If you're not knitting, the terrorists win

(My mostly on-topic ramblings about knitting. And life in general. My life in specific.)

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle aged mother of 2 grown children and wife to a man who doesn't seem to mind my almost heroin-like yarn addiction. I spend my time writing, knitting, and generally stressing out.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Inter-Species Gifting

I don't know about you, but I tend to give my cats and dog a lot of gifts. Not just Christmas (although, let's just say Santa was pretty generous with the four-legged members of my family this year), but also just gifts for fun.

They don't give me anything material in return, by the way. Unless you count slightly used cat food. (Ack!) Gabgab has obviously developed bulimia. She tends to eat until she actually pukes. Sometimes right back into the food dish.(So now, they can no longer eat at their leisure. I pick the dish up before she can gorge herself. There is less cat puke to clean up that way.)

Not that I often get the opportunity to clean it up. If Gengen gets to it first... (Double ack!) It's really kinda gross how much that dog loves predigested cat food. I highly suspect she is whispering things to Gabby when I'm not around. Things like "You look fat in that fur" and "Have you gained weight?" and "Don't worry about not being built like a Purina model. You have a great personality and a cute face." and "I wish I were confident enough to not care what other people think about my figure."

When I was a kid and we had outdoor cats (we lived out in the boonies), they brought me gifts all the time. Seriously. All the time. The front porch was like a viscera mine field. And let me tell you, if a dead mole or a headless bird is the ultimate expression of love, then my cats loved me more than any person on earth has ever been loved.

Yeah, yeah. I know my adulthood cats love me. They just give me less tangible gifts. They keep me company, pose for my blog, listen to me rant, purr me to sleep... These are gifts I would not trade. Especially not for dead birds. (So, if you're wondering what I might like for my birthday this year, cross that off your list right now.)

Apparently, according to some animal behavior scientists, that kind of gift-giving behavior is pretty rare in animals. Still, I was not surprised to read this article about dolphins in Australia bringing gifts to humans. The human staff at the Tangalooma Island Resort have reported 23 incidences of dolphins bringing valuable (to dolphins, mind you. Eels and seaweed are also not on my birthday gift list) gifts to them.

Scientists don't really know why the dolphins do this, but they think it may be for a couple of reasons. The humans were regularly wading into the water to feed fish to the wild dolphins, so maybe the dolphins were just reciprocating in kind. After all, it's only polite.

Or, perhaps the dolphins were giving the humans a gift as a way of initiating a friendship--Hey, here's a dead eel. Wanna play? (My childhood cat friends could certainly get behind this.)

Or, maybe the dolphins just felt sorry for the poor humans, as if they weren't able to adequately fend for themselves. I'm imagining a whole dolphin charity movement--Save The Humans--in which kind-hearted dolphins give a portion of their food to less fortunate humans. (Of course, there will always be those other dolphins who turn up their noses and claim the humans are just scamming them for their fish and that most humans drive better cars and eat better than they do anyway. You really can't do much about those dolphins. They won't listen.)

This makes me think of my cats (back to cats again). Whenever we are coming home from work (usually around midnight) Achilles is always in the front window, waiting. Sometimes, I've stopped at Kroger on the way home since it's convenient for me to do my grocery shopping at that time of night. T and I will put the bags on the dining room table and Achilles immediately hops up to check them out. I mean, he really examines them.

Now, Achilles is about the smartest cat I've ever even heard of, but I'm not sure that he fully understands the concept of "going to work and then stopping at the grocery store on the way home." I imagine he simply thinks of it as "hunting" and he is checking out how well I did when I get home.

Of course, I don't always stop at the grocery store on the way home. Do you suppose he thinks I'm a crappy hunter?


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