By DARREN HANDSCHUH
I recently read an article that said the common house cat was a direct descendant of wildcats.
“Domestic cats can be traced to wild progenitors that interbred well over 100,000 years ago, new research indicates,” said a CNN website. And if CNN says it, it must be true.
So house cats come from wild cats, well there’s a shock. Let me guess, dogs are somehow related to wild wolves and a budgie is the long-lost cousin of a condor.
I am more of a dog person than a cat person, but after having my ancient and somewhat senile dog put down earlier this year, the family homestead was left with only Gilbert the Wonder Cat as a pet.
Sushi the Siamese Fighting Fish and Mario the Super Hamster have both also passed to the realm of animal Valhalla.
Fathead, as my wife calls him, is actually my son’s cat, or from the cat’s point of view we all belong to him.
We also call him Gilbutt, Gilford, Gilmeister and the Gillinator. I have never understood the point of naming a cat anyway.
The fickle feline will come when he wants, go when he wants, eat when he wants and, in general, he will act very much like a teenager all the time.
You can call a cat anything you want, because it won’t come when you call it anyway.
Cats do everything on their terms.
And when Gilfart – I am not sure who came up with that one – does want attention, he bumps against you until you pet him.
Now, could someone please tell me why he has to stick his butt in the air when you do pet him. It is most unappealing.
A dog would not do that. Mind you I have seen a dog eat its own barf, which is something a cat would never do.
A dog looks at it and thinks, “Hey where did that tasty treat come from?” A cat looks at it and thinks, “Somebody better clean that up.”
We were kind of reluctant to get Gil at first, because I can’t stand the spastic, hyper-freak cats that go through the roof at the slightest sound.
If you are going to have a pet, it might as well be one you can interact with. As far as I am concerned pets are something to, well, pet. That’s why they are called pets.
If the cat clings to the ceiling every time you walk past, it likely will not be the best critter to have around children.
Some friends of ours had a monstrous black tabby name Figaro. The cat was a freak of nature. It was not only big, it was mean.
“Uh, you better not pet him. He’s not real friendly. In fact, you should try to keep a couple feet away from him at all times” was often what the owners told people who saw Catzilla for the first time.
Figs, as he was called, would take a swipe at you just for walking by. Only one of their daughters dared touch the beast that, for reasons only a cat can understand, was as gentle as a baby fawn with her.
With the rest of the world, he was more like one of his wildcat ancestors – only meaner. They endured Figaro for 12 years. I think they were too afraid to touch him, which is why they never got rid of him.
He was the only cat I have ever seen with a tattoo and leather jacket.
Gil on the other hand, could not be any more mellow if we fed him valium. Nothing fazes him - not loud noises, sudden movements – nothing.
And that is a good thing.
When he first came to his home (it used to be my home until he moved in and declared it his own) he was an adult so we missed all the clawing and stuff kittens do.
He is also an accomplished hunter and is a killer through and through.
Within a couple weeks of his arrival, mouse and bird carcasses (or what was left of them) began popping up in our yard.
One day he left almost an entire mouse on the front steps. My son was proud of the hunting ability of his furry friend and I explained it was an offering from Gil to him declaring they were part of the same pride.
I told him it was a cat thing.
He thought that was pretty cool, until I told him in keeping in the tradition of the cat kingdom he had to eat the mouse.
His jaw hit the floor and his eyes bugged out until he realized I was, of course, kidding.
Gil was also a bit of scrapper when he first showed up. He and a few neighbourhood cats quickly established a pecking order and as far as I can see he is pecking the heck out of the other cats.
So for now our home has only a single non-human mammal living under the roof.
We are thinking of getting a puppy however, and I am sure Gil will think that is a great idea.