Monday, February 22, 2010

Let Sleeping Cats Lie

I don’t know why my airline charges an extra $125 each way when my cat travels with me. Since he must remain in his carrier under the seat in front of me for the entire trip, he really is no different than any other piece of carry on luggage. Unlike the screaming kids all around me, he is zonked out and silent from the tranquilizer I trick him into eating prior to departure. At the very least he should be given frequent flier miles. With 4 trips to Mexico, he has already logged over 18 thousand miles. Yes, Osito (Little Bear) is a jet setter.

It seems like he has a very exciting life. Just last year he discovered the joys of amputating the tails of gecko lizards. (Before you get upset you should know that he doesn’t actually tear the tail off. When geckos get caught by the tail they self amputate and while the predator fixates on the gyrating dismembered tail, the lizard scurries away and soon is sporting a new one.)

Yet despite his far reaching adventures, he still spends most of his life asleep. I worry about this. When I spend a lot of time sleeping it means I’m either sick, bored or depressed, or some combination thereof. I worry that perhaps I’m not making his life exciting enough. So I populate his world with various toys meant to spice up his life. I have imitation stuffed mice on strings that I run around the apartment pulling along for him to chase. I get tired of running back and forth between the two rooms of the apartment at about the same time he loses interest in something that is such a poor imitation of the real thing. I guess he knows that the mouse isn’t really running around on its own. Probably the string connecting it to me gives the game away.

Sometimes he will fetch little foam rubber soccer balls that I throw for him. It looks cute when he carries the ball back in his mouth. Unfortunately his favorite time to play fetch is right after I go to bed at night.

You might wonder why I should feel so responsible for my cat’s emotional health. It’s because I am the one who is controlling everything else in his environment. Since I don’t let him outside, his whole world (apart from the Mexican jaunts) is confined to a 700 square foot apartment. When you think about it, that’s a remarkable constraint. Male cats in the wild range over a territory up to ten square kilometers. They hunt a variety of small game or scavenge for almost anything edible if they are in areas of high human population. That’s a lot different than a bowl full of brown kibbles every day at the same time.

But research has found that animals in nature often sleep when there is nothing else pressing. If they aren’t hungry, thirsty, or horny they sleep. Better to be hidden away in the den than thrashing around in the open like a mobile buffet for larger predators. So maybe I shouldn’t worry about how much my cat sleeps. Maybe it just shows how well I have provided for him. (Not the horny part; he’s neutered.)

I think I will end this article on that optimistic note. Now that it is finished and I have nothing else pending, I think I’ll take a nap.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Bill, enjoyed your comments on digital graffiti. Unfotunately, it is part of the new world order, where everyone wants their 15 seconds of fame (15 minutes takes too long). I agree that there is a limit to what can and should be expressed through the new technologies. Personally, I don't care what people whom I do no know and do not want to know have to say about most of the issues of the day. (Since you are a friend, I DO care what you have to say.) Better we should use the technology for good purposes, such as starting a "revolution" to reform government, make our elected officials more accountable and present genuine ideas, rather than annoying us with their self-serving rhetoric. That is the type of graffiti that might actually be considered art. All for now.