Somebody on social media commented the other day that “All Cats Are Beautiful” was a lazy slogan and self-evidently untrue.
On one level, I can see what they mean. There are overweight cats, cats with one ear, one eye, three legs or other peculiarities which could make the label “beautiful” inappropriate.
But I would point out, in response, that these cats are very much the exceptions which prove the rule.
There is also a philosophical point involved here. When we say that all cats are beautiful, we are using “all” to describe the essence of cat-ness, rather than necessarily the accumulated total of all the individual cats in the world.
There is something about the cat-form which is beautiful in itself, before we get round to assessing the personal qualities that may or may not confirm this.
We could modify our all-embracing statement to pre-empt the exceptions that will inevitably arise, by saying “Cats Tend to be Beautiful” or “Most Cats Are Beautiful”.
But that would be to obscure the basic truth behind our statement.
By provocatively insisting that “all” cats are beautiful, we are deliberately and defiantly directing people’s attention away from the superficial question of varying levels of individual cat-aesthetics towards a deeper underlying truth about what it fundamentally means to be a cat.
So ACAB it is.