Thursday, June 19, 2008

More on the wild in our lives

People who have pet cats sometimes have to give them baths. Apparently some cats don't mind, but some do.

This little kitty named Tesla is not too happy about the process.

A problem with cats is, they like to roam around and occasionally fight other kitties. They are in danger from cars, other cats, and dogs. As long as the kitties are fixed and vaccinated, I think it's ok for them to be outside. Most animals live longer in captivity, including zoo animals, but being indoors versus being outside seems like a big price to pay.

However I recently met a man hiking who has a house kitty. He claims his cat has never been allowed to leave the house and is happy. And I've heard older cats don't mind being indoors. I think it's a balance between the kitty's happiness and how upset the owner will feel if the cat gets squashed.

Here is a picture of the guy with the house kitty:
I ran into this man unexpectedly on a hike. As a woman, when I am alone on a trail and I meet a strange man, I wonder, should I leave? This man and I were starting on the same trail at the same time. I thought, he seems ok, it's unlikely anything will happen, so I walked and chatted with him along the trail. At the apex he turned to me, brushed my forehead, and said, "You're sweatin' babe." Ew.
Nothing worse happened, but it bothers me that hiking alone is my limit. I feel too nervous to backpack or camp alone, mainly because of my gender. I have a similar problem as a kitty, strike out independently on my own and risk being attacked with no backup, or stay home. I miss out if I can't hike alone, but avoid being attacked or called "babe" by strange men. There are other risks too, like being bit by stray dogs or tripping and falling down a canyon with no help. Cats have a greater risk of being maimed or killed by a car, but conceptually it's a similar dilemma.

Another note on wildlife, here is a photo of rats nesting in a truck:

You can see their little eyes glowing at the bottom of the truck, like small furry aliens. The photo is taken at night in infrared with a motion-sensitive camera. These rats are enjoying the security of the truck to build their nest.
Should the rats be allowed to remain in the truck? It's not being used, and they like it. But they will probably have to be erradicated at some point. How we interact with animals and how we weigh the value of security versus freedom are two questions we face in life. I would like to have a pet bird, but I feel sorry for the bird to be kept in a cage.


GSA said...

That's terrible. It must have been awful having some stranger touch you.Its kinda scary too. BTW did that guy really look like that Simpson character?

sciencebird said...

Just like him, except clean-shaven.