dirac

Cats in Charge

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A study shows that your cat controls your relationship, not you, but of course if you own one you already knew that.

McComb suggests that the purr-cry may subtly take advantage of humans' sensitivity to cries they associate with nurturing offspring. Also, including the cry within the purr could make the sound "less harmonic and thus more difficult to habituate to," she said.

McComb got the idea for the study from her experience with her own cat, who would consistently wake her up in the mornings with a very insistent purr. After speaking with other cat owners, she learned that some of their cats also made the same type of call. As a scientist who studies vocal communication in mammals, she decided to investigate the manipulative meow.

My cats wake me up by yelling in my ear, if you call that manipulative. Hurling them off the bed seems to be no deterrent.

I suppose we have to shift this topic to reading in some way. Do you have a favorite literary cat? I nominate Christopher Smart's Jeoffry.

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Do you have a favorite literary cat? I nominate Christopher Smart's Jeoffry.

Dirac, your source skipped these interesting lines--of which there seem to be thousands--from Smart's poem:

...the power of some animal is predominate in every language [and] the spirit of a CAT is in the Greek...

For the sound of a cat is in the most useful proposition KAT' EUXHN...

For the pleasantry of a cat at pranks is in the [Greek] language ten thousand times over...

For the Greek is thrown from heaven and falls upon its feet.

For the Greek when distracted from the lines is sooner restored to rank & rallied into some form than any other...

For the Mouse is a creature of great personal valour.

For the Mouse (Mus) prevails in Latin.

For edi-mus, bibi-mus, vivi-mus--ore-mus...

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My male cat wakes me up by latching on to a lank of my hair with his mouth and pulling. He does "call" to me with a rather pitiful meow when he's downstairs and I'm up and he's feeling left out. Our female will jump up on the table in front of the computer and give me a little adorable kittenish meow. Of course I can't resist that, which she knows very well.

In my experience with both cats and dogs, cats are the more emotionally manipulative creatures. Yes I know, this is a really groundbreaking statement isn't it? :)

Not literary cats per se but definitely companions to a literary giant were Hemingway's cats. He had over 20 of them and they had and still do have free run of his estate in Florida. They're also noted for most of them being polydactyl.

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Do you have a favorite literary cat? I nominate Christopher Smart's Jeoffry.

Dirac, your source skipped these interesting lines--of which there seem to be thousands--from Smart's poem:

Jubilate Agno is full of such lines.

"Let Maaseiah bless with the Drone, who with the appearance of a Bee is neither a soldier nor an artist, neither a swordsman nor smith."

Thank you, PeggyR, cartoons certainly do count, at least in my opinion.

True, perky, Hemingway was a big Cat Guy. Raymond Chandler had a black Persian named Taki, who was photographed with him regularly.

In my experience with both cats and dogs, cats are the more emotionally manipulative creatures.

Dogs, at least our dogs, are much more straightforward, I agree.

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I expect we won't arrive at this

OTH, in another, unrelated forum* this same topic surfaced today, and one of the replies contained some proof that those felines are known users of biological warfare in order to advance their nefarious purposes.

See:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11007336

http://natur.cuni.cz/flegr/publ.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxoplasmosis

*But one that uses the same InvisionBoard software. Curious.

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I suppose we have to shift this topic to reading in some way. Do you have a favorite literary cat? I nominate Christopher Smart's Jeoffry.

The Cat in the Hat, of course! When I was six the only way you could have gotten me to relinquish those books would have been to pry them out of my cold, dead hands. I suspect that they gave me unrealistic expectations regarding one's ability to return things to order after a prolonged bout of chaos, however.

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Oh, of course, 'Cat' in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's', even in the movie, especially because he's really the only thing that works about that messed-up ending--something Hollywood was just not going to do, even though that ruined the film, which is otherwise enchanting.

i alos like, in Mistral's Memoirs, describing one of his Provencal aunts gone a bit mad, who claims to have touched a black cat one time, who said to her 'Vous avez touche ROBERT'. I had a cat for 18 years whose primary name was 'Psyche', but I changed it according to whim, and she had a period in which she was known as 'Robert'. She was DEFINITELY a familiar, so I did not get another one, as is often done, after she died.

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A study shows that your cat controls your relationship, not you, but of course if you own one you already knew that.

dirac, I'm not used to flaws of logic on your part.......is it possible to OWN a cat??

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A study shows that your cat controls your relationship, not you, but of course if you own one you already knew that.

dirac, I'm not used to flaws of logic on your part.......is it possible to OWN a cat??

Oh yes, Sandy, very good, no you can't, that's what those of us who love them love most about them: They love themselves. That's one of the reasons why they're so incredibly beautiful. There are a few reptiles that are hard to 'own' as well, but I prefer those outdoors. There's almost nothing more perfect than a cat, and the smaller wildcats, like servals, are the very prettiest of all, but very rare and they can't even be easily kept, much less owned, by any except by a few professionals.

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A study shows that your cat controls your relationship, not you, but of course if you own one you already knew that.

dirac, I'm not used to flaws of logic on your part.......is it possible to OWN a cat??

Which brings to mind my favorite bumper sticker (a kind of literature): "Dogs have owners; cats have staff."

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She was DEFINITELY a familiar, so I did not get another one, as is often done, after she died.

I felt that way when my elder cat died at the age of twenty, but it seemed no disrespect to her to adopt another, in this instance a stray tomcat who began hanging around and it was either take him to the pound or take him in. He is a large black Persian mix who resembles Chandler’s Taki and he has an obsession with drinking from faucets.

I agree, though, that some animals become true familiars and others one feels less strongly about.

Thanks for that picture, sunday. I always thought it was symbolic that Hitler had a dog. Nobody tyrannizes the tyrant. I certainly can’t imagine the Fuehrer turning on the tap for a cat waiting by the sink.

dirac, I'm not used to flaws of logic on your part.......is it possible to OWN a cat??

You know, I had second thoughts about my phrasing, Sandy, but I decided to let it stand. You, Patrick, and Peggy are correct, you can never really own a cat.

I don't know how I could have forgotten The Cat in the Hat, Kathleen. I still have my old copy somewhere.

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That's one of the reasons why they're so incredibly beautiful.

Indeed they are. We have 4 of them. If one dies, we always seem to get another to bring us back to that magic number of 4. They are constantly entertaining, aren't they? Quite unpredictable really.....in a predictable sort of way.

House cats always remind me of their bigger cousins: the big cats of Africa such as lions. Lions and other large cats are the undisputed "kings of the jungle". They have that status, it seems to me, because they are the most perfect predator on land. They have every tool possible: their eye sight is acute and sensitive; they have incredible stealth; their weapons are unmatched (the sharpest claws and teeth); their quickness is legendary; their balance exquiste*; their sense of smell excellent; their flexibility hard to believe; their patient stalking positively frighting. Whenever I see one of our cats walking toward me, I see a lion. Pump one of them up a 100 fold, and I'd run like hell in fear.

Magnificent!

*sounding a little like our ballerina friends, doesn't it :o

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he has an obsession with drinking from faucets.

you can never really own a cat.

My latest cat (whom I've had for 10 yrs but actually inherited from my niece as a kitten when she started to treat him as a dog, and he ran away) is obsessed with drinking from the faucet. Since he's lived at my parent's house (no pets allowed in my apt.), she has tried numerous ways of breaking the habit (she thinks "it's unsanitary", of course the cat thinks the opposite in its quest for the freshest water):

Get one of those cat "fountain" water dishes. DIDN'T WORK; HE SNIFFED IT BUT HATED THE SOUND OF THE MOTOR--WRONG PURR FREQUENCY?

Turn on the hot water instead of the tepid/cold. HE FORGETS THAT BAD EXPERIENCE AND SOON AFTER IS BACK UP ON THE SINK.

Lock bathroom door, so he can't push it open to entreat you. OF COURSE, HE'LL BE WAITING OUTSIDE THE DOOR TO TRIP YOU AFTERWARDS.

Turn off the lights, leave the bathroom/kitchen, and try to ignore his malevolent or pleading stares from the countertop. IF YOU ARE OLDER, DEAF OR BLIND YOU ARE BETTER ABLE TO DO THIS.

Stuff ears with cotten and try to ignore the "yowls" in the morning from downstairs, or if desperate, outside the door. UNFORTUNATELY I'M A LIGHT SLEEPER AND HE KNOWS IT. (Why I don't sleep over mom's too often.)

(But unfortunately, I'm a "soft-touch" and will succumb to his entreaties sooner than later. Don't tell my mom.)

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I felt that way when my elder cat died at the age of twenty, but it seemed no disrespect to her to adopt another, in this instance a stray tomcat who began hanging around and it was either take him to the pound or take him in. He is a large black Persian mix who resembles Chandler’s Taki and he has an obsession with drinking from faucets.

Oh yes, that's the thing to do. I think it didn't occur to me that I would obviously have another cat that would not be a familiar, and I didn't see how I could go through that again. I had had many cats as a child, and loved all of them, but this one was very different, I decided I really couldn't have that kind of communication with anything but another person after that. It simply didn't occure to me that I wouldn't have had that with another cat. It should have, though, because my neighbour had lost one who was also a familiar and got another one immediately, and he didn't see it as a familiar.

Here's the serval: Now THAT is ballet-style elegance:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serval

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Very early one morning some time ago, I was moving my boxes into my new apartment when a small black cat wandered in the open door, plopped himself down and cocked his head to one side to watch me lug the boxes around. "Yes, yes, this will do very well," he seemed to be saying. Having grown up with a distinct lack of pets in the household, I clearly had no idea what was in store.

Three years, many, many cases of catfood, a litter box, and a couple of boxes of Frontline later, he's still here. He wakes me up and leaves with me when I go to work, and waits on the porch when I come home at night. I'd never really thought too much about familiar companionship, but he is as much of a companion as any human I've known.

Put me down as one who is very unsure of the whole concept of owning a cat. Some might say that cats think they're humans. Others might say that cats think humans are cats. Elvis knows he's a cat, and he knows I'm a human, but I'm sure if you were to ask him, he's say that he found me in the People Pound three years ago and decided to take me as a rescue human. :o

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Being a "cat nut", I've read some books about them. Also being scientifically mined, I get struck by the biologic items. Three such items might be worth sharing:

1. Dogs have been domesticated for about 20,000 years, cats for only 5000 years. Some think this is a partial explanation for the "wildness" that is still noticeable in cats. (Of course dogs are a pack animal and cats are not....so that's there too.)

2. Cats and mankind got into "relationship" because after the start of agriculturally based society, humans encouraged cats to hang around since the cats cropped down the rat/mouse populations that invaded grain storage. Cats agreed since the human granaries concentrated the rodents.

3. Humans breed both cats and dogs for show and as "working" animals. This has created an amazing number of varieties of both. However, no one has been able to breed cats that are significantly larger or smaller than your average cat, whereas dogs, of course, have been bred to be as small as toy dog sized and as large as St Bernard sized. No one, apparently, knows why this is so.

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3. Humans breed both cats and dogs for show and as "working" animals. This has created an amazing number of varieties of both. However, no one has been able to breed cats that are significantly larger or smaller than your average cat, whereas dogs, of course, have been bred to be as small as toy dog sized and as large as St Bernard sized. No one, apparently, knows why this is so.

I suspect cats think they're perfect as is and see no reason to change. :wink:

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I suspect cats think they're perfect as is and see no reason to change.

BINGO!...... :clapping: you made my day!

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However, no one has been able to breed cats that are significantly larger or smaller than your average cat, whereas dogs, of course, have been bred to be as small as toy dog sized and as large as St Bernard sized. No one, apparently, knows why this is so.

Thanks for the data, Sandy. I'm a little surprised that anyone would try. The last thing I need around the house is a bobcat sized kitty.

"Yes, yes, this will do very well," he seemed to be saying.

Mine did something similar. Ambled into the house, looked around as if to say, "Nice place you got here. I might do you a favor and stick around" and sprawled comfortably on a throw rug.

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I'm a little surprised that anyone would try.

Then I suspect you don't know many breeders :wink:. To say they can be obessive about "creating" a new, hot look would be an under statement.

P.S. Seriously, you do raise a good point that never occurred to me.....if one could breed much larger cats, their superior pedator skills and rather unpredictable inclinations (unlike dogs whose inclinations are moderated by including you in their "pack") could surely be dangerous to have around. "Your honor, I just left my cat and son together for a moment."......I won't go any further.

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I'm a little surprised that anyone would try.

Then I suspect you don't know many breeders :wink:. To say they can be obessive about "creating" a new, hot look would be an under statement.

P.S. Seriously, you do raise a good point that never occurred to me.....if one could breed much larger cats, their superior pedator skills and rather unpredictable inclinations (unlike dogs whose inclinations are moderated by including you in their "pack") could surely be dangerous to have around. "Your honor, I just left my cat and son together for a moment."......I won't go any further.

Sandy, there are the 'next size cats' even if they aren't 'breedable' as such from the smaller domesticated kinds of cats. The serval I linked to is a small cat but larger than any domestic cat. There is also the Leopard Cat, these are smaller than servals but just larger than any domestic cat. Then you get up to cheetahs, which despite their speed, suffer huge casualties as prey of lions and/or tigers (I can't remember which or if both, it was on one of George Page's old Nature Series on PBS.) There's still another wild cat that is literally no bigger than the biggest house cats, in India, and it can catch and pull fish right out of the water with its claws. And it works the other way too, therefore; there are a few house-sized wildcats. Small wildcats like Leopard Cats will usually run away if they are kept, though.

As for the fancy breeds, I've been to two cat shows at Madison Square Garden and it truly is a revelation. You see those fantastic hairless Sphinx Cats, and they are lovely, I held one for a minute or two. Many don't care for this kind of extremely stylized animal, but I like all kinds of cats from the commonest to the fanciest, just like I like whippets and salukis, and know many people who don't like these high-strung sorts of dogs. I rarely dislike any cat, but have found some white domestic shorthairs who are very ill-mannered and always bite just for the hell of it, and I've run into a couple of Persians who seem listless and stupid. I guess the 'lethargic cat' is less appealing to me, and that probably includes those grossly overfed ones who never do anything but sleep.

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This is very enjoyable. My first and only cat experience began 12 years ago with the adoption of an 8-week old grey kitten. The new responsibility -- along with my instant fascination with everything Basil did -- led me to numerous cat books of many kinds. I wish I could remember everything I once knew. I put into practice what I needed and put the rest aside.

One thing that stayed with me always: the sense that I would never understand how Basil saw the world and that my role was just to go along with it.

I don't know if Basil was in charge, but he certainly felt that he was. This became clear when we adopted a 2-year old fox terrier mix, Guy. Basil resented Guy's arrival and never, never behaved generously towards him.

Basil developed cancer and died last winter. By the end, the entire house was rearranged for him, so that he could find his way to the counters, to his litter box, and up onto the bed. He was never a cuddler, but seemed to need to be close to us. He purred more often; he talked more often. The last week, he clambered up on the bed for four straight nights and nestled next to me for a while, something he wouldn't have dreamed of doing before. I took this as a great gift.

I miss him on a level I didn't think possible. Guy, on the other hand, is flourishing. Though an old dog now, he's become as perky and demanding as a puppy. One cat's tragedy became one dog's golden opportunity.

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I miss him on a level I didn't think possible.

Thank you Bart for your touching story It moved me and I empathise with your feelings.

From 1992 I had two sisters Katya and Irina. The first, the sweetest natured creature you could imagine constantly affectionate and she is still with me.

Irina was a thug. A bird killer, a dog challenger and she physically attacked me if I had thrown a newspaper at her across the room as she proceeded to climb on the mantleshelf. She would then run out of the room but creep back later and attack me. Fearless she invented the word. However when it came to bedtime she was the first up the stairs and lay pressed up against me all night long. Poor Katya had to keep her distance.

Irina died in February 2007. The pain has eased, but I can say I experienced a powerful sense of loss which lasted for a long time. I also miss my Irina on a level I didn't think possible.

PS

I like to read about the history of breeds arriving in England and tales of intrepid journeys made by cats. My late sister had a cat that walked from Chester to Windsor more than a hundred miles to return to their former home.

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