My own cat offers a less dramatic, but useful example. A stray taken in at about 8 months he atfirst caused some alarm with his tendency to 'do his nails' on the furniture. I would bang my footon the floor and tell him
and he'd stop. Now I just tell him, in no uncertain terms, to stop andhe does. He only does this when he wants something and I'm not paying attention.In fact, this is one way a cat has to get your attention and let you know he needs something - hedoes what he knows he is not supposed to do. My cat knows he's not allowed on the kitchentable, for example, but if his food bowl stays empty too long, onto the table he leaps and I knowright away he wants feeding.There is an ancient Egyptian papyrus of the twentieth dynasty showing a dog walking on his hindlegs, carrying a staff, herding goats. In the same picture there is a cat, walking on his hind legs,carrying a staff, herding ducks. The picture depicts the dog and cat on their hind legs carryingstaffs, no doubt, to indicate that they are in control. Were they shown on their fours, one, theycould not be shown carrying a staff and two, they would seem to be on the same level as thegoats and ducks, not in charge of them. My guess is that one time, before the dark days of catextermination, cats were trained and used and I expect they themselves were very responsive tothis arrangement.
- When one considers the terrible history the family of cats has endured at the hands of man, repeatedly throughout Europe and even in America, it is no wonder the cat keeps himself aloof. Associated with witches, Satan and evil, as a race, cats have been betrayed, condemned,tortured and exterminated, many times, by the thousands and tens of thousands. Those whichsurvived the pogroms passed on their genes to progeny, along with the survival sense to be waryof man. Yet every cat owner knows how truly attached a cat can become and how genuinelygrateful they are for the affection and care given them.
Cats & Music
Start playing an instrument, even something gentle, such as folk music on aguitar, and a dog is likely to leave the room. A cat, on the other hand is likely to come near, lay by you, roll around, purr and seem to enjoy the sounds immensely. My previous cat used to bemy biggest fan, particularly of my fairly elaborate finger picking.My current cat loves to hear the guitar but the obvious deep pleasure he gets from that doesn'teven compare to when I pick up the Celtic Harp and play on its strings. I can only describe hisstate as ecstatic, as if each tiny individual sound washes him with almost unendurable pleasure.Many composers throughout history relate the same story.The famous harpist, Mlle Dubuy, noticed that her cat purred pleasantly when she played a pieceon her harp well but cried when she played less so. She used this phenomena to improve her skill. Recognizing how much she owed her success as a harpist to her discerning cat she left himher substantial inheritance and endowed loyal friends likewise to ensure her cat was well caredfor.There is a video on YouTube of a cat playing the piano. She is quite intentionally sounding thenotes, utterly absorbed in the phenomena. When his mistress plays Bach on another piano the catstops and listens with obvious appreciation. It is quite as if this cat, and in fact, all cats, truly doappreciate beautiful music and the one in this particular YouTube video, aspires to musicianship.
- We all know how agile and flexible cats are - owing to a variety of factors. Unlikeman, in whom the vertebrae of the spinal column are held together by ligaments, in cat they are bound by muscle, giving the cat great range of movement. Because of the construction of hisshoulder joint he can turn his foreleg in almost any direction.