What is a cat? Or, better asked, who are these cats that live with me?
Naturalists speak of the cat in the context of domestication, and remind us they are far less domestic than our canine friends. Certainly when I watch movies of wild cats, or observe large wild cats in zoos, I see much of my cats' behaviors in them.
Are these cats that live with me little lions, little cheetahs? Do they hear the echos of their wild cousins? Certainly cats become "feral" in one generation. They must remember, they must feel the call to hunt. They certainly are always alert and aware of their environment, as their wild cousins must be to survive.
I have heard many people speak of cats as "aloof" and "not needing human companionship." I wonder who these people are and if they have ever actually lived with a cat. My clan is ever present, involved in all that I do, inspecting my activities, joining in, voicing their opinions. Even as I type this, one is standing on my shoulders (ouch). I am always amused at the number of cat beds spread throughout our rooms that go unused at night (they are used in the daytime when I am not home) as the entire clan decides to pile in bed with us instead, and I usually end up struggling to negotiate enough real estate to just roll over.
They are wild and yet they are not wild. They have bridged the gap to live with us. Is it a compromise they have chosen freely or are they just amazingly adaptable?
And the bigger question, what of their spirit? What of my spirit? I am a biological being with a genetic heritage. So are they. How does our biology contribute to our essence? How much of our spirit is tied to our biology and how much of us is greater than that which we were born into?
Little did I know, I was on the path to beginning to find the answers to these questions.