adobe Stock
Do disabled inspirational kittens care about your opinion?
I’ve got news for you. That kitten doesn’t give a fuck about your opinion. All kitten wants to do is crash around at full speed for ten minutes and then have a sleep on your favorite sweater before dropping half his dinner on the kitchen floor and shitting in your shoes, just like any other cat.
The difference is that he’s more likely to starve to death if you insist upon putting the food bowls up on a counter because you wouldn’t want to treat him any different to the rest of the litter.
I don’t give a shit about your opinion, either. All I want to do is eat, sleep, fuck and tit about with musical instruments in our band (with an inconvenient side of working for a living). I don’t have to like it that all of those are only achieved through the use of medication, physical aids, gaffer tape, a highly active imagination, and an extremely happy partner – I’m certainly not telling you which acts require which – but if you restrict my access to any of those because you don’t think I should have any ‘special treatment’, I’m going to be hungry, tired, miserable and broke.
Disabled people are not your inspiration
My partner is wonderful for many reasons – but ‘looking after’ me is not one of them. He is not merely settling for a disabled person and, although it might surprise you to learn this, great sex isn’t the sole preserve of the superfit and healthy, so if you proposition him in front of his partner after a gig where they have both played, be aware that saying ‘That’s impossible. She’s disabled’ and continuing to wave your chest in his face is going to cause considerable annoyance. Moreover, your logic is damaging.
So a certain Paralympian wins a medal. Great. Well done. They’re an example of excellence and dedication.
But that ‘proves’ any person can do anything if they remain positive?
Usain Bolt can run faster than anybody else on the planet – if you can’t run as fast as him, it must be that you simply aren’t trying hard enough, then – let’s restrict your access to your workplace by making it only accessible by climbing a rope in darkness, telling you to just get stronger and stop expecting people to mollycoddle you by switching on the lights.
All the positive thoughts and refusing to give up in the world doesn’t stop an immune system identifying your own body as a threat and systematically destroying your joints, your tendons and, if left unchecked, your eyes, lungs or heart. Eating only vegetables harvested by the light of a rainbow and washed in the tears of a mermaid choir will not cure a spinal injury. And not hiding from the world and looking up one-way tickets to Switzerland, but going on to live your life as best as you can does not make a person into a convenient device to make you feel better about your own life and future.
Guess what? Disabled inspirational kittens are just being kittens
That kitten is cute because it’s a kitten. It’s still the same animal with the same desires as when it had all four corners intact. It’s not doing anything remarkable – the vet might have done something remarkable in constructing a tiny prosthetic, but the kitten is just being a kitten.
I’m an asshole because I’m an asshole. I was before I got ill and I will remain one throughout the rest of my life and my disease progression – the difference is that I am more likely to be an asshole towards you if you make simpering and patronizing comments about how, if a cute kitty can be happy, I shouldn’t get pissed about systemic exclusion and the patronizing, paternalistic attitudes displayed towards disabled people where expecting more than a pat on the head, and to be told ‘oooh, you’re so brave and inspirational,’ is akin to telling me ‘I’m so glad you’re here, because I feel sooo much better knowing that your life is shit because of our inability to think beyond our own needs, but you know your place and just keep on smiling’.
Inspirational? You can Fuck. Right. Off.