Cats evoke primal feelings in humans. Hate. Fear. Superstition. Admiration. Respect. Love.
Visit a zoo nowadays and you’ll find that visitors flock to the big-cat enclosures. Love ’em or hate ’em, we humans are FASCINATED by these predators. I experienced this first-hand at the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary where EVERYONE was gathered around the pumas!
It’s not a secret that I harbor an intense love for felines of all shapes and sizes. They are mysterious, graceful, enigmatic, and are unlike any other living creature on Earth. They have been persecuted and worshipped, pampered and sacrificed, yet remain unaffected by our attentions – positive or negative. Watching a show on tigers, we see that there is no difference between the tiger stalking a deer and Tabby stalking a feather toy. They are one and the same. Unchanged by time and evolution. They are simply CATS. Felines. Perhaps that is why so many humans hate them. They are the ultimate anarchists. Natural-born rebels. They are the individualistic free-spirits humans wish THEY were – but never will be.
They are also Puzzle Boxes. A never-ending labyrinth of untapped secrets. I realized this while watching a National Geographic documentary on mountain lions where “New footage of pumas, or cougars, reveals a complex social structure in what had been believed to be a solitary carnivore.” Except lions and male cheetahs (who frequently live and hunt in groups called coaltions), cats are solitary animals, coming together only during brief mating interludes.
In this video, two females share a meal (at 1:35) – something that’s been previously unheard of:
Indeed. Even my cat, Ramses, surprises me. ME – who has lived with cats her whole life – even I have been surprised by behaviors such as his sniffing the couch where my BFF sat. None of the cats I’ve lived with have ever investigated an area where a visitor has been, let alone “sniffed” it.
So, let’s not take these magnificent beings for granted for we’ve barely scratched the surface of their enigmatic personas. Instead, let’s think of them as the mysterious Puzzle Boxes they are while we explore the world of Felidae, one exquisite feline at a time…
• Clouded Leopard