Esther Chatul is not your typical MSU Presidential candidate. Despite having more likes on Facebook than two of the candidates in the running this year, she is not on your presidential ballot. This is not because she doesn’t have a platform, but because of blatant speciesism. Esther Chatul, to put it simply, is a cat.
In The Silhouette’s one-on-one interview with Esther, we learned a lot about the feline behind the non-human equity movement sweeping the campus. For an animal so vocal on social media, Esther is incredibly quiet and shy in person, burying herself in the lap of her human assistant. Perhaps this is because the five-year-old domestic long hair has had a rough upbringing. She has half a tail after an accident early in her life, and has been through three foster homes before finally being adopted from Pride Rescue by her current owner.
Her owner, Sophie Geffros, helps run Esther’s social media accounts, and translated Esther’s meows into English during the interview. Esther’s human assistants are very committed to the cause, helping her with day-to-day life, and doing everything from taking Esther on the bus to scooping litter boxes. After all, not having opposable thumbs in a world for people with opposable thumbs is very difficult. “We raise her voice, because there’s nothing wrong with being a cat. It’s not that she is any less of a qualified candidate than any of the human candidates. It’s that the world is simply not built to accommodate cats,” said Esther’s human assistants.
Esther’s troubled past, however, has not deterred her from pursuing the presidency. Her ambitious platform includes leveling the entire campus to make it accessible. On this controversial platform point, Esther purrs, “The one thing we don’t know is just where the [expletive] we’ll have classes. It’ll be very difficult to accomplish, but definitely worth it once it happens. It’s sort of like building another student centre that you swear is totally going to get done.”
While her opponents have pigeonholed Esther as solely fighting for non-humans, this is not true. Another pillar of Esther’s campaign is to close the demon portal in the basement of KTH to protect humans who have classes there. Cats can see the demons, but cannot be affected by them. “It’s a bit of a tricky situation where the only animals who can blow the whistle are not in fact the victims of the situation. So it’s really important for me to speak up in these situations. I believe very strongly in responsible whistle blowing. [Upon learning about the demons], students became very distressed so I decided to include providing services for survivors of the demon portal in my platform. I believe in demon portal survivors.”
Esther’s critics have also drawn attention to the fact that the feline inclines to use profane language on Twitter. In response to these criticisms, Esther pawed angrily, “It is inappropriate for people in positions of privilege to tone police me. When you are not in a position of privilege it is your right to make your voice heard in whatever way you can. Before I started using more profane language, I simply wasn’t being heard. It’s unfortunate that it took that much for people to recognize my concerns as legitimate.”
Esther struts with the compassion of an animal who has experienced injustice borne from being a cat in a world made for people. She also has the strength and aggression borne from being a cat. Esther Chatul may not have claws, but her “claws” are out in the fight against injustice.
In her words…
Most ambitious platform point
Sandwich she would make you
Tuna & gravy
Candidate platform you are critical of
Devante’s washroom improvements
“The fact that people can continue to ignore the need for gender neutral litter boxes is very distressing.”
For or against VP Referendum
Opponent you would vote for
“She actively recognized non-human equity.”
Photo Credit: Jason Woo/Lifestyle Editor