Tuesday, July 29, 2008

speaking of pets

I was just sitting here watching the debut of this History Channel show about evolution with tonight's episode being about the development of eyes in living organisms, and the freeloader was enjoying a prolonged snooze in his special private chair right beside me. Nothing disturbed him the whole evening and he wouldn't even budge when I petted him, but about forty-five minutes into the program they started discussing the eyes of cats and in particular that luminous reflective quality they have. As the narrator talked about the biological cause for said reflectivity they ran film clips of various cats of all sizes from housecat to lion, films that were shot in the dark and basically showed a nearly black television screen with a slightly less black silhouette of the cat with prominent greenish spots of eyes shining back at the camera. The previously comatose kitty next to me was suddenly in full alert, fixedly staring at the television, ears pricked and pointed forward, and his breathing speed was elevated. He was completely transfixed by what really amounted to a pair of green dots bouncing around the television and remained that way until that part of the show had been over for a couple of minutes.

I am constantly delighted by the faculties that three billion years of evolution have been able to embue the residents of this planet. How can anybody need gods when nature is so amazing?


Blogger Christopher said...

I've never tried to purposely tease my cats, but it is funny how they've reacted to things like a CD of bird songs, or birds appearing on the television screen. (Once, when a bird on the television jumped off a branch and disappeared from the screen my cat ran around behind the television to see where it went.) And now I have a dog who reacts to sounds and images on the television.
Obviously there was a time when peoples' understanding of nature was so limited they felt a need to invent gods to explain it. And there are some who, I think mainly out of insecurity, don't want to let go of those beliefs. I'm amazed by nature, and I'm quite comfortable believing that nature is amazing all by itself without some hairy thunderer in the background.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Mary K. Goddard said...

Yes, the kittehs do pay close attention to sights and sounds. I discovered I could not play any of the animal sound ringtones available on the web (I was "shopping" for something new) or my cats went bonkers.

Cleo used to LOVE watching Meerkat Manor, and they all respond with great curiosity when we watch wildlife shows with calling parrots and growling big cats. They used to respond to our parrot, too. I never allowed them to have kitteh toys with feathers on them until after the parrot was adopted out. They did not need to taught to play with feathers! Now they have one toy with feathers.

As for the girls, the kittehs, they get to watch TV (the real television) and CAT TV (the bird feeders at 5 of our windows) every day all day, bang their heads on the window pane trying to catch the finches that land on the window sill several times a day while they keep vigil, and go out in the evening and watch the mockingbird jump around the back fence scolding them until dusk, and chase crickets after dark.

I am, like you, not inclined to think there is some guy with a beard tossing lightning bolts from his throne in the clouds, but I'm not convinced there is not some sort of "order" or force or direction to the universe that we have yet to identify and account for. I probably won't know in time to share the knowledge with anyone on this planet.

Still, I live my life to the fullest and do the best that I can to make this life good for myself AND OTHERS. Whether my actions come back to me in this life, the next, or not at all, doesn't really matter. I still wish to do the right thing. Silly me.

11:34 PM  

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