CAT TALES: TWO
Cats have demonstrated many talents through time. Recently a cat’s talent was blamed for a man criminal acts —stealing a car, robbing a bank, and ramming a police car.
When the Fayette County, Pennsylvania, man was caught, he told state troopers that a “cat told him to take the car and get the money with the plastic gun.” He stole the mid-size car when the same cat “jumped up on the car and told him to steal it.” He wasn’t as successful getting the money. As he exited through the bank’s front door he dropped a plastic bag filled with cash, scattering $582 in 50s, 20s, 10s and other denominations. He next backed the car into the front of a pursuing state police vehicle, stating that the “cat was telling him to hit the cops.” He fled. Troopers took him into custody when he lost control of his car, causing the pursuing police car to hit him.
Chalk up one for a cat in control. Perhaps a cat needs to get his tongue. Maybe he would talk less.
In ancient times, a criminal’s punishment sometimes including have his tongue cut out; the tongue was fed to the King’s pets. Hence, there is some historical truth to the phrase “cat got your tongue?”
Oscar, a Rhode Island cat, has a different talent. He can predict when someone is going to die. Because of his gift he is portrayed as a furry grim reaper or four-legged angel of death.
Oscar was raised as a therapy cat in a nursing and rehabilitation center after being adopted from an animal shelter when he was a kitten. Patients at the center suffer severe dementia and/or are in the final stages of various illnesses.
From the time Oscar was about six months old the staff noticed that he curled up to sleep with patients who were about to die. He has accurately predicted about 50 deaths.
There is no scientific evidence to explain Oscar’s abilities, but the thought is that the cat might be responding to a pheromone or smell that humans simply don’t recognize.
Or perhaps he knows something that scientists are still studying—that a death fluorescence, observed as a glowing blue color within worms, spreads predictably from cell to cell until the entire creature is dead.
Apparently this isn’t science fiction, as the strongest colors perceived by cats are purple, green, and blue.
Whatever the root, Oscar exhibits a special gift that has been acknowledged by families who thank him, in obituaries, for providing some comfort to persons in their final hours of life.
At one time, people believed that fur and blood drawn from various parts of the cat’s anatomy cured all ailments.
Early American colonists believed that a broth made from boiling a black cat would cure tuberculosis, but no one wanted to risk the bad luck that would befall them if they killed the cat.
Cat owners are generally fiercely protective of their feline friends, which may be why a new website, “Cats to Go,” calling for the eradication of New Zealand’s domestic cat population is gaining attention. It states that we must overcome our denial and acknowledge that we are harboring a natural born killer, a serial killer.
The premise behind the eradication of the cat population is conservation: protecting and enhancing New Zealand’s native fauna, even supporting a predator-free country. The web site claims that New Zealand’s domestic cats have helped drive nine native bird species into extinction and that the remaining 33 endangered native bird species are endangered.
The request isn’t that pet owners kill their cats, but that once these pets have died they not be replaced.
Fierce cat lovers are giving the website backlash demanding it not deprive them of the beautiful companionship that a cat can provide individually and as a family. Scientists say eradicating cats is a too simplistic solution for revitalizing the bird population: cats kill rats, which also kill birds.
Some people who wanted to get rid of a cat but were afraid of the consequences went so far as to hire professional feline “hit men.”
Stay tuned for more cat tales in the future.