cats - real cats. I like dogs but they do not hold the same fascination for me as cats.
Cats in books are quite different from dogs in books too. In her book "The Magicians of Caprona" Diana Wynne Jones has a cat called "Benvenuto". He is introduced with the words...
"Benvenuto! Where's that cat got to? Benvenuto!"
Naturally, Benvenuto took his time coming. He was boss cat at the Casa Montana...."
You know, from that moment, that Benvenuto is a real cat - even if he does have certain abilities. He is independent. He does not obey the orders of humans. He does what he pleases him and when it pleases him.
I suspect that Joanne Harris has found out the same applies to Vlad. He has apparently taken over and demanded to be known as "The Shed Cat". Her life will never be the same. (He had better stay away from the birds.)
And we have Pluto. Strictly speaking Pluto lives in the house at the corner. He shares it with three dogs. I suspect he is not comfortable about this. The dogs appear to get a good deal more attention. No doubt they need it as they are not nearly so self-sufficient. A cat can catch food if necessary. It can find water to drink in the most unlikely of places.
Nevertheless Pluto appears to like our place. He spends hours sitting on top of the compost bins in the corner of the yard. (He keeps the rodent population down.) He strolls around the yard and supervises the Senior Cat's gardening endeavours. He likes the outside back mat so that we have to be careful when opening the back door.
Yesterday the weather was, to put it mildly, foul. It was windy. There was rain. There was hail. We had the house shut up against the weather. I thought Pluto would be tucked up safely at home.
No. He arrived outside my bedroom window when there was a lull in the rain and gave a plaintive "Miaou." I let him inside. He was wet, very wet. I offered a towelling off. He must have been uncomfortable because he accepted that. I put his old towel on the end of the bed. Not good enough. He needed a cuddle. He climbed on my lap and snuggled in until he had warmed up and then proceeded to his towel on the end of the bed.
I never feed him although there is water outside if he needs a drink.
He went home late yesterday...presumably he had decided it was time to eat. I wonder what he did for the evening because he had spent the day apparently doing nothing but sleeping. But I say "apparently" with good cause because, if you watched carefully, there was the occasionally flick of a whisker, twitch of an ear, a ripple along the length of his tail. One eye would open and he would watch me.
I wonder what he thinks. Diana Wynne Jones has Benvenuto thinking in images and I suspect she is right - up to a point. But it seems to me that cats are capable of much more complex communication than that. They will do their own thing always - but the capacity might be more because they do understand than because they do not understand. Or am I wrong?