Well, now, let us count the ways:
1. A particular leader, in this case a fanged, furry psychopath to whom I shall refer as FFS, has absolute authority without accountability. (Yes, I know that “psychopath” starts with a P and not with an S, but it still has the S sound. And, somehow, I think FFS is a very appropriate acronym for my cat, Louis Catorze.)
2. FFS is right at all times.
3. FFS dictates all aspects of our life in great detail, including the parts when we are not here; if we absent ourselves, we have to ensure that another devotee is able to take over our duties.
4. FFS requires displays of behaviour which outsiders might find deviant. Does this include, erm, welcoming pilgrims from all around the world and making them sign a book? (I’m not joking. This actually happens.)
5. Devotees are monitored to ensure that we are following the rules. This monitoring includes screaming, creepy-staring and sleep deprivation, and sometimes we are forced to witness the ritual sacrifice of another living being as a polite reminder not to transgress.
6. Methods of control are used to ensure that devotees don’t go off-piste (see previous point).
7. A membership fee is required in order to remain in the good books of the FFS; in our case, this is free food, free board, free medical care, and a standing order into a savings account owned by the FFS.
8. Records exist which document the nefarious ways of the FFS, including his abuses of devotees. If you want to understand the extent of the full horror, look here.
If you thought you led a secular life but found yourself nodding along to much of the above, perhaps you, too, are under the spell of a FFS (or at least a FS)?
What do you mean, I’ve “just described a cult and not a religion”? That would suggest that cats are narcissistic, controlling individuals who exploit our weaknesses …
Oh. Never mind.