Here There Be…Cats

Back when the earth used to be flat, you were advised not to sail past a certain point lest you fall off, but fortunately before you got there you would reach the point on the map which said, “Here There Be Dragons”.  I think most people turned back before they ever got to the dragons.  I certainly would have. 

Unfortunately, cats are not nearly as avoidable.  I don’t do a whole lot of hating (although Sarah Palin is a severe test for me), but I verge on hating people who hate cats.  If you’re a cat hater, you need to have a really good excuse, and it can’t be mythological.  Even my sister, who is wildly allergic to them, doesn’t hate cats.  She also is not fond of their chipmunk-killing tendencies, but she still doesn’t hate them.  She admires them a bit, I think, from afar. 

I have serious issues with people who say that cats aren’t smart, or trainable, or affectionate.  Like I said, mythology not allowed. 

The people who really amaze me are those who are scared of cats.  I have an employee who has to go once a month to her landlord to pay the rent (my guess is:  in cash.  Let’s not tell the IRS.)  The landlord has a cat, which my employee swears “jumped out” at her once.  Must be a watchcat.  Now when she pays the rent, she stands on the street and calls the landlord on her cell phone to say, come get the money.  This is a woman who has a pit bull for a pet.  Go figure.   

Which brings me to horses.  Where there be horses in barns, there be barn cats.  And why, I’d like to know, is that?  I can’t claim to know much about horses.  I can’t even name the parts of a horse.  Wait…hoof.  Isn’t that a horse part?  Fakesister is the horse expert in this family (and knows enough for several other families as well) and she says you have to understand horses in the context of their history as prey animals.  The slightest twig on the ground may create panic.  You know–Here There Be Boa Constrictors. 

So horses, barn cats.  Prey, predator.  Why does that work? Maybe you think cats are attracted to the relative warmth of a structure like a barn.  Here’s my theory.  While we may not be capable of communicating with either horses or cats, I think they understand each other well.  The horses say, look, I’ll put up with your barbarian habits as long as you protect me from…oh EEK!  There’s a mouse!


5 responses to “Here There Be…Cats

  1. The pairing between barns and cats has nothing to do with the livestock (horses, cows, goats, sheep, llamas, etc) and everything to do with the humans wanting to protect their stores of grains from the depredations of rats and mice. Building a rat-proof storage crib is doable in these modern days but there is still spillage between the storage site and the usage site creating an attractive nuisance.

    And then there’s Spot who needs a personal attendant to clean up what he spreads around while pretending to chew it up.

    Plenty of other creatures want this bounty: birds, possums, raccoons, among others. Possums are particularly unwelcome in horse-country because they are carriers of Sarcocystis neurona, a parasite that causes Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis aka EPM. EPM is hard to treat successfully since it hides out in the central nervous system.

    PS Please tell Stormy that Lulu is now enjoying her gift.

  2. I was about to ask what Stormy gave Lulu. A half-dead lizard? (A completely dead lizard is not much of a gift.) Then I remembered that you got a toy for Stormy that we had to decline to accept (okay, Stormy didn’t decline it, but I did on her behalf) since toys in the Fakename household are verboten.
    Who knew that possums were that dangerous? I had no idea.

  3. We in the Fakesister household have personal experience with the fact that if you are bitten by a possum, the medical authorities are not the least bit worried about your long-term future. But the emergency room visit to experience this dis-interest is gonna cost you!

  4. masteroftheuniverse

    I like both dogs and cats equally. The difference between dogs and cats is that dogs have owners and cats have staff.

    I’m planning on getting a Maine Coon as soon as I find one I get along with.

  5. I always thought it would be neat to own a Maine Coon. You went up a notch in my estimation Jeff: man who likes cats.
    Fakesister: I can’t picture a cat killing a possum. Maybe the smell of cats deters them? Unless backed into a corner, cats are brave only if the opponent can be held in the mouth in one piece.

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