Ayn Rand

Catlas Shrugged: Ayn Rand Believed in the Objective Value of Cats; House-Training Them, Not So Much.


Todd Krainin

Ayn Rand on the objective (Objectivist?) value of cats, in a 1966 letter to the editors of Cat Fancy magazine.

Dear Miss Smith,

You ask whether I own cats or simply enjoy them, or both. The answer is: both. I love cats in general and own two in particular.

You ask: "We are assuming that you have an interest in cats, or was your subscription strictly objective?" My subscription was strictly objective because I have an interest in cats. I can demonstrate objectively that cats are of a great value, and the carter issue of Cat Fancy magazine can serve as part of the evidence. ("Objective" does not mean "disinterested" or indifferent; it means corresponding to the facts of reality and applies both to knowledge and to values.)

I subscribed to Cat Fancy primarily for the sake of the picture, and found the charter issue very interesting and enjoyable.

Via A. Barton Hinkle's Twitter feed and Business Insider.

Readers of Anne Heller's excellent Ayn Rand and the World She Made know not only of Miss Rand's predilection for felines but her apparent unwillingness to housetrain successfully. A Random House employee who visited Rand and her husband Frank O'Connor's apartment in New York reported that the couple's "unneutered male cat Frisco" had run of the joint, scratching furniture and "emitting a foul-smelling spray on furniture ands rugs. The stench was terrible and permanent."

Check out Reason TV's Ayn Rand playlist, featuring nearly 20 vids about the life and legacy of the author of Atlas Shrugged.

NEXT: Jim Epstein on the Slow and Glorious Death of America's Worst School System

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. At least she didn’t let squirrels run wild all over her Web site.

  2. Yeah, that had to smell wonderful.

    1. Three packs a day is pretty devastating to the sense of smell.

  3. Wow – did I trip and land in a #RedEye episode?

    Where’s TEEVEE’s Andy Levy??!!

  4. A Random House employee who visited Rand and her husband Frank O’Connor’s apartment in New York reported that the couple’s “unneutered male cat Frisco” had run of the joint, scratching furniture and “emitting a foul-smelling spray on furniture ands rugs. The stench was terrible and permanent.”

    She was from Russia, so I’m sure she grew up with worse. I guess you could say her husband was pussy-whipped.

  5. KITTIES!!!!

    That said, a cat who still has his balls is not someone you want to live in your house full-time.

  6. So she was a crazy cat lady?

  7. So Ayn Rand was a crazy cat lady. Expect to see this start to pop up in criticisms of her.

  8. Also, Jesse Walker pointed out that another letter she wrote was arguably funnier and more absurd

  9. She was framed. The cat involved was later demonstrated to be a whim-worshipper, with a subconscious desire to tarnish Rand.

  10. So, she was a crazy Cat Lady. As I suspected…

  11. Is this a case of revealed preference? I think pet ownership is a charitable action (assuming you take care of your critters). THE GAME IS UP, MS. RAND!

    1. It’s more of a case of mutual exchange.

      I feed you = I get to lock you in my domicile and amuse myself with your antics.

      If I grabbed some blonde girl off the street and imposed the same bargain, no one would claim I was engaging in an act of charity.

      1. Doh, I’ll be right back, got to let somebody out of the hidden room in my basement… never mind, nothing to see here move along…

  12. I cannot tolerate people who refuse to properly train their animals or husbands. This invalidates her philosophy and entire body of work. *dumps The Fountainhead in trash can*

  13. So did she live in one of those Bill de Blasio subsidized affordable housing projects? DID SHE?!?!?!


  14. “Legislators in Colorado, Louisiana and Missouri recently approved “Right to Try” legislation, and Arizona voters will vote on the measure this November. “Right to Try” is an initiative designed by the Goldwater Institute. It would give terminal patients access to investigational drugs that have completed basic safety testing. Under a doctor’s supervision, people would be given the chance to try promising experimental drugs before they’re given final FDA approval.”


    1. Excellent news.

  15. I re-watched one of her Donahue appearances again and wondered why she kept going back. At the end she said she really liked him and considered him a worthy adversary. It is a shame that the Donahues went away to be replaced by the Morton Downey Jr’s.


  16. I wonder if all the.new.handles I.saw posting earlier have something to do with the lack of links and squirrel problems.

  17. Reality leaves SoLibs sputteringly indignant:


    1. From the comments:

      “Data can easily be manipulated and distorted to support/justify particular causes. If anything, this article demonstrates the failure to differentiate between correlation and causation, a very basic concept for anyone in research and analysis”

      Was he talking about AGW?

  18. Un-neutered male cats are VERY difficult to train to not “spray”. It is what they do, as male un-neutered cats. Even people who intentionally breed cats as a business banish the male stud cats to a separate building, or a room that can be thoroughly hosed down periodically (empty of the cat while hosing, of course).

    1. It’s funny, Warty is exactly the same way.

  19. I can demonstrate objectively that cats are of a great value, and the carter issue of Cat Fancy magazine can serve as part of the evidence.


  20. I can haz cheeseburger, because I FUCKING EARNED IT!

    1. Well played, Alan.

  21. Also, it looks like Ayn wasn’t the only one swinging a big dick around her apartment. And husband Frank, definitely pussy-whipped.

    1. Are you sure Nathaniel Branden isn’t boinking your SO while you post?

  22. You know who else read Cat Fancy?

    1. Batman?

      1. Actually the answer I was looking for was Warrick Dunn

  23. No PM links? I smell a conspiracy. Either it’s the giant shape-shifting space lizards or Blofeld’s Cat.

    1. Not us player. Blame the fucking sqlrs


  25. House training a cat?

    It’s not very difficult.

    Step 1) Procure a litter box and pour fresh litter in it.

    Step 2) Put the cat in the litter box so it knows where the litter box is and that is has kitty litter inside it.

    Now, having an un-neutered male running around your house is a different story. House training such a male is not possible.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.