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Tuesday, 22 February 2011


By Mickey Rogers of This, That and the Other

Mark Twain was a brilliant man; as the author of such classics as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and “\The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he is considered America’s premier writer.

More importantly, however, his greatness is revealed by the fact that he loved and admired cats. In fact, Twain believed that in some essential ways the cat is a more noble creature than is man:

“Of all God’s creatures there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.”

The first evidence of the association of cats with human beings dates back to 7500 B.C. In 1983, an eight-month-old cat’s grave was discovered in Cyprus just 18 inches from a human burial site. Evidently, the feline has long been considered an important part of the human family.

In ancient Egypt, cats were associated with the goddesses Isis and Bast. They were held in high esteem since they served to keep down the vermin population in the crops and harvests. Egyptian laws protected felines; anyone who killed a cat faced execution! Excavations show that in Egypt more cats than human beings were mummified.

Of course, over the years cats have been subjected to some negative press. According to folklore, a cat will suffocate a baby by sucking its breath away. And of course, cats, at least black ones, have been accused of being in cahoots with wicked witches.

Even today folks fear bad luck is in store if a black cat crosses their paths. Then there are the ignorant among us who state that dogs are more intelligent than cats.

The argument goes that dogs have superior intelligence simply because they can be taught to perform so many tricks. I admit that dogs can more easily be trained to roll over, play dead or retrieve a ball. However, this does not prove superiority in the brains department; dogs and cats simply look at the world differently.

A dog’s chief aim in life is to please its master. Here’s what a typical hound might be thinking: “Duh, how can I please my master today? I’ll do the stupidest thing he dreams up if it’ll make him happy. If my master is happy, then I’m happy.”

A cat, on the other hand, sees things from a different perspective: “Let me get this straight, bub. You want me to jump through a hoop, retrieve a ball and then play dead? Sounds boring to me, so I’ll pass. Don’t get me wrong; I love you, but if you want me to live here you’ll have to take me on my own terms. Now pass me the catnip.”

Both dogs and cats are intelligent and both make great pets. Dogs can be easily trained, most of them enjoy riding in the family vehicle and they seldom challenge the master’s authority.

When a cat shows affection, it is doing so because it actually feels that way about you. Unlike dogs, they are low maintenance. Going away for a couple days? No problem. Just leave extra water and extra food and the cat will be just fine.

My wife and I have three cats - all former orphans. The oldest, Tressel, was living under a school trailer. Near death, he was rescued by a teacher and taken to a vet. After a full recovery, he became a member of our household.

Tressel is extremely extroverted; no one who enters our house is a stranger. Besides being a “lap cat,” he loves to wrestle with his brothers, sit at the window watching birds and take long sun naps.

Jeep, our middle “child,” is a Maine Coon who was rescued from the animal shelter. He is intelligent, shy, and gentle. Our son Todd was determined to name him after some piece of military hardware. Other names considered were Rocket, Jet, Tank, and M-1. When company comes Jeep hides under the bed.

Our baby, Kelly, is also called Munch since every night he jumps upon our bed, grabs a piece of the sheet with his mouth and proceeds to make a munching sound that drives my wife batty. Kelly is the orneriest of the cats, and his favorite hobby is attacking one of his bigger brothers. He’s fearless.

Our lives are a little more special because we have three furry rascals living with us. They’re a joy, but they have minds of their own. Of course, as “cat people” we fully accept and welcome their feline independence.

Historical information from Wikipedia.

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Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Since I live with two black cats who cross my path at least fifty times each day, I can attest to the fact that there is NO truth to the take that they bring bad luck!!

We had cats when I was a youngster living in NYC and it didn't occur to me that they were with us to keep the mouse population down. I thought we just loved cats!

Now I live in rural Idaho and they are considered working cats (as my city dwelling sister calls them); again to keep the homes and out-buildings free and clear of rodents. They live out in the wild of our garages or sheds and do their business out in the fields (good kitties!!!)They do a wonderful job and are as big as some dogs I've seen and love to be loved and show off as they walk in from the fields with their catch of the day.

Ii too am an aficionado of cats, and I especially like the names you chose for yours. Enjoy them.

yup! Three big purrs from us!

I too have a Maine Coon, named Dusty as he went under all the furniture upon arrival and came out with dust bunnies all over his tail.
He loves me, he absolutely LOVES me! When I sit he leaps like a magnet into my lap and then places his front paws way up on my chest and stares into my eyes with absolute adoration. Kind of overwhelming, but sweet.

I am a cat person, so, of course, I loved your story!

Wonderful piece..caught cats in all their wonderful ways; dogs too...I've lived with many cats in my 70 years, about l3 in my 44 years in Brooklyn, many are buried in my backyard. Hope new owner of my house won't be spooked if they ever discover the "boneyard," just couldn't roll one of my of my pals in newspaper and put 'em out with the trash. I hope I was as good a pal to them all as they were to me..important to note in 44 years I never saw a mouse until the last year when I was catless, so they too were "working" cats...

I plan to always have at least one cat in my life. Thanks for an interesting story!

Loved your story. I've always had cats in my life and have three now. Together with my two dogs we are family.

You know what they say. You own a dog but a cat owns you. Dogs are dependent, but cats are the opposite.

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