Scientists classify the common house cat (Felis cattus) as a different species than the Old World wildcat (Felis sylvestris), but they are the same animal and readily interbreed in areas where they overlap. Like the dog (Canis familiaris), I believe this species adopted humans, rather than vice-versa. Humans have lived with cats for at least 9500 years–evidence of the oldest association between the 2 was excavated from an archaeological site in Cypress, Greece. Cats first started living closely with humans when we began storing grain. The grain attracted rodents, which in turn attracted cats. Kittens, left unattended by their mothers, easily bond with humans who treat them with kindness. The cat is an amazing intelligent survivor. Fossils of F. sylvestris are often found in European caves, and this species has been in existence for over 2 million years. Cats were able to live in environments with wolves, bears, lions, and mammoths; yet they were able to adapt to new environments shaped by humans, while the larger, fiercer beasts disappeared.
My favorite cat died about a year ago. While she was alive, we never had mice in our house. As soon as she died, mice and other small animals began to plague us. Both the house mouse (Mus musculus) and the field mouse (Peromyscus sp.) invited themselves into our house. I don’t appreciate mouse turds in my food supply, so I poison-baited our home–not the ideal solution because a poisoned mouse can go outside and get eaten by a bird of prey, thus killing the raptor too. Usually, the poisoned mouse would emerge from hiding in a partially paralyzed state, and I would be forced to whack it with dress shoes that I refer to as my “mafia” shoes.
Frogs, like one of the 12 plagues of Egypt, also frequent our house. Green frogs (Rana clamitans) burrow into the soil, find their way into our septic tank, and swim up the pipes to the toilet bowl. I don’t mind the frogs, but my wife suffers from ranidophobia, or fear of frogs. Small tree frogs (Hyla cinerea) often hang out by the living room window and croak so loudly that my wife can’t hear the television. On several occasions my wife has interrupted me while I was enjoying my favorite video of a nude woman doing housework (http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xl5lms_cleaning-house-naked_redband), by ordering me to go outside and scare the frog away from the window. She ignores my complaints about the futility of such an endeavor.
To keep my wet dreams from being ruined by my wife’s hysterics, I decided to tame a feral cat ranging in the woods behind my house. I reasoned the mere presence of a cat in the immediate proximity of my house would keep the small pests at bay.
I started putting out food for the cat and gradually moved the feeding spot closer and closer to the house. I sat outside on the back steps while he fed to get him used to my presence. Some say feral cats never make good pets, but there is contradictory evidence of this on the web, so I viewed this as an experiment. This required a great deal of patience. To fight off boredom, I sat on the back steps, drank chilled white wine, and listened to rhythm and blues on my Sony Walkman. I can get drunk and listen to music for hours without getting bored. The cat saw me in my most relaxed state, and this seemed to relax the cat. One day, I placed the cat food down, and the cat started circling me. The circle kept getting smaller and smaller until he was rubbing against my legs. And he let me pet him. I thought this was great because I had earned the cat’s trust.
Mr. Claw approaching me before he ever let me pet him.
While I’m relaxing and drinking chilled wine on the back steps, Mr. Claw is getting relaxed enough to creep closer and closer.
Now this once feral cat rubs up against my leg. I’ve gained his trust, but now I don’t trust him. The sneaky little fella likes to claw me, seemingly as a practical joke. I also always wear shoes to protect my toes which have become irresistable targets.
This is why I went to the effort to tame a feral cat. After my beloved cat died last summer, we had mice in our house for the first time ever. The smell of a cat alone is enough to keep mice away.
My wife is terrified of frogs. This species, the green frog (Rana clamitans), often burrows into the soil and lives in our septic tank. They occasionally swim up the pipe and into the toilet, causing my wife to have a freekout until I catch it and take it outdoors. Maybe the cat will reduce the population of green frogs in our yard.
Green tree frog (Hyla cinerea). This species is common around my house. Whenever they croak, my wife orders me to go outside, find the frog, and take it away. How ridiculous! This is annoying, especially when I’m in the middle of watching a stimulating video of a naked woman doing housework. Cats like to eat little frogs like this.
A problem occurred when I was sitting on the back steps one evening while getting relaxed with wine and song. The cat snuggled next to me, then suddenly clawed my arm and retreated a short distance. It occurred to me that the cat was playing because my late aunt and uncle had a Siamese cat that engaged in similar behavior but with the neighbor’s dog. Their neighbor had a German shepherd kept chained in the backyard. My uncle’s cat would slowly creep toward the dog which would go crazy barking and pulling on the chain. The cat would smack the dog on the nose and run away–obviously teasing the hell out of it. Could this cat be teasing me? In any case, this cat earned the name, Mr. Claw. He later laid down in front of me with his paw pointed toward me–claws unsheathed!
Since then, this sneaky cat has clawed my toe and my ankle, and I no longer trust him. A cat expert suggested playing with the cat to channel its aggressiveness, but Mr. Claw shows no interest in playing with conventional cat toys. He prefers the claw and run tease. The difference between Mr. Claw and my old deceased cat is like the cliche` night and day. Mr. Claw is aggressive, unpredictable, and sneaky. My old cat, Lone Ranger, was always gentle and docile. Mr. Claw probably needs to be fixed, but I don’t want to pay for that. Removing a cat’s testicles seems like the equivalent of giving a human a lobotomy. The experiment continues…