Life in Technicolor

Callie and I recently watched a TV special on Nova about cats and Callie became so involved in the show that she flinched when the leopard leaped from branch to branch and the cheeta exploded into a sprint after an antelope. Her neck craned and she tried to get a better glimpse of these magnificent animals by leaning forward and gazing with intensity. One time she even glanced behind her to see if the snow leopard had dashed past her. She was seriously unnerved by what she was witnessing and had mixed emotions but was willing to stay open minded about it. There was one scene where a jaguar literally swims across a fast moving white water stream to get to a resting caymen on a sandbar that was oblivious to the danger until it was too late. The jaguar pounced and grabbed the 6 ft caymen by the nape of the neck and dragged it away with its toothy mouth agape and there wasn’t a thing it could do about it. The jaguar has the strongest bite of any cat in the world and it was able to pierce the tough hide of the caymen like it was a small alligator lizard and drag it away just like a domestic cat playing with a mouse. That scene totally freaked Callie out and she glanced over her shoulder several times in nervous anticipation that she was next. Her tail was thwacking noisely against my thigh with a dull thunk and her back muscles twitched in spasm while her paws clenched and unclenched nervously. Cats have surpassed dogs in the world for becoming the favorite domestic animal to be raised in the house with humans. The feline species is changing and domestication by steadily decreasing the desire to hunt and kill its prey is developing into a dominant trait. I haven’t noticed this with Callie, but I have noticed that she is very engaged with people and loves to be around them. She is no longer a feral cat and has been by and large domesticated. She is still a talented hunter but has to rely on the occasional butterfly, moth, grasshopper or beetle as prey because I don’t want her catching birds. When she witnessed all the big cats like the civet flying straight up into the air to catch a bird, I could see the lights go on in her brain. She has done that exact same move  herself early into our relationship when she was trying to catch a hummingbird. All of a sudden you saw her leap four feet straight up into the air and float sideways with front paws extended in hopes of nabbing the poor bird midair. She wasn’t successful that time but with practice she could have become quite adept at it. I discouraged this habit from the very start and she has been forced to grovel for bugs as a choice of prey. She is a good sport about it now, but I could see her putting two and two together while watching Nova and thinking, now wait a minute here… So, I am not sure if it was such a good idea for her to watch this show and I may have to think twice before the next cat program is shown on TV. I wouldn’t want to educate her to what the wild population of cats are up to these days and I think it best to keep her in the dark. She is fortunate to be living as a domestic cat though because habitat and food sources are becoming less and less available to her wild cousins. In the near future, there will be no more viewing wild life in technicolor for her while watching TV unless it is maybe a bird program and she can fantasize about catching a bird in her dreams.  There is no harm in day dreaming…

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