Thinking Wild

I bet if I could keep in mind that my cats are more wild than not, I would love them even more than I do. Which would be hard to imagine, loving them more that is.

In our lives together, I could feel disappointed a lot. Cats take us on such sufferance. You know those names we blog-humans call ourselves. “The staff,” “the help,” “the warden.” I once heard this: Cats are ideal for people who enjoy feeling rejected.

I remember, as if I could forget, what it was like, at first, for my little stray Bugs and me who knew absolutely not one single solitary thing about cats.  One of my friends called Bugs a . . . thug.  Any time I tried to relate, he would stalk out of the room.  Then there was the body-wrap idea, the ass-over-teakettle egg-roll . . . the gore.

Cats are – cats.

domesticate2 002-crop

(I need to get that glass replaced.)

I do prize that poster. The artist is Ed Young, my t’ai chi teacher of long ago. Ed lives in Westchester County with two daughters – and two cats. (Of course.)

Lately I’ve been thinking. If Bugs were a wild creature, a lynx, say, or a fox,  I would take it as an absolute miracle any time I could get near enough to lay a hand on.

Our species have been close for a long, long time – Sarah Hartwell says as long as 10,000 years – but, really, cats are still pretty much wild at heart. As she notes, the “proliferation of feral cat colonies demonstrates that modern domestic cats retain enough of their wild ancestry to successfully revert to the wild state . . . identical to their domestic cousins in every way except for temperament.” She further notes, as to the cats we keep indoors out of harm’s way, that that inherent wildness is what “keeps pet behaviourists in business.”

So I want to take every little gesture the boys make toward me – every little cock of the head, every little mew and purr and trill, every little once-in-a-blue-moon bit of spontaneous affection – as an absolute stone miracle.

domesticated 002-cropHello ma.

domesticated 001-cropThanks for breakfast.


About nadbugs

Anita loves cats. This must be because she, too, has had nine lives. She’s been dancing since she could walk, she was a commercial artist and advertising producer, she earned a third-degree black belt in Aikido, she is a drummer with the Afrique Aya Dance Company, she is an attorney, and she’s a meditator and a devoted student of Nonviolent Communication. She also spent one lifetime sidelined with a devastating back injury in 1992. Since then – FELDENKRAIS METHOD® to the rescue. The FELDENKRAIS METHOD is all about dreaming concretely – thinking intelligently and independently by way of a gracious and kind physicality. The work affords all who study it a process by which to reach, with movement, into the mind and the heart, to make nine lives into one whole being.
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13 Responses to Thinking Wild

  1. Love it, human. *(Trillllllls)* ♥

  2. Karen Lucas says:

    I just love your blog; wanted to say that my experience has been this: we adopted, over a two year period, 4 cats who were all from 6 weeks to 4 months old and they were all loving, adjusted well to and really loved each other and were not wild at all with us. Since they are gone, we have adopted 5 old cats. We got a 5 year old female who was abandoned in a trailer and it has taken her 4 years to adjust – she loves to sleep in the husband’s lap now and does the lovey eyes thing but if you touch her at the wrong time, she runs away or swats. Then we got two 14 year old females who were taken to a shelter on Christmas day and were in a cage so small that they slept on top of each other in their litter pan. They were also very sweet and loving and great with us and with the 5 year old and she ignored them. Then we got a male who was 12 and who had been on the streets. He is also very sweet with us but terrorized one of the 14 year olds and the 5 year old so he stayed in a separate room. Then we adopted a 12 year old who lost her home. The 14 year olds had died and we hoped the 12 year old female would get along with the 5 year old but instead she and the male terrorize the 5 year old (who is now 9) . The 12 year old is very good with the humans and she and the male tolerate each other but the wildness is just under the surface with all 3 of them so I wonder how much it has to do with the temperament of the cat and how much it has to do with getting them very young so they are used to being touched and picked up and treated with love or how much it has to do with how they are treated when very young. For example, we were told that the 5 year old had been abused by the grandson of the lady she lived with. Sorry to go one and on but it’s so very different to live with cats who didn’t grow up with us

    • Oldcat says:

      Obviously bad experience can add to caution. My cat Gus was adopted young and had a very nervous disposition for most of his life. Sometimes a cat is just looking for a way to express itself to you and hasn’t found it yet.

  3. Sparkle says:

    Yep, it’s certainly a miracle around here that we tolerate my human’s foibles!

  4. Cats & Co says:

    Reminds me of a book I’m reading. ‘Cat Sense’ by John Bradshaw. For a good long chapter he talks about cats behaviour and how it’s possible that we humans were able to ‘tame’ them as they originally come from wild animals. 🙂 It’s pretty interesting.

  5. Cats are more tame than we are!

  6. Kitties Blue says:

    Loved: “Cats are ideal for people who enjoy feeling rejected.” Maybe that’s why we have eight so that at least one will love us at any given time. The Hello Ma photo is just purrfect…that expression needs no words. XO, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  7. dezizworld says:

    Da boys suwe be handsum. Meez dusn’t weally agwee wiff yous wejected statement, but is yous opinion and yous entitled. 🙂 Meez and meez sisfuw luv and adowe ow mommy and wuldn’t wanna liv any whewe els or any uddew way. And affection be ow middle names. MOL Wees always luvvin’ on mommy and each uddew. 🙂 Hope yous hav a Pawsum day!!

    Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses ♥♥♥


  8. Aww, my boys never reject me – but it’s because I know better than to ask them to come away from a puddle of sunshine! Woke up this morning facing the hubby, him facing me, and both cats right up in between us at hug-level, my arm on top of both of them. It was just perfect, until my alarm went off!

    Having a Bengal means I get a bit more of the wild than most, but it comes out in odd ways.

  9. Wazeau says:

    I’m lucky in that the quantity of love and affection my cats deal to me is the amount I need and want. And my current pair are really the most affectionate cats I’ve ever had – we respect each other’s boundaries but they let me know they own me (errr…. love me) in undeniable ways. Now the parrots on the other hand, what a bunch of clingy buggers! Love the photos! That ruff is impressive.

  10. Carolyn says:

    A cat is a cat is a cat and we wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

  11. Melanie says:

    Hello there! It’s been awhile. 🙂
    I read somewhere that we didn’t domesticate cats, as much as they domesticated themselves in order to have an ample food source in the form of the mice found in our grain silos and bins. I’d totally believe it.

    I love the wildness in them too. Sometimes I am a bit envious of it, since society is marginally more accepting of feral cats than it would be of feral humans… which is what I sometimes suspect my natural state would be, hah.

  12. What a small world. I used to live around the corner from Ed and my hubby studied with tai chi in Chinatown with shr jung in the early 70s and he recently wrote a piece for Huffpo called Men of Tai Chi. Cats will never be fully domesticated. It’s one of reasons I love them.

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