Wednesday, February 05, 2014

"We can't reason with cats," says expert John Bradshaw -- which makes them sound a lot like right-wingers


Domesticated cats may have developed in the Americas! So says cat authority John Bradshaw, director of the University of Bristol's Anthrozoology Institute, and author of Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, in this really wonderful interview with WNYC's Leonard Lopate.

"We can't reason with cats. We have to accept them as they are.”
-- John Bradshaw

by Ken

My original plan was to write about the truly astonishing round of braying lies screeched by the Usual Right-Wing Suspects twisted beyond recognition from projections about Obamacare and the labor force contained in the newly released CBO report. Obamacare will kill 2.5M jobs, they declare! But of course, either because they truly don't know how to read or they truly don't have any regard whatsoever for the truth, the right-wingers immediately exploded in an orgy of lies so putrid and America-hating that you'd think for once they would feel compelled to do the honorable thing and being blowing their tiny diseased brains out.

But the magnitude of the shamefulness is so cosmic and enraging that I can only splutter, so for now let me just refer you to Greg Sargeant's "Plum Line" report yesterday, "What the CBO report on Obamacare really found," and to Ryan Cooper's follow-up today, "On jobs, conservatives are full of it."

Instead I thought we'd talk about something more difficult to understand than right-wingers but vastly more worth the effort: cats.

After all, what's so hard to understand about right-wingers? They're either scum-sucking morons or brain-diseased pathological liars manipulated by greed-besotted predators, or greed-besotted predators themselves. Whereas cats . . . well, as John Bradshaw says, "“We can’t reason with cats. We have to accept them as they are.” Much the same could be said of right-wingers, but at least when we accept cats as they are, we're left with, you know, cats.

In the interview, according to the WNYC website, Bradshaw "tells us all about cats -- from how they were first domesticated to how they hunt to how they show affection. He offers new insights about the domestic cat that challenge many of our most basic assumptions about our feline companions." (It seems only fair to point out that before Cat Sense, Bradshaw wrote a book called Dog Sense.)

Here are some highlights from the Leonard Lopate Show page of the WNYC website.

A Few Cat Facts

"We can't reason with cats," said John Bradshaw. "We have to accept them as they are.”

Signs of affection: Rubbing against you, coming toward you with an upright tail, grooming you. Purring is associated with contentment, but science suggests it's just a signal that it needs attention. Some cats purr when they want to be fed,  some cats have been known to purr when they're in pain.

Playing with your cat, especially if it's an indoor cat, is important. It mimics hunting, a cat's natural instinct, and keeps it engaged and active. John Bradshaw recommends a puzzle feeder to keep a cat busy. You can make on yourself: Poke a few holes (slightly larger than a piece of dry food) in a plastic bottle. Put a small amount of dry cat food in it the bottle. Put on the lid. Give it to your cat to play with.

Cats have the basics in their minds of how to kill prey. If a kitten doesn't encounter live prey until its grown up, it might not be the most effective hunter. When cats seem to play with a mouse or other prey instead of killing it, it's a sign they're not especially skilled hunters. It's not purposely torturing the animal.

Whether or not a kitten is handled by people when it's very young--as early as three weeks old--determines whether it'll be social and comfortable around people. If feral kittens don't come in contact with humans until they're eight or ten weeks old, it can be too late for them to be comfortable and social with humans.

A cat's instinct is to run away from people and things it doesn't like. If you ply the cat with food to get it to come out of its hiding place, it'll come to realize that people aren't a threat and it will eventually be more social.

Cats don't need a great deal of physical space, so they're fine inside. They're very adaptable, which is why they make good pets.

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At 12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When cats seem to play with a mouse or other prey instead of killing it, it's a sign they're not especially skilled hunters."

Huh? I like what this guy says, but the above statement is ludicrous. My cat is an expert mouser. He does it for sport and for practice. He doesn't eat them. He catches them, runs around with them in his mouth and tosses them into the air, bats them with his paws, backs off so they can run away a little ways, just so he can start the game all over again. It's cruel, but cats don't particularly worry about cruelty being dished out in an outgoing direction. My two cats are both professionals at this game. It keeps them from getting bored. One evening at dusk, they were outdoors and each caught the same exact mouse 2-3 times within about one hour or less, and we live in the woods with plenty of places for mice to hide.

At 5:12 AM, Anonymous me said...

I agree with Anon. The author is full of shit when he says that cats don't purposely torture their prey. they do indeed; they think it's fun.

The Catholics are right about one thing: Man has a "moral sense" that animals lack.

Or at least most people have it, and most animals don't.

At 5:25 AM, Anonymous me said...

either because they truly don't know how to read or they truly don't have any regard whatsoever for the truth

Despite appearances, republicans do value the truth. They consider it very useful at times.


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