The Petting of Cats, Cats, and More Cats Pertinent to Poundstone's 'Happiness'

Apr 25, 2017

Paula Poundstone records narration for the audiobook version of The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness.
Credit Paula Poundstone

The red Lamborghini did little to improve Paula Poundstone's mood.

She says she was "feeling like a jerk" as she drove it through Los Angeles, a self-inflicted experiment to discover the secret to happiness.

"We live in a world where there's a lot of people who don't have homes," she says. "And who wants to drive by that in a Lamborghini? You know, I don't like walking by it to get on the train. So it just it creates a much more stark reminder of the inequities, you know, the imbalance in in our world. And you know normally I just walk down the street feeling helpless to help people."

She also tried camping, taekwondo, volunteering and other activities as she searched for deep personal satisfaction. Some became habits.

"I started volunteering at a nursing home as a result of writing my book. It was one of my experiments, and I knew I had what I needed for the book after a couple of months of volunteering... so two years later, I still go two mornings a week."

Ultimately, her advice after writing The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness is nothing new: be kind to people, eat right and exercise. But her writing style, just like her standup comedy, makes her stories about self-inflicted experiments gut-bustingly funny. 

And she did discover some weird stuff.

"I took a day to pet the cats," she says.  Considering she has 14 of them, it makes sense she'd need a whole day to wrangle them all. "And boy I was greasy."

So marathon cat petting leaves your hands a bit slimy, even though cats are generally clean. Who knew?

"You never know until you really do it in industrial way," she says.

Catch Paula Poundstone Saturdays at 11 am & Sundays at 6 pm on WUTC's broadcast of Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!


Poundstone will be here in Chattanooga for a live performance at Track 29 on Friday, April 28.