For a while I thought it was just me who had a weird fawning obsession with kittens – and cute things in general come to think of it – spending hours on ‘ratemykitten.com‘ and often ending up giving in to the demands of my own kitty who recently developed a laziness that reached new heights, meowing constantly for food but not being bothered to actually get up and walk to it, instead relying on me picking up his limp body and planting his head in his bowl. The thing is, the more I talk to other metal fans, the more I realise how they all love kittens. In fact, I don’t think I’ve met a metal fan who didn’t, though I certainly know of people who are far larger fans of other genres who don’t.
It seems there’s something about kittens that really does invoke our inner darkness, and the more extreme you go the more this seems to hold true. How many music reviewers also write a comic strips about their kitten?1 How many death metallers start up a homeless shelter for abandoned cats found in their local area?2 It’s not a simple interest, it seems to be a genuine love for these bundles of joy that goes beyond any other animal. It wasn’t that long ago that Nate Garnette of Skeletonwitch gave an interview explaining their kitty love, and he did have a point; shitting in a box and then walking off to let everyone else see it is kind of a metal thing to do.3 Before that, ‘Decibel’ magazine did a photoshoot in ’09 with members of Carcass, Brutal Truth and Napalm Death showing off their feline friends.4 The most cat-obsessed person I’ve ever known I met in primary school and guess what he does now? Ok, so they play screamo, but that’s still pretty damn heavy for a small town that only seems to listen to the top 40 and DnB; whose last claim to fame (Enter Shikari) I’d rather pretend never happened. The point is, I’ve never heard someone talk about a dog as affectionately as a metal fan talking about their cat.
Now I’ve been around cats my whole life. There were cats in my parents house long before I was, and there has never not been in all that time. Even my girlfriend has an elderly cat, who on occasion has suckered me into cuddling him on my lap much to my partners annoyance, and there are certain behaviours I can see appealing to the extreme metal persuasion. Their independence; the way they leave you presents, albeit sometimes decimated and unidentifiable presents strewn about the kitchen floor; their inquisitiveness; playfulness; all qualities that seem less prevalent in other common domestic pets. Dogs are stupid. You tell a dog a command and most look at you confused. Cats on the other hand, give you a look like they know exactly what you want them to do and then purposefully won’t do it, because they’re evil like that. And surely that’s what we love so much about them; it’s that evil, disobedient, ‘I don’t give a fuck, I just do what I want (and what I want is to nap)’ streak that ultimately must surely make them the (black) metallers best friend.
All this is perhaps only topped by the humble ferret. If you’ve ever seen what a pen of ferrets looks like; how they have some of the most powerful jaws for their size and are about as strong as a large dogs, designed to tear through flesh, crush bones (a ferret once playfully sunk it’s entire set of canines into my chin and just dangled there whilst I tried to remove him) and are capable of taking down prey far larger than themselves in a bloodthirsty rampage, brutally raping the females over and over; their – again – inquisitive, playful, hyperactive and fearless nature; if you’d ever seen the dearly departed albino ferret, Yuki, whom my family looked after for a year or so (and also where my nickname derives) cling onto
our – sadly again deceased – terrier’s ears and ride him around the living room like a jockey as she yelped in pain; if you’d ever read that story of a ferret who bit off 7 of a babies digits for no apparent reason whatsoever,5 well you’d probably agree. If the inherent evil in cats make them black metal, ferrets are almost definitely death metal, enjoying rape, blood and carnage just because it looks like it might fun.
1 corpsepaintkitty is a side project run by a primarily black metal blogger known as steffmetal)
2 Metal Meowlisha is run by Donald Tardy, drummer for Obituary, along with his wife, Heather.
3 Skeletonwitch Interview
4 Cutest Kitties of Metal
5 Daily Mail News Report