Those lucky people that are owned by cats often are accused, by those less fortunate, of interpreting the Resident Feline's moods, actions, and predilections, as being like our own human ones. We are told that cats are cats, not humans.
As one who has the company of a Resident Feline, I know I do tend to enthuse at the RF's language skills, patience, gentle disposition towards humans, physical agility, and wholesale enjoyment of games, food, and sleep.
Enshrouded as we are in an envelope of winter grayness, our fire, our food, and our roof become sanctuary to humans, a cat, and..., other smaller animals. The RF has bagged 4 mice and one rat over the last 3 or 4 weeks. I am actually quite impressed, as previous RFs have shown no abilities at all in the hunting of wee furry things.
The tally is as follows:
1) Mouse: DAR (dead after rescue) this one expired after I released it outside.
2) Mouse: DAPP (dead all parts present)
3) Mouse: DEY (dead eaten yuck) The RF ate all but the top of scull with eyes and nose intact.
4) Mouse: L&R (live and rescued)
5) Rat: DAPP Thank the Lord that it wasn't DEY!
6) Mouse: L&R
It is number 6 Mouse: L&R that caused me to reflect about feline cognitive difference, which is a nice way to say, that in some small areas, our RF may be differently abled. In other words, a DARF.
The RF is DARF as follows.
Yesterday the RF alerted me with finely vocalised howls and yowls that would have been the envy of Pavarotti, to the fact that he had caught a mouse, and that he had it bailed up in the hall. All this was communicated efficiently by the aforementioned vocalizations so that I could come and witness the fine prowess of gladiatorial skill by the RF from a ringside seat. Thus I arose from my chair, strode to the hall door, opened said, and gazed as the RF proudly played ping pong (or squash) with an unfortunate soggy ball of Angry Small Mouse.
Whilst demonstrating a particularly difficult backhand with three full rotations that was worth 30 points, the RF stumbled slightly and the ASM made a dive for freedom beneath the closed kitchen door. A gasp from the crowd, consternation from the gladiator. On flinging open the kitchen door, I spied a likely hiding place behind the door for the ASM, and (my need to witness horror and mayhem being more than sated) I made a clumsy attempt to effect a rescue. The RF was faster however, and sprang ahead of me and launched into an enthusiastic series of left and right jabs that had the ASM tumbling and spinning across the floor. With jaw dropping swiftness, I yanked open a cupboard, hauled out an empty plastic yoghurt pot from the top of a collapsing pile, and flung it over the mouse which was literally right in front of the RF's nose.
Silence, stillness, confusion. A look of puzzlement from the RF. A jerking of the head right and left. The RF had no idea where the ASM had gone, and it was there in front of him disguised as a Plastic Yoghurt Pot.
The RF started to pace, then retraced his steps around the room to the former ASM hiding place behind the door. No sign of the ASM. Baffled, the RF investigated the hall as I quietly carried the ASM out of the house in the PYP.
The point of this little account is that cats do have different cognitive abilities to humans after all! The RF had no ability to solve the problem of where the mouse was, even though he witnessed me putting the PYP over it. To the RF, the ASM had to be somewhere else. In this the RF is clearly a DARF.
There are other situations where similar processing differences are shown. Most cats that I have observed have little interest in mirrors. Unlike a budgie, they will not spend all day having a hilarious relationship with their reflection in the mirror. Cats hardly seem to see anything there at all (do let me know if your cats behave differently in that respect).
Interestingly this RF did find my computer monitor fascinating one day when I was watching a little video of Jim Gottuso trimming a foot ring of a pot, the RF thought that the little twitchy bits of clay that spiraled off the pot were a string game. The RF hopped up on my lap and got between me and my monitor, peering at it closely with great excitement. I had to remove the RF in the end, lest his poor brain be fried with gamma rays, or whatever emanates from my CRT type screens.
I have also been curious about games with string. The RF loves playing with string, and I enjoy playing with him, I am interested to note how he seems not to associate my end of the string with what is happening at his. The string, for him, seems to exist mostly at his end. This is helpful in playing the game as, imagine what would happen if the RF decided to attach itself to my hand to stop me twitching the string, rather than just follow the other end!
To the picture at the top of this post...., yes, that is me showing interest in my reflection. On my shoulders is the RF, who has a thing about climbing onto shoulders and..., staying there whilst one walks about the room.
Anyway, Happy 4th July to those of you in America!
To the poor person that wanted some helpful information about wood fired kilns, sorry about the continued delay, I haven't forgotten, and it will be arriving on my site soon.
For those lost in the jungle and in fear of being eaten by a large cat, it may pay to have with you a really large metal trash can. If threatened, simply remove the lid, jump into the can, and replace the lid. My research with a small cat reveals that your actions are very likely to confuse the big cat, and you may well be safe in the can.