Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty
Nonfiction | Science | Humor
Published by W. W. Norton Company
Released 10 September 2019
Goodreads | Amazon
“We can’t make death fun, but we can make learning about it fun. Death is science and history, art and literature. It bridges every culture and unites the whole of humanity!”
I love the work that Caitlin Doughty does to promote death-positivity. Like many people, I found her via her incredible YouTube channel, Ask a Mortician (which you should definitely go binge-watch after reading this post). Her non-fiction books have been on my radar since the first, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, was published in 2014. I’m baffled that I haven’t read her books yet since, again, I’m a huge fan.
Having recently gotten in the mood to try audiobooks again, I found the audiobook version of Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? on Scribd, narrated by the author herself. I’ll probably buy the physical book and re-read it at some point, but the audiobook is a perfect way to take the information in. Caitlin’s personality shines through so much, and the listening experience is an absolute delight.
Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? is a collection of questions from children about death. The questions are both profound, important, and, in many cases, hilarious. Caitlin’s answers are likewise perfect, relatable, and, well, hilarious. Are you a fan of light, yet very dark, humor? You’ll love this book.
The questions that Doughty answers in this book range from things like “What would happen if I swallow popcorn kernels before I die and then get cremated?” to “What happens to astronaut bodies in space?” My favorite question (and largest disappointment) was her answer to whether it’s okay and possible to have a “Viking” funeral. You know, laying the body on a small boat and having someone epically shoot a flaming arrow at it, and then watching as the body burns away. Not gonna lie – that was pretty much how I wanted my body disposed of upon death. Spoiler: it’s not possible. Whomp whomp.
Although the questions come from children, the book is appropriate for readers of all ages. There were certainly times when I wished that the answers had been longer and explained in more detail, but Doughty has plenty of detailed videos, and two other books, for that. Part of the charm of Will My Cat Eat My Eyeball? is its accessibility. Not everyone wants a ton of detail on decay and funerary practices, so for those people something lighter like this is a great introduction to the topic.
I’m sure there are people that aren’t going to agree with this opinion, but I feel that it’s really important to embrace death and frame it in a positive way. As I mentioned before, that’s something that Caitlin Doughty specializes in, but I want to emphasize it again. I’m unsure if this is true in other countries around the world, but in America, it seems as though people actively avoid thinking about death.
I get it – no one wants to think about something as scary as death. Guess what, though? It’s inevitable. By not growing up in a death-positive environment, it makes grief so much harder to handle. I’m not saying that death will ever be easy because it won’t. Losing the people you love is hard. All I’m saying is that if, as a culture, we become more aware of dying, death, and funeral processes, it would be easier to know what’s ahead of us.
If you’re looking for answers to your burning death questions, Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs is the perfect place to start. Whether you read it physically or listen to the amazing audiobook, you’ll find yourself laughing at Caitlin’s infectious personality and learning about corpse disposal at the same time. Never thought you’d do that, huh?