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Cats in Charge


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#16 papeetepatrick

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 09:30 PM

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 Chandlerís 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

#17 sidwich

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 10:15 PM

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

#18 SandyMcKean

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 08:50 AM

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.

#19 PeggyR

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 06:06 PM

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:

#20 SandyMcKean

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 12:05 PM

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

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

#21 dirac

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 12:50 PM

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.

#22 SandyMcKean

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 03:35 PM

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.

#23 papeetepatrick

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 04:18 PM

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.

#24 bart

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 04:19 PM

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.

#25 leonid

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 02:52 AM

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.

#26 bart

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 06:06 AM

She would then run out of the room but creep back later and attack me.

One of the bonds between cats and humans may indeed by a shared ability to hold resentments.

leonid, I like Irina already! Basil would express his annoyance at something I had done by by going to the dog, often (as with Irina) after letting some time go by, and swatting HIM.

#27 leonid

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 09:13 AM

She would then run out of the room but creep back later and attack me.

One of the bonds between cats and humans may indeed by a shared ability to hold resentments.

leonid, I like Irina already! Basil would express his annoyance at something I had done by by going to the dog, often (as with Irina) after leeting some time go by, and swatting HIM.


Oh! Not resentment it was just asserting that she was in charge not me.

Basil sounds like my cat Irina who would also take a scolding out on poor innocent Katya.

I am fond of the cat poems I have known since childhood especially Wordsworth's The Kitten and the Falling Leaves and T.S. Elliot's, Macavity The Mystery Cat even though they come back to me through painful memories of having to struggle to memorise them for a family party piece.

#28 SandyMcKean

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 11:27 AM

Sandy, there are the 'next size cats' even if they aren't 'breedable' as such from the smaller domesticated kinds of cats

My comment about breeders not being able to breed significantly larger or smaller cats was just that....BREEDING. Naturally there are animals from the cat family as large as lions and as small as ????. Which makes it even more curious that breeders of domestic cats haven't been able to significantly change overall body size.

#29 SandyMcKean

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 11:30 AM

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :P :thumbsup: :huh:

It just struck me........you don't suppose a charactertistic of a balletomane is that s/he loves cats, do you?? (Think Balanchine)

#30 carbro

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 12:16 PM

For some reason, I'd been reading the headline of this thread as "Cats in Charge [of humans]," but today I had a flashback.

When I was about 11, my friend's cat had a litter, and I took one of the kittens home, where our dalmation, Pebbles, instantly assumed the motherly role. Living as we did in the suburbs, our animals were free to enter and leave the house at will. One day when both of our quadrupeds were in the yard, a neighborhood dog started to run aggressively towards the cat. Pebbles ran between the two in an effort to protect the cat (Jungle), who in turn stepped between the stranger and Pebbles, arched her back and hissed ferociously, which was plenty to send the other dog to retreat.

"Don't sweat it, Pebs," she seemed to be saying. "I can take care of this little matter myself."


OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :huh: :unsure: :huh:

It just struck me........you don't suppose a charactertistic of a balletomane is that s/he loves cats, do you?? (Think Balanchine)

No question. In fact, when I was trying to fix on a birthday date for the dog of my adult life, that influenced the choice of date.

I found Loretta in November, and two different vets estimated her age to be four months old. That would put her birth sometime around July. So, I figured, give her Bastille Day as a birthday.

A friend who was both an animal lover and ballet lover, suggested that my dog, Loretta, was a Leo, then proceeded to point out how many Balanchine ballerinas were also Leos -- Kent, Farrell, Adams, etc., etc. Close observation of Loretta revealed many Leo-like qualities (not least of which was her obsession with cats). So I changed her birthday to July 26, since so many of my close relatives share the 26 date.


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