Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday Mogblogging

"There is a mystery about the birth of those kittens. There were seven. One, a white kit -- and it is painful to think how beautiful a cat he would have been -- she pushed out of the nest, and it was found dead a couple of days later ... And she pushed out another, too, a little tabby. I left it for half a day, cold and unfed, thinking I must stop my sentimentality, grieving about nature's choices: if she had thrown him out then who was I etc. but I could not bear it, hearing his feeble mews, and I put him back among the others, and there were six thriving kits. Susie, then, had an ambiguous attitude to those kittens. Seven, she had clearly thought, were too many, and even six were. She had not been prepared to mother more than five kittens, and certainly when the six were rampaging around my room one could see her point.

I am saying that this cat could count, and if she was not thinking one, two, three, four, five, then she knew the difference between five and seven. Most scientists would dispute this, I'm pretty sure. That is, as scientists they would dispute it, but as owners of cats, probably not. It is interesting, watching a scientist friend talk about cat capacities that he would officially deny. His cat is always in the window waiting for him to come home, he says, but wearing his other hat, says animals have no sense of time, they live in an eternal now. He may go on to say that if he is not expected home, the cat is not there, but this takes him into regions he finds intolerable."

Doris Lessing, The Old Age of El Magnifico


6 comments:

JahTeh said...

I am not speaking to mine. 1 am is a lousy time to go searching for an old idiot who is sitting outside the wrought iron gates howling because he can't get back in the way he got out. He also had the cheek to rush inside and give me a filthy look because the fire was turned off.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Yes, I have that problem with the top section of the wardrobe where the nice comfortable sheets and pillowcases live, and which can be accessed via the mantelpiece but for some reason not exited by the same route ... 'Get me DOW-OW-OWWWWN!!'

Zoe said...

What excellent posture your cats have.

Pavlov's Cat said...

It's all those stacks of three-volume 19th-century novels that I make them carry on their heads.

Kate said...

I do wonder at this idea that animals have no sense of time. My dog, for instance, is much less overjoyed to see me if I'm only away for an hour than if I come home after several hours. And woe betide me if I come back after the sun has set. Also, once when I went away for a week when I came home she threw herself at me and made a strange wailing noise I haven't heard since. So it seems clear she knows the difference between an hour, all day, and several days.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Absolutely, Kate. I can't think where this 'no sense of time' stuff could have come from, but it can't have come from anyone who'd ever shared their house with a critter of any kind.