Happy Caturday folks or as people who aren’t cat dorks like us call it, Sunday. Welcome to the first expanded edition of Pull Up Your Cat.
I got to thinking earlier in the week, (actually right after a wrestling match with Kuroneko in which I bled copiously), about the darker nature of the friends we share our lives with. They aren’t just cute, endearing little balls of purring fur. They are, in fact, some of the most well adapted land predators that evolution has accomplished. If you’ve ever seen a clowder of cats without humans around at night, you’d know the side I’m talking about. Totally unlike the same animals who stretch themselves out in front of fireplaces and present themselves for scritches.
The late and lamented SouthernDragon used to call them “Tigers” and it turns out there is some truth to that. Cats share a common ancestor that is chronologically and genetically closer to them than the last ancestor we shared with Chimpanzees or Bonobos. The two extant subfamilies of cat share a common ancestor from only ten to fifteen million years ago. Because of this, they are considered to be “rapidly evolving" creatures.
Cats, like the ones we adore and worship are from the subfamily Felinae, along with Wildcats, Bobcats, Cougars, Ocelots and Cheetahs. Larger cats like Lions and Tigers and Leopards, (oh my!), belong to the subfamily of Pantherinae, while a third subfamily, classified as Machairodontinae, is extinct and included the sabertooth cats like Smilodon. Regardless of the classification taxon, cats are all much more closely related to one another than members of the Hominidae family, which includes humans, are.
All cats are almost purely carnivorous by nature and are very well adapted for it. My own Kuroneko can go from a lap kitteh to a ruthless bird killer at less than the drop of a hat. I have deprived her of her mouse prey before because I couldn’t bear to see the poor thing tormented so. The cats that are so sweet to us are in reality able hunters, capable of bringing down prey many times their own size if the need is there. Cats are in fact, not adapted well to eating vegetable matter as their intestines are too short to adequately digest it.
So the next time you’re playing with your cat with a string or wrestling around with her and she draws blood, just remember that people are discouraged from keeping large cats for good reason. It’s in their natures to play with their prey or surrogates for their prey and it’s in their natures to play to win!
Kuroneko picture of the week: Plenty of toys but she’d
rather play with a scrap of paper from my W-2.
Ever wonder what a cat looks like going into warp speed while wearing a bow tie? Wonder no more! This comes to us from boingboing
Obligatory cute kitten picture of the week. This time from Cute Overload.
Here’s a funny, if rather silent video of a cat experiencing snow for the first time.
That’s it for this week. Please share your cat or other pet stories with us. I hope everybody has a great week ahead but please remember to set aside some time to spend with whatever animals share their lives with you and if one of those animals is a cat, set aside some bandages and antiseptic too!
Update: Speaking of the nature of cats, I woke up to this little present in my bedroom this very morning. Glad I turned the light on! (warning: wee bit graphic)