How and why were cats ever domesticated? I can see the case for dogs, they’re useful. But cats are too small to pull a sled. They can’t be used to herd sheep or any type of livestock bigger than a chicken. Nobody herds chickens anyway. You can’t take a cat hunting. Fire a shotgun one time and it’ll bolt. Scaredy-cat! They will hunt mice, in which case it’ll leave the headless carcass on your pillow as a trophy. And forget about protection, should an intruder break in you’ll find the cat made it under the bed to hide well before you did.
Basically what we get from cats is a purring ball of warm fur to sit on our lap and not much more. Oh, they entertain us chasing string and things, but we’re at their beck and call for the most part. I admit they are self-cleaning and have tidy bathroom habits, but we have to clean their toilets. This preening and fussing over their fur comes at a price when they cough up fur balls, which for some reason they prefer to do on carpeting rather than any wipeable flooring surface. Their razor-like claws can penetrate any upholstered furniture, or pant leg, with unfortunate results.
So, why do we put up with cats? I guess it’s really more that cats put up with us. And why wouldn’t they? Cats get a good deal out if it. Without asking much in return we feed them and give them a warm place to sleep. Now sleeping is the one thing cats are really good for, they seem to do it 80% of the time. Which rather belies the whole idea of a catnap being a short siesta rather than almost a lifestyle.
Why do so many folks automatically call cats “she”? Is there something particularly female about all the above that people consider feminine traits? I also want to know where the phrase “cat’s pajamas” came from. Have cats ever worn pajamas? Trying to put any kind of clothing on a cat is an invitation to permanent scarring on your hands and arms. Don’t get me wrong, I’m partial to cats. But I don’t expect any useful work from them. Though one cat I had caught a bat flying around the living room one night. So I guess they’re not totally useless.
Cat-alog of invented cat terms
assterisk: the asterisk-like bit of anatomy aft of a cat’s tail. (Very noticeable on a black cat. I think you know what I mean.)
catscance: the squint-eyed glare a cat gives you without lifting its head as you walk by disturbing an obviously important nap.
cattitude: the disposition of cats wherein they totally ignore you if it doesn’t fit their needs at the moment.
cats-pause: the sudden stop to lick itself a cat makes while trotting towards you, often as you stand holding open the door in your underwear to let it in.
defurment: a tuft of fur sticking out of a cat’s coat attached to a scab, usually from cat fights.
felintuition: the ability in cats to perceive and stare at things we can’t observe are even there at all.
flur: the fur cloud that wafts into the air when you pet a shedding cat.
flur glove: the coating of cat fur sticking to your hand after petting a shedding cat.
furworks: the series of static sparks, like little fireworks, created when petting a cat.
gag gift: something the cat dragged in, like a dead mouse, usually half eaten and slimey, which is left for you to admire.
kitty littering: what’s left of something after a cat is done "playing" with it a bit too vigorously.
me-ouch: the vocal sound a cat makes when it lands jumping down from a high perch.
puss-s-st: the sort-of kissing sound people make to get a cat’s attention because cats never know their own names. Most all cats respond to this noise. (Also called a mouex, from moue, pursing the lips, and x, a kiss.)
puss-pus: the snot-like dollop that collects at the inside corner of a cat’s eyes.
puss-up: the way a cat’s rear end rises up when you pet it down its back.
pussywallow: the way a cat spreads out for maximum use of the bed so you wake up shunted to one side almost off the edge.
wubbing: that thing cats do when they act like they’re going to rub up against your leg, but just miss, sometimes barely touching with the tip of the tail.
© Terry Colon, 2008