Nov 242017
 

When you think of the sort of pet that people can be truly emotionally attached to, chances are *really* good you’ll think of either “cat” or “dog.” Any species other than those two, at least in the US, will either be far fewer in number or far less likely to be something you really bond with. A goldfish, after all, is more likely to be something more of a decoration than an entity you empathize with.

Me, I’ve had cats, dogs, ferrets. Bonded with all, mourned those who’ve died or left. I also had some Triops, some big brine shrimp sorta prehistoric monster critters; when they died, it was a disappointment, but not mournful. I’ve never had pet bunnies or sheep, but I’ve met such critters. Cute enough, but… meh. No connection. Why not? Because there was “nothing behind the eyes,” one might say. And… because bunnies and sheep are quite different from humans. They do not hunt. They have no “killer instinct.” They are… different from us.

Look at the natural world: the creatures we think of as being “smart” or ‘high up on the evolutionary ladder” tend to be vicious killers. Chimpanzees? Sure, they’re cute (-ish) when they’re young, but as adults they’re 600-pound murder machines who will rip your limbs, face and nads off. Dolphins? Sure, Flipper looks cute, but they will murder other species of dolphins apparently for fun. Orcas? OK, the alternate name of “killer whale” kinds gives it away, but they’re well known to play with their food. And their food tends to cute cute, fluffy-bunny seals.

Of course, “smart” isn’t exclusively the province of predators. Elephants are well known to be quite smart, with complex emotions. But… you tick off an elephant, and they turn into *giant* murder machines. They might not eat you, but they’ll kill you, and not purely for defense. They will attack other creatures simply because they’re ticked off.

So… being killers seems to correlate with making good pets… and with making them understandable. Of course it’s not a 100% match; go head and snuggle up with a shark if you want, won’t get you anywhere.

 Posted by at 7:04 pm
Nov 032017
 

Two years ago, Bruce the cat fell into my possession via the simple process of walking up to me at the post office and yelling at me… and then stretching up to me when I reached down to pick him up. As y’all may recall, one of the first things I did with him was take him to the vet and get him checked for Horrible Diseases… and he tested positive for Feline Leukemia. The vet said that this was a death sentence, with a lifespan to be measured in a handful of increasingly painful and unpleasant months, and suggested that the best thing would be to put him down promptly. Because I’m a sucker for a hard luck cat, I instead opted to give him his vaccinations anyway and to give him the best life I could for a few months until things got bad, and then make the hard decision.

This is him as of a week or two ago:

There is, it seems, a narrow window when a cat can show positive for a recently acquired case of leukemia, and yet the virus can be cleared out of the cats system via vaccination. I would imagine it’s something like rabies: an essentially 100% fatal virus that you can be virtually 100% “cured” of if you get vaccinated against soon enough after infection. Bruce, it seems, got *real* lucky. Kicked out of his apartment, living on the streets next to speeding cars, infected with a fatal virus, he yelled at just the right soft-hearted schmuck at just the right moment and now he’s living in the lap of luxury.

 Posted by at 9:07 am
Sep 102017
 

Gumball Waterson.

“The Amazing World of Gumball,” as mentioned hereabouts before, is a stealthily smart show. It has touched on subjects such as the safety-fascists and cosmic horror, even did a parody of “The Omen,” which is generally not fodder for kids cartoons. *Most* of the jokes that approach political subjects are usually fairly subtle. However, the most recent episode, “The Best,” rather suddenly came out with straight-up parodying of Social Justice Warriors, calling them out by name. A brilliant takedown of the Tumblr culture of tolerance via personal destruction.

A copy of the full episode:

In the end, the SJW smackdown was really pretty tame… but pretty predictably a bunch of SJWs were less than thrilled to be mocked even for a second.

 

There was a time when the Simpsons could be relied upon for some handy smacks against political correctness:

 Posted by at 12:29 am
Aug 292017
 

As hurricane Harvey whallops Texas and flood Houston to a truly remarkable degree, comparisons to hurricane Katrina are inevitable. There have been some deaths due to Harvey, but nothing – at least so far – comparable to the more than a thousand dead in Katrina. Plus, the Cajun Navy is there in force rescuing people… but I notice a lack of reporting about all the folks being rescued by the Antifa Navy. Maybe their efforts are being held in reserve…

Another difference: in Katrina, hundreds of thousands of pets were simply abandoned. Many died, many were re-homed. At the time I was puzzled… I can understand the panic that comes with having to pack up and split in a hurry, but leaving pets behind? OK, pets like fish and lizards I get, but abandoning cats and dogs? Nope. Just… nope. These creatures are, as I’ve said before, On Our Team. You don’t leave team members behind. A lot of it, I suppose, was due to rescue services not letting people take their pets, a situation that has fortunately changed: as I type this, a bit on CNN shows a fire department boat going door to door in a suburb (there’s a phrase you don’t read too often) collecting families… and their pets. A police officer was shown helping a family find their freaked-out cat, another family loaded their dog onto the boat. Good on all y’all.

The coverage certainly seems to suggest that Texans are doing a  better job of taking their pets with them when they leave.

Harvey and Pet Owners

Plus:

List of animal shelters and rescues in the path of Hurricane Harvey

Plus: it’s interesting to see humans coming to the aid of *non* pet animals. A popular story ove the last few days has been that of a Coopers Hawk that took shelter from the coming storm in a taxi:

What’s spiffy is that the taxi driver took the hawk in and provided aid and comfort to this wild animal. See the updates on the guys YouTube channel. The hawk turned out to be injured in some way that prevented flight; after a few days it was transferred to the care of a wildlife center.

 

 

 

Where I live the chances of a flood are pretty slim. More likely are things like fire and earthquake and ashfall from supervolcanos. But I would *like* to think that if the time came to bail I’d take the time and effort to gather up the cats. Fortunately I’ve not had to put that to the test, but I’m reasonably sure that any disaster that gives me more than a few minutes warning is going to see me stuffing cats into crates.

 Posted by at 7:03 pm
Aug 162017
 

Yeah, this video is quite a number of years old, but it’s still a hoot. I’m pleased that the attempt at the end by the human to sow additional discord backfires.

 Posted by at 12:38 am