where he feels, for the moment, that he truly does belong.
Each group within the autobiography has a strong sense of status quo and its own identity, and it is unusual for an animal to cross species boundaries. Ponto and Murr are exceptions, however. They mediate between various societies and realize some benefits; this is particularly true in Ponto's case, because of his street wisdom. Murr, however, lacks the practical sense of his canine friend, and therefore the feline must pay a price in being excluded and snubbed. Like other Romantic artist types (such as Werther and Kreisler), his extreme subjectivity makes many social interactions embarrassing and painful.
As a sociological phenomenon, the cat Murr demonstrates the impenetrability of the boundaries which societies establish, as he experiences clannishness and chauvinism both from inside and outside of these boundaries. Hoffmann's novel amusingly depicts important characteristics of human social structure from the standpoint of the pets which we keep. But the Romantic author also shows the pets in their own right, as they form competitive groups in close contact with one another and struggling for survival. While the parallels to and the satires upon human society are plentiful and obvious, Hoffmann convinces the reader that the animals truly are dogs and cats, who build social units with their own definitions of "them" and "us." 5