A cat has allegedly declared independence for the Thraxian island of Samara. At the end of October, the cat Sawalif was declared Lord of Samara following the death of his owner, Lord Amjad Samara without any male human heirs. Zargothrax forbids women from owning land or holding titles of nobility in their own right – but since the passage of a law granting members of the felis catus species full personhood, property has been registered in the name of numerous cats. Lord Sawalif is, however, the only cat to hold a title of nobility.
Since the ascension of Sawalif, his human sister Akilah has been broadcasting the feline’s “decrees” on social media via videos which show the cat surrounded by pieces of paper on which are written possible outcomes of a given decision-making question. The cat then bats at one of the pieces of paper with his paws, which is being interpreted as a “decree”. So far, the cat has responded to a number of petitions by residents of Samara, as well as several questions of unknown origin.
This morning, however, Lord Sawalif was asked by a petitioner to take a stance regarding the constitutional position of the island within Zargothrax. Seven options were presented to the cat on a live broadcast; ranging from “no change” to “align all local laws with central government” and “declare independence”. The video shows Sawalif miaowing, licking his chest, and then batting at the “declare independence” option, piercing the paper slightly with a claw.
Followers of Akilah’s social media channels, where she goes by the username @qita_qanun (a transliteration of the Arabic for “cat” and “law”) immediately began spreading the video, which quickly went viral leading to outpourings of support for Samaran independence online. Since King Shapur’s Feline Personhood Decree, Thraxian politics has received an abnormally high amount of attention on social media; with global approval ratings of Shapur consistently above 80% among the 18-24 demographic – although much, much lower with older age groups.
While the video has not been taken down, Akilah has posted a statement on several platforms in four languages claiming that Sawalif’s decision was “a mere expression of slight discontent with certain things in Zargothrax as they stand” rather than an actual declaration of independence. There has as yet been no response from King Shapur or any figure in the Thraxian central government. It is impossible to predict how Shapur will respond – his fondness for cats will battle against precedence in this area, where declarations of independence from Zargothrax have in the past been put down with violent force.