General Non-Fiction posted May 26, 2017


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There is more to cats then most realize.

My Feline Family

by prettybluebirds


There are times when I find myself wondering what life would be like without cats and cat hair. Just think, I could buy new furniture and it wouldn't get shredded or covered with cat hair in less than two months. I could go to town, and folks wouldn't look at me funny because I have a circle of cat hair on the seat of my pants. Then, just recently, my husband went to the doctor for stomach trouble and told the physician to check for hairballs. I think he was serious.

I can't sit down to relax in my recliner without two or three of my feline friends plunking down on my lap. I like to think it's because they love me, but it might be because cats love to sit on warm objects. They enjoy sitting on my computer too.

Last, but certainly not least, I consider the money I could save if I didn't have to buy all the cat food, toys, litter, and cat treats my furry friends demand each week. Then there are vet bills for shots, flea control, spaying, neutering, and because I panic when one of my precious felines is hurt or a bit off his or her feed.

I consider all these things but realize I'm doomed. I could never give up my furry family of felines. I fall into the 11.5% of people in this world who are bonafide cat persons.

At least I don't shave off my eyebrows when one of my cats dies as the ancient Egyptians did. They considered the cat so valuable that laws protected it, and a cult of cat worship developed that lasted for more than 2000 years. The cat goddess Bastet became one of the most sacred of all figures of worship. Soon all cats became sacred to the Egyptians, and death was the penalty for harming the animals. After a cat's death, its body was mummified and buried in a special cemetery. One such tomb contained the preserved remains of over 300,000 cats. I don't have quite that many. I do believe my felines remember all this ancient history because they never hesitate to remind me of their sacredness.

What my cat friends choose to ignore is the fact that, in 1227 to 1241, cats became objects of superstition and were associated with evil. Cats were believed to be endowed with powers of black magic--associates of witches and the devil. Persons who kept cats were often put to death along with their cats. (Oh, no, I wouldn't have lasted long.) Cats were hunted, tortured, and sacrificed, but in the end, they got a form of revenge. As the cat population dwindled, the disease-carrying rats increased in number. A fact that contributed significantly to the spread of epidemics and the black plague which swept out of Asia and into Europe.

No one knows precisely when the first cat appeared on earth. One legend claims cats were created when a lion on Noah's Ark sneezed and two kittens came out. I like that one. However, Miacles is considered to be the ancestor of all land-dwelling carnivores, dogs as well as cats. But cats existed millions of years before dogs which may account for their air of superiority towards dogs.

Perhaps the best known prehistoric cat was Smilodon, the saber-toothed tiger. This formidable animal hunted throughout most of the world but became extinct long ago. Whew, what a lucky break for us cat-people. I can't imagine cleaning the litter box after an animal like that or having him land on my bed at night.

I learned another interesting fact while researching for this story. Cats have 1000 times more data storage than an Ipad, and a cat's brain is so quick that a super-computer couldn't beat it in a test done in 2015. I hope my cats never learn about these facts because they already think they're smarter than I am. In some ways, I believe they are.

Another interesting fact, 90% of a cat's brain is similar to a human's with nearly identical sections of the brain that control emotions. Now, I don't find that fact surprising; it's easy to offend a cat.

Also, Cats can make more than a hundred different sounds and can change their meow to manipulate humans. My cats imitate a baby when they want treats or food, especially if I tell them no. It's easier to give them what they want than listen to their pitiful wails.

To me, the best point of owning a cat is it can reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke by a third. Not only that, if you're a man who owns a pet cat, you're more likely to find love. People view male cat owners as kind, trustworthy, and sensitive. Remember that when looking for a guy; make sure he owns a cat.

Now we all agree that Dogs are known for acts of heroism, but folks think cats are too stuck on themselves to give a damn if their human lives or dies. In practice, this is hardly the case. In 2012, a cat saved its owner's life when the woman had a diabetic seizure. The cat leaped onto the woman's chest and nudged and bit at her face until she awoke. Then the cat darted into the woman's son's room and pestered him until he woke up and called for help

I found an even more amazing story that came out of Argentina in 2008 when a one-year-old boy was kept alive by a band of feral cats. The boy became separated from his estranged father and would have perished but for the cats. They snuggled up to the child, kept him warm at night, and brought him scraps of food. When the police found the boy, his cat guardians hissed and spat viciously at them. It makes one wonder what they fed the poor kid. Mice, birds? No matter, they saved his life.

There are several documented cases of cats kept in nursing homes to interact with the patients. I once smuggled a cat into a nursing home so my Aunt Grace could pet a cat one more time in her life. Zip, the cat in question, made many trips back to the nursing home. The staff, as well as the patients, always welcomed her visits. As for Zip, she loved the patients and enjoyed being the center of attention.

There are thousands of interesting facts about cats, but I will conclude with this one. In Alaska, a cat has been the mayor of the town of Talkeena for the last fifteen years; and one ran for mayor of Mexico City in 2013. Who knows, maybe if a cat ran for president of the United States, he could win. It might even be a significant improvement over the candidates presented to the voters in previous years and maybe even their present choice.


Non-Fiction Writing Contest contest entry

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Here I am with another cat story. What can I say, I love cats.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by Bob one oldreb at FanArtReview.com

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