This morning started out like any other morning. I was half awake, in my pajamas, outside feeding the rabbits and chickens. And then my husband shouted from the garage door “There’s an opossum in the cat food!”
It was suddenly not an ordinary day, and I was very awake.
Turns out a very young opossum had gotten into our garage and into the cat food bag. The cat and dog food bags are stored in an aluminum trash can with a tight fitting lid, but it must not have been put on correctly last night. It happens; I’m just glad hubby looked into the bag before reaching in.
The ‘possum wasn’t going anywhere, so hubby went inside to put on something more substantial than pajamas. I got the pitchfork and decided to make sure THIS opossum never graduated to eating my chicken’s eggs – but hubby had other ideas.
What is your cat’s real name? Do you know? No, you probably don’t know. Although this post features my cats it is not solely about cats’ names. It is about animals. All animals.
My wife and I have three cats.
Two of our cats get along fairly well: Mawey and Beannacht.
Two of our cats get along okay-ish: Beannacht and Thumb Cat.
Two of our cats do not get along: Thumb Cat and Mawey.
I notice their distinct personalities and quirky interactions on a daily basis. I have tried a few different things to get Thumb Cat and Mawey to get along better. And then one day my wife and I saw a show called “My Cat From Hell,” which features a cat whisperer. I realize this man is on a reality show where nothing is “really” real. But there are enough aspects of reality to this show that made me realize how much fear, anger, and personality cats can have. This cat whisperer’s gig is that he goes to a home with a “cat from hell” and within a few weeks of therapy/training with the cat, he can turn the hell cat into a cool kitten.
So this show has made me want to redouble my efforts with Thumb Cat and Mawey. Thumb Cat is nearly four pounds bigger than Mawey, but Mawey pounces on nearly everything. In addition, Thumb Cat runs from cats half his size when they come to the window. So one cat is too rough, and the other cat is a scaredy cat. Well, if cats are so distinctive in personality, what are their real names?
When you notice a cat in profound meditation The reason, I tell you, is always the same: His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation Of the thought Of the thought Of the thought Of his name
I began thinking about this because of a story that again made news recently about dolphins calling each other by name. Dolphins are very intelligent. It is easy for many people to think about dolphins as a living creature that deserves respect. For many people it is equally easy to think of cats as complex creatures. And wolves. Wolves are animals that have hierarchy within the pack, notably having an alpha and omega wolf. This implies intense interpersonal interactions and respect within the wolf pack.
Do wolves call each other by name? Do cats and dogs call each other by name? It is easy to treat an “animal” as something less than human because animals are a lesser species. Dumb animals. Except that cats have very distinct personalities. And wolves have very distinct hierarchies in their packs. And dolphins call each other by name.
Do you see where this is going? How many “lesser species” are so advanced that they might be calling each other by name? It would not surprise me to discover that cats call each other by name. It would not surprise me to discover that my Thumb Cat has some unflattering nicknames for my Mawey.
I just think people would treat their pets and other animals with a different level of respect if they considered, for a moment, that those animals may have individual names… even if we don’t know those names.
One of my friends said her cows “moo” loudly at night for a week or two after the baby calves are taken away. She said it’s because the momma cows are calling for their babies. Well… did the momma cows’ babies have names?
My cats are crazy! I feed them well. They have a great quality food. And what do I catch them doing?
They jump up on the stove and eat the bowl of peas I had left there. Peas. PEAS! Aren’t cats supposed to be carnivores? Don’t they like meat? Not mine! Apparantly I have my whole family so well trained that even the cats eat their vegetables! They were there calmly taking turns, even licking the bottom when they were finished.
But they’re not perfectly trained. No cat can ever be. When I left the kitchen to upload the cute photo, they knocked the glass bowl off the stove and onto the stone floor. No more bowl. Silly me, I should have known better! But it’s still a cute photo. I’ve never gotten a snap of my cats eating vegetables before.
French people might enjoy horse meat every now and again, but the British, as a rule, do not. Nor do the Irish. And they certainly do not enjoy the idea that their juicy cow hamburger is actually a juicy horseburger. But when the Food Safety Authority of Ireland tested a bunch of burgers for DNA contents, it found not only traces of pig DNA in a bunch of cowburgers, but burgers that were 29 percent horse meat.
No one’s sure quite how this happened. The pig DNA’s easy to explain: Pork and beef get processed in the same facility, and some pig particles sneak into the beef. But the horse meat? Ireland’s agriculture minister said that at one processor in Northern Ireland, “an imported additive used to make the burger” had horse meat in it. (Sounds a little pink slimy to us.)