Cat Herder

Here it is, Friday August 10th, and time for my first blog post here at SFNovelists.  I was going to do some writing neepery but evidently that is not required so instead I am going to talk about my cats. 

You know how there are dog people and cat people?  I grew up in a house with a series of beloved big dogs: Gordon setters, Irish setters, English setters.  But I am not a dog person.  Not terribly surprising, as my younger sister was mauled by a big dog when she was 7 (took 69 stitches to fix her up) and I live next door to a sociopath who trains his dogs to be vicious and doesn’t believe in the leash law…

So we have cats.  Two of ‘em, Sparkle (The Smart One) and Feather (The Stupid One).  Sparkle has tabby ears and a tabby tail and the rest of her is white so that she looks as if somebody picked her up by each end and dipped her in bleach.  She makes an appearance in my novel, where she is known as “Lady” and sometimes as “Lady-the-cat” (though she is not, in fact, a cat).  The Stupid One is a pretty torbi. 

 Anyway, I know very little about cats.  They seem to be not pack animals as dogs and humans are.  They seem to be not tame.  They use their litter boxes, except when they don’t feel like it.  They have something to do with hairballs.  They fight with each other every morning at 9:00 and every evening at 10:00. 

 After the 10:00 p.m. tussle, Sparkle comes up and sits on my stomach while I am reading and puts her face up to my face and starts purring.  As requested, I pet her.  If I stop petting, say to turn a page, she puts her paw on my face with the implicit threat that the claws will come out if I don’t get on with it.  I pet some more.  Then the kneading starts, moving from my chest to my neck.  The neck kneading is scary.  She presses her paws against my jugular vein, as if she remembers that she is the hunter and I am the prey and is considering ripping my throat out. 

If there’s anything else you think I should know about cats, tell me, please.

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There are 6 comments. Get the RSS feed for comments on this entry.

  1. 1. Jeremiah Tolbert

    Nobody actually knows why cats purr. There are theories, but it’s basically a mystery.

  2. 2. Steph Burgis

    Funnily enough, I used to be a cat person and became a dog person as I got older…

    In case you haven’t seen this yet, you’d probably get even more of a kick out of this YouTube video than I did: the most tolerant cat EVER! (There’s no way any of my family’s cats would have let a turtle get away with this…)

  3. 3. SarahP

    I know why cats purr. To tell you that you have propitiated them, and for the time being they will refrain from ripping your throat out.

    The Stupid One just spent 10 minutes kneading my tummy, which I take to mean it’s time to start doing sit ups every day.

    Steph, that’s a fun video–thanks!

  4. 4. Marie Brennan

    They seem to be not tame.

    They’re probably tame, but what they aren’t is domesticated. I forget the actual term the professor used, when I was assistant-teaching a class on animal domestication, but “domestic” cats are physiologically and behaviorally all but identical to their closest wild relatives — there’s nothing even vaguely approaching the difference between wolves and domesticated dogs. We didn’t change them, the way we’ve changed other animals. There just came a point in time when we formed a mutually beneficial relationship with them.

  5. 5. DiFrancis

    And of course your post requires the old ad about cat herding:

    I love that ad.


  6. 6. SarahP

    Oh my. Di, I hadn’t seen that ad before and it made me weep–yes WEEP–with laughter.

Author Information

Sarah Prineas

Sarah lives in Iowa City, Iowa with her mad scientist husband and two kids. Author of the Magic Thief series; the first book is coming in summer 2008 from HarperCollins and a bunch of other publishers around the world. Visit site.



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