So my daughter and I are heading to Watsonville to see the Friday 3:00 showing of Cats and Dogs – The Revenge of Kitty Galore – when she asks a most unusual question.
“Do squirrels have feelings?”
“What do you mean by do they have feelings?”
“I mean, do they get sad.”
“Well squirrels don’t really get happy or sad the way we think of it. They can feel stressed or relaxed and that will affect their mood. If one of their friends should suddenly die in front of them I assume they would feel a bit of loss. I would also assume if they found a bunch of nuts they would feel excitement. But squirrels can’t feel the same depth of emotions that we do. Like a squirrel won’t feel sad because another squirrel is making fun of it. They can’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. They don’t have regrets and they don’t care if you’re their friend are not. So you really can’t hurt a squirrel ‘s feelings.”
“Well, then I want to be a squirrel. That way when people make fun of me I won’t feel sad.”
So when we get home I tell my partner the story.
“That makes sense actually. We were in Scott’s valley at this park where the “wild’ squirrels were really tame. They’d come right up and eat food from your hand. She played with them for a long time and really liked it.”
“Ahhh, I can see how that would seem like an ideal life. Her question makes a lot more sense now.”