23 February, 2012

Secret life of cats


'A cat is a cat is a cat.'

These were the first words spoken by my medicine lecturer on the first day of fourth year classes at vet school. Cats in those days (the early 1980s), were still thought of as small dogs. We studied canine medicine, canine pharmacology, canine surgery, and just co-opted those ideas into the feline model. It worked well most of the times, except for the occasional time when a cat would have a raging morphine mania, or react ferociously to some topical drug we applied to kill fleas and ticks. But the odd loss of a cat was considered acceptable. They were still the poor cousins to more important species, namely dogs. We got on with learning everything about dogs. We had a feline specialist who give us a lecture during fourth year, a grey-haired old professor who had published the definitive book on feline diseases. It was a best-selling book on cat diseases. This professor was considered an odd ball for only being interested in feline medicine. I also recall going to see him in relation to a constipated cat that I couldn't fix in final year of university. His parting words haunt me to this day.

‛I know nothing about cats,’ he said, ‛and I challenge anyone to know more than I do.’ I could swear his pupils dilated slit-like before I left the room.

Most vets like cats, although there is the odd sanguineous-type ones who remark that ‛they liked cats but that they couldn't eat a whole one.’ I have worked with quite a few who complain that cats just sit around all day, do nothing except destroy the wildlife and expect to get fed for it, comparing them to dole-bludgers at best. Such remarks are obvious oblivious to the truth that the worst predator of nature is of course man, and the least productive of species (in terms of creative use of resources) is of course industrialised man.

As a veterinary student, I was one of the more eccentric types in my class of mostly young, late-pubescent males. I was, at the time, a vegetarian who owned an unruly and at times destructive black dog (at the time I didn’t realise the symbolism of that dog, but that’s another story all together). I tended to skip a lot of classes, struggling with agoraphobia, depression and an overwhelming urge to ‛really do something with my life!’ It would take years for me to learn that doing is not as important as being, and by then I was comfortable ensconced in a feline practise that allowed me to be cat like, sitting around most days, doing little except my hobby of tending to sick cats.

I didn't remember much else of my university classes on cats, except that cats has this peccadillo about their liver enzymes, an exotic type of hypersensitivity to drugs, especially aspirin, Tylenol, and a million other chemicals, a bit like a skid-row alcoholic whose liver is so shot that one drink would kill him. Cats don't drink, but they sure can die real quick from a sip of aspirin. I had spent most of his twenty odd years at that time buried in scholarly books, but knew that a cat had five weapons, none of them blunt. Cats have many enemies, the worse one being themselves.

I remembered little else from university days about cats. Just a few other interesting comments made by a surgical specialist who remarked flippantly that if a cat had a broken leg, as long as the two bones are in the same room, they’ll knit right back together again. Well, let me tell you - I was to prove this wrong many times before I came to realise, after ten years of working exclusively with cats that nothing is true in the cat world except the undeniable fact that no one knows anything about cats.

The history of cats

If you follow the money trail, the history of cats dates back to around the time of Adam and Eve. The money trail is peppered by historians, who are paid reasonably well these days to dig up bones, carbon-date and DNA test felidae and write the history of cats as an evolutionary branch of wild cats. Historians are clever detectives. Cats, according to grave diggers, originated in that cradle of civilisation, the old Lemuria of antiquity, Cyprus, where feline bones have been found that date back to around 10,000 BC. It is likely that Eve was the first owner of a pet cat, and she probably wished her cat had not been snoozing under a bush so that it could shoo off that horrid snake that caused so many problems for the first humans.

If you follow the love trail (that is, those who study the pursuit of passion rather than the motivation of money), the rabbit-hole of enquiry about where cats really came from, it would lead you to a very different habitat, a place off-planet, in a a constellation known as Sirius A. Sirius is one of the brightest stars in the heavens, and despite the ocular illusion, it is actually binary (two stars); Sirius A and Sirius B. In common terms, we call it the dog star, though any cat would be offended should you call it so. This confusion perpetuates the veterinary conundrum where most of us think of them as small dogs.

Within the Sirius A system, you would see a bipedal humanoid who is the living progenitors of earth’s cats. Interestingly, they are a bipedal humanoid with a cat-like head not unlike the face of Bast that so many ailurophiles (cat lovers) worship. The felidae are members of the Sirian-Pleiadean Alliance as well as the Niburian Mastery Council. As some people would known, the Niburian Mastery Council have of late received much discredit as they are responsible for the dark Cabal that presently runs the world banks. This however is a discredit to felidae, who have only an honorary position on this board. Any cat will affirm that they support the Illuminati (after all, a rich human will feed them better than a poor one), and some of the most famous of them have been intimate bedfellows with the Rothchilds’ families for many years. A little known truth is that cats are really double agents, reporting to both the Illuminati as well as secretly revealing insider information to the White Hats - colloquially known as WhiskerLeaks.

They say that cats’ eyes are the eyes of God. Well, it not entirely accurate. They are telepathic transmitters to humanoid monitors who receive messages via cerebral implants located within cats. All cats report back to Sirius A, apart from a few rogue species, especially the tortoiseshell breed of domestic cats, who report directly to the Illuminati. This ‛naughty torti’ should never be trusted. They have been directly linked with the increasing push by ‛big brother’ for the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA). Tortoiseshells are the bane of my clinic. They are the first to bite, the first to rip out all their stitches post-operatively, and the last to take a pill orally. I attribute it to the ‛Red Head’ gene, but this is a disservice to Red Heads, whom ginger cats happily belong to and are neither naughty or Illuminati-controlled.

As most ‛in tune’ people now know, the planet earth is entering the Age of Aquarius. What this essentially means, ignoring the celestial alignment of planets and the influx of galactic fourth-dimensional energy waves, is that most rules are being broken down to assimilate a unity of consciousness. Cats are implicated in this transition which began in 1987 and concludes at around 2017. In feline medicine, this transition has resulted in an enormous shift in feline medicine from the problem-based diagnose and drug to the evidence-based collate and cure. What this essentially means is that feline medicine is now moving away from the simplistic method of diagnosing an illness and treating with an appropriate medicine to a more holistic paradigm of multi-diagnostic testing for possible multi-organ involvement in disease through evidence-based medicine and then treating holistically by evoking a response toward health rather than an elimination of a problem-based orientation. The notion of ‛cure’ in feline medicine is admittedly an ambitious one, but as the saying goes, if we aim for the stars, we might at least reach the moon.

Feline Kama Sutra

I often think that most cats should be classified as closeted gays or at least suffering chronic gender dysphoria. With due respect to the sacred bonds of homosexuality, cats are often in full denial until the very last moment of acquiescence. Although masturbation is a frequent past-time of male cats, it is often a sign of boredom in domestic felines.

When it comes to their sex life, a cats body language is often ‛I don’t want him. I definitely don’t want him!’ These word, usually uttered as snarling howls, often precede the act of coitus by only a few minutes. It is not so much that cats hate sex, but that they are almost reluctant to get into it compared to other species. Perhaps it involves too much energy for an otherwise laid-back Garfield. Perhaps this is why the act of feline sex usually lasts only a few seconds each time. Maybe they realise what monks have long known, that sex really is overrated, rather than x-rated.

The feline kama-sutra would compose only three lines.

This is how we do it.

This is how we don’t do it.

It's done.