51 thoughts on “Basement Cat

    1. I vaguely recall a NOVA or Animal Planet documentary, pointing out that housecats were far and away the most profligate predators per kg on the planet. Most predators have several (e.g. 1-5) prey species and kill to eat. Housecats have something like 120 regularly-killed prey species and kill as a form of entertainment.

      Its not all their fault, of course. A couple of thousand years of humans selecting the best mousers probably had something to do with it.

      1. While I don’t dispute that cats are effective predators, I suspect that your statistics are profoundly flawed.

        Housecats have something like 120 regularly-killed prey species

        Totalled globally, that might be true. But for any one specific house cat, or even the house cat population of a particular town I suspect the figure would be far fewer. And the comparable figure for dogs? Or any other species that is as widely distributed as cats or dogs?

        and kill as a form of entertainment.

        You mean the little presents that they leave on the back doorstep? Don’t you realise that the cat is trying to teach you, pathetic human, how to hunt?

        1. I agree. I fully admit I haven’t read the studies yet and would love to see their methods. I believe that there may be many species involved, but not nearly the carnage they make it out to be (Some have claimed birds are more at risk than from any other human influence? Please).

          Entertainment is a human interpretation. Short of really good cat behavior studies there is no way to know why a cat doesn’t eat their kill – the dead animal may be unpalatable for some reason too.

          1. The observation of a queen cat bringing back a half-dead food animal and encouraging the kittens to play with it is as old as the hills. I’ve never heard anyone who has an interpretation of it other than as a teaching behaviour. It’s consistent with other felids ; it works. OK, so it’s a bit more gory than sitting at a classroom table, but how clean were you the last time you ate a meal a quarter the size of your head, using nothing but your teeth?

      1. Ditto Baihu…though it’s been too hot and / or too wet the past couple months (and likely for another month yet) to go outside. Not that he thinks so…but, then again, I have no desire to see first-hand what a blistered cat paw looks like….

        Leashes. They’re not just for dogs any more!



        1. We walk Impy, our biggest black cat, on a leash on the back patio, which is surrounded by a five-foot wall. Impy is blind from various mishaps during his time as a stray, but the walks give him confidence and he loves them. He doesn’t understand that some days it’s too hot for his paws.

          1. Hot enough to burn the paws of a cat? Remind me where you guys live again, so I can avoid the place, or charge double-bubble if I do get asked to go there.
            Mind you, I do remember making the mistake of kneeling down to wire up a 100A cable once near the Saudi Arabia / Abu Dhabi border. Ow ow ow ow! Not a mistake I’ll be making again. It didn’t bother the local cat population though.

            1. Land of saguaros and gila monsters. Lots of copper, no oil (except jojoba, LOL!). Unlike parts of Saudi Arabia, we aren’t hot enough to precipitate anhydrite on the ground surface. But we do have places with selenite crystals in the soil. The ground in summer is too hot for kitty paws (or bare human feet) except early in the morning. But the horned lizards love it!

              1. hMMM, 60-odd centigrade for the gypsum (selenite) to anhydrite transition, but off the top of my head that’s for equilibrium with the ions in aqueous solution. But it’s not a very clean equilibrium – lots of effects from other dissolved ions, organic matter, etc.
                Hot enough for the cat that’s not used to it. But the strays in the corners of the souk, hunting rats around the canteen and the camp … not a problem.
                The probable source of (most) of the domesticated moggie is the Egyptian “Miaou” ; so I wouldn’t have too much concern about your cat not being able to handle the heat. (Which doesn’t mean that Kot-chik doesn’t howl piteously.)

          1. Even though housecats are originally a desert-adapted species, locking one outside in the Sonoran urban desert in the heat of summer would be quite the act of cruelty.


            1. You wouldn’t think that by how the police and animal control ignore our calls when our neighbors violate that rule.

              We’re in New England so it’s more been a case of locking them outside in -2F weather.

              1. I’m reminded of the recent discussion here about morality and empathy, and left wondering why people are so certain that humans are moral animals. For the most part, we’re not; we’re moralizing animals, which is not the same thing at all.


              2. *Gasp sacrelidge! Didn’t the Bible thumpers ever educate you on how Humans rule the earth? ūüėČ

                (Moralizing animals – very good point. Wish I had made it myself on that last post….)

    1. Exclamation marks are used to indicate surprise or perhaps in this case a command. Perhaps it should read: Sign your soul over to this cute moggie!
      Nevertheless, I am immune to such exhortations. I do not possess a soul (white men can neither jump nor dance) nor do I respond favorably to cute (like most predators I prefer the young, they are usually more tender and easier to catch).

        1. I’ve seen him on stage back when he was a regular at Stages Rep and The Alley in Houston. A lot of times stage actors do badly on TV because their exaggerated expressions and gestures don’t work on the small screen. The style is perfect for Sheldon.

          I’m reminded of Katherine Helmond, who transitioned to the small screen after an even longer stage career.


      Pussy cats are sleek and svelte.
      We had one; it smelt of smelt.
      Pussy cats are soft of tum,
      Emit a 50-cycle hum
      And spend their nights on top of fences
      Thanks to sensitive proprioceptors
      (Some of them don’t know what sense is,
      take a long time to accept us.)
      Pussy cats are often found

      [nasty anti-cat 1966 student humour omitted]

      They are nice to have around
      at other times; they’re warm. And that’s
      All I know of pussy cats.

      1. Why Cheshire? Lewis Carrol was born in Daresbury which is in Cheshire. There’s an `Alice’ stained glass window in Darebury church. It’s walking distance from Daresbury Lab, if you’re ever there.

        1. I’ll keep that in mind…sadly, I doubt I’ll have a chance to make it off the hemisphere in the foreseeable future…and I’ve yet to figure out how to piggyback on Baihu’s excursions there….


        2. Daresbury? The nuclear lab?
          Well you learn something every day (assuming that you didn’t die last night).
          Mind you, it seems that someone knows their local history : ALICE (accelerator), an electron accelerator previously known as ERLP (Energy Recovery Linac Prototype).
          Accursed soulless scientists with their utter lack of empathy, humour and imagination!

  1. Omg, STOP! Too……cute!

    This is why I have a will for my cats. Because I can’t imagine that sad little soul in a shelter if I croaked tomorrow.

  2. Cat’s Funeral

    by E.V. Rieu

    Bury her deep, down deep,
    Safe in the earth’s cold keep,
    Bury her deep-

    No more to watch bird stir;
    No more to clean dark fur;
    No more to glisten as silk;
    No more to revel in milk;
    No more to purr.
    Bury her deep, down deep;

    She is beyond warm sleep.
    She will not walk in the night;
    She will not wake to the light.
    Bury her deep.

  3. Indoor cats. No bird or bunny killings. No fleas. No being targeted by a**holes with guns just out to shoot a living thing.

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