watcher_diaries: (teatime - percythejock)
[personal profile] watcher_diaries
I haven't got a cat; it would be difficult to keep pets, as things are and I have rarely had much contact with cats. I was not reared with the concept of house-pets at all, although I walked the hound pups. There were barn-cats at nearby farms and I have the impression that their personalities varied considerably, perhaps because they were often almost feral, subsisting largely on rodents.

(Some of the farm-cats actually caught young rabbits and there were allegations that they took pheasant-chicks; I am sure that they would have done, given the opportunity. However, as the farmer acidly pointed out, the cat colony did an excellent job of keeping down vermin and if the chicks were kept so insecurely that a cat could predate on them then certainly foxes, stoats and weasels would be taking far more. From the viewpoint of small game there were some dangerous predators in the area.

That may have explained the farm cats' behaviour. I have been told that jungle cats often appear almost cowardly. Predators need to avoid injury, of course, and lions in buffalo country [or cats in a rat-infested barn] do need to be very aware of adversaries’ potential to do damage. Some of the prey would appear to be more dangerous than the predator.)

The farm-cats were cautious; they were curious, and investigated anything new that they came into contact with, but that exploration was allied with extreme wariness in the adult cats. Some of them might actually have made good Watchers!

Joking apart, the combination of curiosity and caution – in the correct balance – is essential for my own role and possibly that has influenced my perception of those cats. (One becomes very aware of such things when involved in training young people.)

I suspect that the combination of curiosity and hyper-alert wariness is also a survival factor for the felines and the adage should really read, “Curiosity kills some inexperienced kittens – but only the percentage who lack compensatory characteristics.” However, that does rather lack the succinct conciseness of the original.

Muse, Rupert Giles.
Fandom, BTVS
Words, 257
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January 2011

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