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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Deductions in Cats

You can't have had eight (outdoor) cats one year and then none at all a few years later, like now, without quite often having to deal with the legacy that dealing with them left engraved in your mind.

For instance, the other day in these fall times when pretty soon we will start hearing sounds of various hot pursuits through the woods,  I started wondering if, back in the day, a far distant day, modern cats of all sizes and kinds had a little knot of common ancestors all in one herd -- a few sister and brother deer who all happened to have born with the same nasty disposition.   Then, one afternoon, they got sick and tired of being chased by dogs all the time, and suddenly, in quick unison, first one, then another, and then all the rest doubled back on their by now far overconfident tormentors, big time, while putting their teeth to a far flashier use than just nibbling greens, after which those several family members with the now reddened teeth got used to the idea of being able to eat without having to look up and around every half-second.

Regularly I turn to evolution sites like Pharyngula and the Panda's Thumb to see what insights they have on a lot of questions, but so far I haven't seen anything relating to this particular one.  Though they always make for interesting reading nevertheless, those sites are too busy twitting the Creationists and the Intelligent Design wackos, when they're not pushing atheism -- a pursuit that will never be anything other than futile, when it's so completely obvious that there's no more proof for the one of those stands than there is for the other.   I mean the kind of proof that has left us completely sold on the idea that blood is red (we can see it), or that thunder is loud (we can hear it), or that boulders are not only heavy but also they're hard (at some point we've all seen what it's like to try to push one all the way up that proverbial hill).

And then, the other day in Detroit, a visitor to the local zoo was found inside the enclosure housing the tigers, and as was expected, he was badly injured.

After a two-day investigation the local police gravely announced that this man could only have entered that tiger pit voluntarily.  Thanks a lot.  How else could it have happened?   I am certain that throwing a man into a tiger pit is down near the very bottom of the enormously long list of ways for humans to terminate one another.

Actually this guy had jumped 17 feet down into the enclosure, his goal being the certainly reasonable one of wanting to share in their tigerness, and it seems that his injuries came more from the hard landing he made than it did from the ferocity of the occupants.

My longtime acquaintance with and study of our once large family of tabby cats has left me certain of two things.  One is that the lions, tigers, leopards, pumas, jaguars, and all the other big cats in the world are nothing more than over-sized editions of the little grays, blacks, and calicos that used to share our premises.  The other is therefore I think I know how cats think, and that much of the time, as with most animals, including humans, it is all a matter of the groceries.

So what happened in Detroit was that when this guy suddenly fell into their midst from above, the tigers at first were startled, and they jumped up and moved aside while they assessed the situation.   Then a little later they eased back over and examined the intruder, and if he later showed any effects of their teeth, it was only accidental and incidental to their investigation.   Finally, being well-fed from other sources, the tigers just gave it up and went on off to nearby vantage spots to resume their rests while watching to see whether anything else would happen next, along with, perhaps, a wish for this interloper to get up and get his behind out of their space.

I am so certain of this conjecture because once I came upon a field mouse that was still alive, and I set it inches away from one or two of our supposedly bloodthirsty tabby cats, only to observe how they merely took it to be a not particularly interesting toy of sorts, worth a nudge or two with a cautious paw but no more, before they wandered on off in search of better things to check out, since it was not yet time for those tall, two-legged jokers to set out the food dish.


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