When it comes to life, consciousness, and existence, only two things are certain: death and taxes. (Actually, you can wiggle free of taxes if you're tricky with the paperwork, so that just leaves death.) Cat's Cradle's focus on life centers on death, which makes more sense than it sounds like it should. In fact, this novel is what's known in the biz as a memento mori. Memento mori is a Latin phrase that translates, roughly, to "Remember, you will die." Cheery, no? Cat's Cradle reminds us often that we will die, sometimes in tragic, meaningless ways. But in reminding us that we are going to die, the novel also reminds us that before said death we can still appreciate beauty, whether it's art or a group of people with whom to share the time we have. So … yay?
Science, art, and religion all become tools of death in Cat's Cradle. The novel's solution for these obscene uses of each is a humanist outlook on life.
Art cannot prevent death, obviously. But Cat's Cradle suggests that it does have the ability to lessen the fear and pain associated with death—and life for that matter.