Sense & Sensuality, succulence, spirit. And some satire and sarcasm. But not as much. This is the yummy page.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Delicious Grace Of Moving One's Paw

A quirk of kitties--at least my kitty--that I never understood:

The whole mousie is never half as interesting as the tail of the same mousie just protruding under the door, or around a corner.

And then I thought: well, in a way it's the same impulse that makes humans find a half-dressed, half-lit figure more attractive than a straightforward nude. Or why the scariest part of the horror movie is right before the monster reveals itself...and why that's also often the best part.

Anticipation. Almost always more exciting than the event itself. Which requires a certain amount of imagination, or so I would have thought. Maybe it does, at that.

It's just not something I would have attributed to a cat, imagination. Because we don't, generally speaking. It seems too sophisticated. And yet, there it is. In fact, sometimes if the game's not challenging enough, he'll go around the corner and hide himself. Peekaboo. It's not the having; it's the stalking. But why?


  • At 6:36 AM, Anonymous duffer said…

    lacan - it's all about the journey, not the arrival; to arrive is to die

    rocky horror - an-tissssss-i-pa-tion!

    funny how cats have it too

    dogs on the other hand....

  • At 3:00 PM, Blogger belledame222 said…

    Yeah, dogs are more old-school: a certain blend of old-school existentialism and the Cartesian.

    "I PEE, therefore I AM."

  • At 8:40 PM, Anonymous Trinity said…

    I think that's what's so extremely hot about knifeplay. Most people I know, at least, don't do it to cut... it's the OH MY GOD she has a KNIFE that's so amazing.

  • At 10:49 AM, Blogger Mark H. Foxwell said…

    We have a tendency to overestimate the difference between our thought processes and those of animals I think. Sure, there are big differences, based on sheer brain size and most of all on the tremendous possibilities opened up by language (as well as the ability to manipulate the environment with hands), but all this is on top of or an expansion of basic gear that any mammal has. The way I see it, the main function of the brain is to attempt to model the world the creature is living in, to enable it to anticipate things and plan ahead, and just about any kind of animal has a running picture of "what's going on" in terms of what is relevant to its own mode of life. Mammals I think can generally consider unreal possibilities. And why play around? Partially to explore those possibilities, all toward a greater and higher situational awareness.

    About 15-20 years ago Scientific American used to have some great articles about psychology; one was about dreams in placental mammals. The point was that they found that one of the brain waves we mammals put out when we dream (and we all do) is _also_ present in some characteristic activity the animal does toward its main survival strategy. If we assume this suggests that the animal actually dreams about this activity, then dogs dream of chasing, horses of running, mice of exploring (a mouse will explore a maze before it eats, even if placed in the maze right by some food when it is starving), rabbits of hiding--and cats, of stalking. These are the activities the animals are doing when emitting the wave (I think it is the "theta wave") while awake.

    It suggests then that we dream as a way of practicing dry runs of our major survival tactic. Thus a cat dreams of stalking, and we can well imagine it imagines doing so and daydreams about it.

    The article very frustratingly failed to mention what it is humans are doing when _we_ emit theta waves while awake. I suspect it has to do with talking--specifically, it happens when we tell stories or read fiction or a very good non-fiction account of something or other. Narrative imagination, that's my guess. We live to narrate.

  • At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If we live to narrate, the game is almost over - everyone will be narrating via myspace or youtube or a blog before long. you/we/i are/am the media...the source of the problem.

  • At 3:14 AM, Blogger Cassandra Says said…

    Cats demonstrate quite a lot of imagination, actually. How else can they play the "I'm going to pretend that my toy mouse is alive by batting it with my paw and then run and hide so I can stalk it" game. That looks like conscious suspension of disbelief to me.
    Trinity - I'm with you on knifeplay. In fact I'd say BSDM in general depends on anticipation more than anything.
    One of the reasons to be wary of acting out fantasies - what if they're boring in real life?


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