cats


J.S. shortly after arrival.

J.S. shortly after arrival.

J.S. was born a feral cat in a colony of feral cats fed by a kind cat lover. He is all black, except for a few white hairs where one might imagine a belly button, and very soft. One day when he was a kitten I am told he was hit by a car but survived. The kind cat lady took him into her home, thought “he” was a “she”, nurtured him back to health and gave him up for adoption at a PetSmart store. There he was discovered to be a boy and neutered.

One day when J.S. was about four months old I entered his life. I had come back to PetSmart a number of times to see a strikingly handsome tiger boy cat who was about 8 months old. Two sisters were manning (or womanning) the adoption area. These two volunteers are great cat lovers, I was to find out. They introduced me to the tiger boy cat who was rather too pugnacious to adapt easily to my home and the big ginger tom that already owned the space. But they wanted me to meet J.S. who was very shy and huddled in his enclosure.

I petted him and he trembled a bit, and I said to myself “why not?” and paid the adoption fee and took him to meet the big ginger tom (herein after referred to as BGT). J.S. lived in the bathroom for a couple of days so the cats could take in each other’s scent. After releasing J.S. he hid a lot for the first few weeks, but it was clear he was enamored with BGT. BGT did not attack J.S. and allowed him to eat, but hissed and batted him if he came too close.

Big Ginger Tomcat

Big Ginger Tomcat

Flash forward a bit over two years: situation mostly unchanged. J.S. is aloof towards most people and hides when company comes. BGT still hisses and bats. J.S. still exhibits devotion to BGT and follows him around. BGT spends the night close to me on my bed. I’m sure he thinks it is his bed. J.S. often waits until BGT is sound asleep and sneaks in next to him on the bed. If he is lucky BGT doesn’t notice him and J.S. is very happy and purring, but more often he sleeps on the windowsill near the bed. J.S. is now nearly as big as BGT and frankly a bit chubby.

J.S. sneaking up on BGT

J.S. sneaking up on BGT

I woke up one morning a couple of days ago and surveyed my surroundings, seeing J.S. on the windowsill looking in my direction and BGT sleeping against my hip. Then I thought my thoughts. J.S. is probably hoping I’ll get up and feed him, little fatty. I wonder if he likes me at all? He is probably only in my room because this is where BGT sleeps. I wonder if he will ever be loving towards me.

I hadn’t moved yet at all except for opening my eyes. At that moment J.S. walked over to the head of my bed and jumped on board settling himself under my armpit and kissing my nose. He stayed there for ten minutes until I had to get up and begin my day.  He had never done that before. Who says cats aren’t telepathic?

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In answering the comments on the previous post, I was reminded of an amazing cat story in which I participated briefly. This happened in New York City’s East Village circa 1990. A woman, an artist, who is now deceased lived across the hall from me with her husband and a cat named Bass. It was a sixth floor walk-up with an elevator that sometimes worked. I did occasional readings for the woman in exchange for a glass of wine. We were sort of friends. I had a special relationship with the cat and would read him from time to time by petting him and mentally asking him questions, to which he would answer directly to my mind very clearly. I would convey this information to the woman, who would then generally do what the cat required.

One evening the woman told me how the cat had come to live with her. It was a cold winter night as she made her way home. When she got a few steps from the doorway of the tenement, she became aware of the cat meowing pitifully behind her. She bent down and petted his shivering body, promising to bring him a can of cat food when she got up to her apartment to fetch it. I think the woman had once had another cat that had passed on some years previously and she remembered the lingering can in her cupboard.

She unlocked the two bullet-proof glass doors that separated the January chill from the steam heat. The elevator worked that evening and sped her to the sixth floor. After unlocking the door to her tiny home, she put down her handbag on the kitchen table and fetched the promised can from the cupboard and headed back to the door of her apartment two steps away with the intention of bringing down the cat a nice supper.

Imagine her surprise when upon opening the door who ran into her apartment but the very cat! She hadn’t let him in and he wasn’t in the elevator with her, so it was rather mysterious how he had gotten in and found her door on the sixth floor so quickly. But it was clear that the cat was at home so she allowed him to stay, especially since her husband, a musician, was out of town on a gig.

Several nights later when her husband was still away, the woman had a startling dream, almost a nightmare, that filled her with awe. The cat came to her in a realistic dream as a giant cat-headed figure larger than a human, and in a deep and resonant voice that shook her body, proclaimed, “I am Bass!” or at least that is what she heard. So naturally she called the cat Bass. And Bass became an accepted member of the household.

Now the woman, an artist, as I had mentioned previously, was an intelligent college educated person, but apparently never studied any ancient Egyptian mythology, because when I asked her if she was certain that the cat in her dream said Bass and not BAST she looked at me blankly and said something like, “I think so, what difference does it make?” I found it remarkable that she had never heard of BAST.

BAST is/was the protector Goddess of lower Egypt, where cats were worshipped and none so much as BAST. She is a glorious cat-headed woman in some renderings while in others a proud lioness or an elegant cat. The town of Boubastis in the Nile Delta was her sacred place.

Now the problem with this whole story is that BAST is a Goddess and Bass was a male cat, yet I feel sure that the woman had a visitation from the Goddess BAST. I told her so and though she mulled it over in her mind, I remain unconvinced that she was duly impressed with the divine encounter she had been privileged to receive.

Several months later, it came out in a reading that the woman and her husband would be moving to California. She requested I ask Bass if he would be pleased with the move. I held the cat on my lap and questioned him. He was alarmed. He did not want to go under any circumstances. A couple of months later they moved to LA taking Bass with them, in my opinion, against his will. About two weeks after the move, I found out later, the cat got out of the house and was promptly run over.

BAST (courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)

One morning last week I woke up from a dream. The dream was weird and definitely in color. A certain large male orange cat of my acquaintance was prominently featured. In the dream I had filled a big sparkling white bathroom basin with cold water from the tap. The cat, who likes to put his paw in water and bat it, began doing so and then jumped in. Soon he put his head under the water too. Then, completely submerged, he tried to go to the bottom of the basin in order to breathe through the drain which was gurgling. I tried to pull him out but I could not do so. He remained at the bottom of the basin near the drain and seemed to be clinging to it trying to breathe. I was very upset about the cat in my dream.

Then I woke up and began to mull over the meaning of my dream. I opened my eyes and my long thin dark tan arm reached for the apricot stucco wall in the soft evening light. Whoa! I began to freak out! I do not have a long thin tan arm or an apricot stucco wall. Splat! I was pulled back into my chubbier whiter body and it was still the middle of the night (or at least still dark out) and I could see the outlines of my bookcase where the apricot stucco wall had been. I had experienced a false awakening while dreaming.

This has happened to me before but what stood out about this instance was that during my false awakening I was thinking about my previous dream about the cat. This may be a first for me to be actively thinking about and trying to figure out a previous dream while still dreaming.

Wikipedia defines A false awakening as “a vivid and convincing dream about awakening from sleep, while the dreamer in reality continues to sleep.”  I often have false awakenings in which I am awake in my real surroundings and get up and do something reasonably mundane and then realize that my physical body is still in the bed. These may also be spontaneous out of body experiences. But I can’t remember being in another body that felt like a real body in another room that looked real in which I was also thinking about my previous dream in a rational logical way.

It so happens that two days later out of the blue the orange cat went into a bad state of being, sitting by himself and hiding. The following day he was observed to be dripping a bloody substance from his rear quarters and was taken to the veterinarian where he was diagnosed with a urinary blockage in his urethra. His bladder was the size of a grapefruit and his kidneys were affected. He stayed at the animal clinic for several days. His condition was touch and go. When he was released back into the custody of his loving owners they were admonished to see that he drank more water and to add water to his food.

It seems to me that the dream was a premonition of the cat’s illness. He was in tip top shape at the time of the dream and did not begin to show any signs that anything was wrong until two days passed. My question is what was the dream telling me? If it was a premonition why was I unable to help? I have never dreamt of this cat before, so why now? Interestingly I feel I might not have remembered the dream if it weren’t for the false awakening.

Talkative Cat

Several nights ago, I was sleeping with cats on either side of my head, listening to Hemi-sync Supersleep (subliminal binaural beats under the sounds of ocean surf) repeated continuously after a healing yoga nidra track had played first. I had on headband earphones for comfort. I was dreaming about a class at a university that someone I know was taking on electricity. I was explaining to a man in the dream that she was not taking the basic class, which is in a large lecture hall with a couple hundred students, but a more involved and advanced class with only 3 people in it. He said enigmatically, “Electricity is the life spark (or life current) of the Universe.” Then suddenly I was in the electricity class as a subject of an experiment with electrodes on my head (possibly because I had earphones and a sleep mask on in the waking reality). I began to hear someone talking behind me in a strange language. I realized from within the dream that this speaking is not within the dream and I had better wake up fast. I was very alarmed. Who was speaking behind my head? Slowly I realized it was Sylvie the cat. I was very relieved. Stupidly, because I wanted to go back to sleep, I quieted her down. I should have listened and encouraged her, maybe recorded her.
This is the third time this has happened in some form. She seems to be a sleep talker. Odd thing is, she seems to be speaking a language she does not speak in her waking life. It is not little growls and purrs and meows. No, it is syllables with sounds she ordinarily can’t produce.
Sylvie is 15 1/2 years old now and very youthful. The first time it happened was a number of years ago, probably at least seven. Another cat, now deceased, was also there. I was in a state of sleep paralysis, aware of my surroundings but unable to move and vibrating pretty violently. Sylvie was on my chest, sitting with bent elbows talking into my face. I understood what she said at the time but could not remember later. Second time it happened was perhaps a year ago and I was wide awake in bed. I was flabbergasted. She was asleep then, speaking the same odd language she did recently.
I know that animals dream. Both she and other cats and dogs I have known have showed signs of it, legs twitching like they were running, perhaps mewing softly. This is different. She is definitely trying to articulate sounds which she is otherwise incapable. I have lived with many cats and three dogs over the course of my life and no other animal, save one dog, who kind of barked “mama” when coaxed, has ever spoken.
I’d like to record the syllables Sylvie speaks but it happens so seldom it would be hard to catch. I wonder if she is being possessed by a discarnate being. I’d like to hear from anyone with a similar experience.

Addendum: I recall receiving information in the past, retrieved through meditation that cats, specifically felis domesticus, led other existences during their copious sleep-time in our physical realm, so this is a possible explanation.

Am I food?
Am I food?

This comes to me from Superior Bill. Though I am horrified I am not surprised. Considering the burgeoning human overpopulation, things like this are likely to become more rather than less common unfortunately. The slaughter and eating of cats is a very inauspicious activity to engage in.

http://ph.news.yahoo.com/ap/20081218/tap-as-china-cat-protest-1st-ld-writethr-bb10fb8.html

China protest decries custom of eating cats

By GILLIAN WONG,Associated Press Writer AP – Friday, December 19

BEIJING – A southern Chinese province must stop the “shameful” and “cruel slaughter” of cats for food, a group of more than 40 animal lovers in Beijing said Thursday as they unfurled banners in a tearful protest.

Thousands of cats across the country have been caught in the past week by traders and transported to Guangdong province to be killed for food, said the protesters gathered at the Guangdong government’s office in Beijing.

“We are very angry because the cats are being skinned and then cooked alive. We must make them correct this uncivilized behavior,” said Wang Hongyao, who represented the group in submitting a letter to the Guangdong office.

The protesters urged the provincial government to crack down on cat traders and restaurants that serve cat meat, although no law says it is illegal to eat cats. It has long been common for cats and dogs to be eaten in some parts of China and in some other Asian countries.

The demonstrators held up banners saying “Cooking cats alive! Shame on Guangdong!” and “Resolutely oppose cruel slaughter” as they met with a representative of the Guangdong office.

Calls to the Guangdong provincial office in Beijing rang unanswered, while the government news office in the province refused to comment.

The protest was apparently in response to Chinese media reports in recent days that carried pictures of furry felines peering out through bamboo crates and metal cages, apparently en route to Guangzhou, Guangdong’s capital. Other pictures show cats being skinned in restaurant kitchens.

About 5,000 cats were sent from Nanjing to Guangzhou, while cats from Shanghai, Hangzhou and other places were also being rounded up, the Chengdu Business Daily reported last week. The paper said people in Guangdong eat 10,000 cats a day.

No reason was given for the increased media coverage, or if there has been an increase in cat meat consumption.

Many of the protesters in Beijing were retirees who said they have been caring for strays cats. The protesters said they believed that some street cats in Beijing, “especially the fat ones,” have disappeared and were likely nabbed by cat meat dealers.

“These cats, they are like our children,” said Cui Qingzhen, a 56-year-old woman who said she has been feeding street cats for six years. “We can’t let these people do this to them.”

The demonstrators also noted that a virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, SARS, is suspected to have been spread to humans by civet cats, mongoose-like animals considered a delicacy in southern China.

SARS was first reported in Guangdong in November 2002 and killed 774 people worldwide before subsiding in July 2003. In 2004, Guangdong banned the raising, selling, killing and eating of civet cats.

“Haven’t they learned from SARS that some animals just shouldn’t be eaten by humans?” Cui said. “Ask the Guangdong people: What else must they eat?”

Associated Press researcher Xi Yue contributed to the report.

Luz, the orphaned kitten, by Doyle Phillips.

Good news: Luz has a new home at a school for handicapped children in Mexico. They adore her. And her sore eye has been healed.

A few articles of interest about cats.

Bad news from Peru- they have a Cat Eating Festival. I may choose to cancel my plans of visiting Macchu Picchu due to this disgusting ritual. My thanks to Superior Bill for this sad news, but news we need to know and act on.

Fury over cat eating festival

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article1782932.ece

ANIMAL rights groups are up in arms over an annual festival in Peru that serves up hundreds of fried CATS to locals.

The ‘Gastronomical Festival of the Cat’ – dubbed the ‘Massacre of the Moggies’ – sees townsfolk in Canete, near Lima, feast on the fluffy pets for two days.

They believe that eating cat burgers – and fried cat legs and tails – can cure bronchial disease.

It is also believed that feline meat serves as an aphrodisiac.

The cats are bred especially for this festival – which takes place at the end of September on the Day of Santa Ifigenia.

But it has generated fury among animal rights groups.

A PETA spokesman said: ““If Peruvians really eat poor old Moggy because they think his meat cures bronchitis, that’s about as bizarre as it gets, although remember that Asians eat monkey bits thinking that will cure their impotence and even Europeans butcher poor old Bessie the cow or Henny Penny the hen, because they see them as nothing more than a bit of nourishment.

“Having toured slaughterhouses for dogs in Taiwan, horses in Texas, and chickens and cows in Europe, PETA’s staff says the last thing we need to do is add yet another poor animal to the list of those being frightened and slaughtered for a taste.

From Roxan Lucan, a item of interest about how cats’ purring is good for their health and yours as well:

Why Do Cats Purr?

Leslie A. Lyons, an assistant professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, explains:

Over the course of evolution, purring has probably offered some selective advantage to cats. Most felid species produce a “purr-like” vocalization. In domestic cats, purring is most noticeable when an animal is nursing her kittens or when humans provide social contact via petting, stroking or feeding. Although we assume that a cat’s purr is an expression of pleasure or is a means of communication with its young, perhaps the reasons for purring can be deciphered from the more stressful moments in a cat’s life.

Cats often purr while under duress, such as during a visit to the veterinarian or when recovering from injury. Thus, not all purring cats appear to be content or pleased with their current circumstances. This riddle has lead researchers to investigate how cats purr, which is also still under debate.

Scientists have demonstrated that cats produce the purr through intermittent signaling of the laryngeal and diaphragmatic muscles. Cats purr during both inhalation and exhalation with a consistent pattern and frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz. Various investigators have shown that sound frequencies in this range can improve bone density and promote healing. This association between the frequencies of cats’ purrs and improved healing of bones and muscles may provide help for some humans.

Bone density loss and muscle atrophy is a serious concern for astronauts during extended periods at zero gravity. Their musculo-skeletal systems do not experience the normal stresses of physical activity, including routine standing or sitting, which requires strength for posture control.

Because cats have adapted to conserve energy via long periods of rest and sleep, it is possible that purring is a low energy mechanism that stimulates muscles and bones without a lot of energy. The durability of the cat has facilitated the notion that cats have “nine lives” and a common veterinary legend holds that cats are able to reassemble their bones when placed in the same room with all their parts. Purring may provide a basis for this feline mythology.

The domestication and breeding of fancy cats occurred relatively recently compared to other pets and domesticated species, thus cats do not display as many muscle and bone abnormalities as their more strongly selected carnivore relative, the domestic dog. Perhaps cats’ purring helps alleviate the dysplasia or osteoporotic conditions that are more common in their canid cousins. Although it is tempting to state that cats purr because they are happy, it is more plausible that cat purring is a means of communication and a potential source of self-healing.

Answer originally published on January 27, 2003.

From Nadira Hall, we see how a cat, Mr. Green Genes, is helping science to find methods to cure diseases such as cystic fibrosis.  The cat has a manipulated gene that causes it to glow green under ultraviolet light. But is it ethical or animal cruelty?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/10/23/scicat123.xml

Scientists make cat that glows in the dark

By day he is just a normal tabby but when the lights go out this ginger cat glows in the dark.

Scientists have genetically modified a cat as part of an experiement that could lead to treatments for conditions like cystic fibrosis.

Named Mr Green Genes, he look likes a six-month-old cat but, under ultraviolet light, his eyes, gums and tongue glow a vivid lime green, the result of a genetic experiment at the Audubon Centre for Research of Endangered Species in New Orleans.

Mr. Green Genes is the first fluorescent cat in the United States and probably the world, said Betsy Dresser, the centre’s director.

The researchers made him so they could learn whether a gene could be introduced harmlessly into the feline’s genetic sequence to create what is formally known as a transgenic cat.

If so, it would be the first step in a process that could lead to the development of ways to combat diseases via gene therapy.

The gene, which was added to Mr. Green Genes’ DNA when he was created, has no effect on his health, Ms Dresser said.

Cats are ideal for this project because their genetic makeup is similar to that of humans, said Dr. Martha Gomez, a veterinarian and staff scientist at the center.

To show that the gene went where it was supposed to go, the researchers settled on one that would glow.

The gene “is just a marker,” said Leslie Lyons, an assistant professor of population health and reproduction at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, who is familiar with the Audubon center’s work.

“The glowing part is the fun part,” she said.

Glowing creatures made international news earlier this month when the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to three scientists who had discovered the gene through their work with jellyfish.

They used the gene, whose formal name is enhanced green fluorescence protein, to see how things work inside animals and even inside cells.

The fluorescence gene will go alongside the cystic-fibrosis gene and make it easy to spot. The long-term goal of this process, for which there is no timetable, is the production of what Dr Gomez calls a “knockout gene.”

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