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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:32 pm 
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OK, hallway. The neighbour & the bike were, according to your account, on the stairs. Which is, notably, not the hallway. Are you now changing it to say that they were in the hallway with you after all?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:36 pm 
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DrPhill wrote:

I know, right?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:46 pm 
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s1m0n wrote:
OK, hallway. The neighbour & the bike were, according to your account, on the stairs. Which is, notably, not the hallway. Are you now changing it to say that they were in the hallway with you after all?

Oh, no, no. Most terribly sorry. How could I, being in the hallway, possibly have seen my neighbor's transition in time and space from entry to hallway to stairs? That would be unthinkably logical. How silly of me.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:48 pm 
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DrPhill wrote:
Not so much wish as hope. Am disappointed though. :devil:

Anyhow, this Russian guy shows you can breed foxes to be cute and cuddly in a few decades. After several millenia of development as pest control contractors how long to select for a breed of Felis catus that doesn't go out and kill* things? There might be quite a market for that.

*or bring them back into the house alive as playthings then lose them.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:15 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Oh, no, no. Most terribly sorry. How could I, being in the hallway, possibly have seen my neighbor's transition in time and space from entry to hallway to stairs? That would be unthinkably logical. How silly of me.


Who knows where the stairs might be in relation to the hallway, or what might lie between? Well, you know, I suppose, but no one else who read your account could have any idea. With the complete absence of necessary detail, it's clear that there was nothing in your account that would have indicated the facts you scolded me for not 'reading'. I didn't read it because you didn't write it.

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And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:18 pm 
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I must be unusually perspicacious or something, but it's a funny thing: I understood exactly and entirely what Nano meant from his first mention of this story.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:34 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
s1m0n wrote:
... we're trying to understand feline behaviour here.

What? We? Don't know where you get this "we" business, because I'm not in the dark about it. Here's what I think: Just stay at not being a cat owner, and you'll be fine. I daresay it'll be better for the cats, too.

I don't entirely understand why my dogs and cats behaved in the manners they did, but I have loved every last one of them. That goes for every pet I've had (hamsters, a guinea pig, a rabbit, and many types of birds). Now that I no longer live in the greenie-wacko land of California, I'd also consider owning gerbils, ferrets, and hedgehogs. And I've been watching Bob Ross on YouTube lately, which is making me want a pet squirrel (though that is almost certainly a very impractical consideration).

On the subject of YouTube, there is a particular channel that features a pet fox (who recently crossed over the Rainbow Bridge). The creator of that channel maintains a Web page that contains a FAQ section, where he states almost immediately that he does not recommend a fox as a pet. He also stated that he had to readjust his life around the fox. So, being the responsible pet owner that I am, I would do a lot of research before I committed to bringing home a pet that I haven't kept previously. Sure, a pet hedgehog might be cute, but if I cannot provide the level of care it needs, there is no sense in bringing one into the family.

This rambling sorta-rant, plus the quote from Nanohedron that I put in bold (and would have italicized had Nanohedron's post not already contained italics) just goes to show that not every pet is right for every person. Potential pet owners must consider their dislikes (s1m0n quite clearly is not fond of cats, and I'm not fond of reptiles), previous experience, time available to train and properly care for a pet, and other variables. Too many animals have suffered unnecessarily, and even died, simply because of incompatibility with their caretakers.

benhall.1 wrote:
I must be unusually perspicacious or something...

I like the italicized word...I must find a way to incorporate it into a sentence!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:36 pm 
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david_h wrote:
Anyhow, this Russian guy shows you can breed foxes to be cute and cuddly in a few decades. After several millenia of development as pest control contractors how long to select for a breed of Felis catus tha doesn't go out and kill* things? There might be quite a market for that.

I've read a couple of articles about the fox breeder. Interesting stuff, but more importantly to my mind is how it makes a case for those who suggest that dogs may not have descended solely from the wolf, but other canids as well. Haven't heard what molecular genetics has to say about that, though.

There's evidence that housecats, at least, are indeed becoming more and more fully domesticated and there is even speculation that the hunting instinct may one day be tamed as it has been with most dogs. Greater domestication isn't wholesale, of course, but it's going on. I wouldn't hold my breath about seeing working cats, but after a few hundred years, who knows what might happen? One marker of greater domestication in cats is the ability to not eat as an obligate carnivore, and even thrive. My last two cats were good contrasting examples of this. Mubu was fed dry kibble - which typically has to have carbohydrates to bind it together, and is usually not well-metabolized - and she stayed healthy and trim, and lived to about 24 years. Lester, OTOH, was metabolically an obligate carnivore. He never overate, but on kibble he got porky so fast I had to change his diet right away to wet, all-meat food. That did the trick. He also didn't drink water but got all his moisture from his food, just like his desert forebears. Well, you can imagine I didn't like that. Dehydration's an issue with cats, and if he got sick he might be sunk. So I tried running the tap; cats usually go for that, but not in this case. Tried unsalted chicken broth. Nope. Then I tried milk: success. Only I had to switch him to lactose-free, because demonically rude gas and explosive diarrhea just won't do. Mubu, on the other hand, loved drinking from the tap and didn't appear to be lactose intolerant. Some of this stuff is simply a toss-up.

Behaviorally the two were different, too. Mubu was not so sociable with others, but she was quite socialized and was surprisingly sensitive to cues beyond the basic kind, and tried to work with them. She adjusted to me. And she was content not to hunt. Lester OTOH was very sociable, but as for cues? None of that nonsense. He was a creature of his desires, big time. It was his way, or nothing. I had to adjust to him. And he was a hunter of the first water. If anyone were to ask me about evolutionary domestication in cats, I would point to Mubu.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:42 pm 
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s1m0n wrote:
Who knows where the stairs might be in relation to the hallway, or what might lie between? Well, you know, I suppose, but no one else who read your account could have any idea. With the complete absence of necessary detail, it's clear that there was nothing in your account that would have indicated the facts you scolded me for not 'reading'. I didn't read it because you didn't write it.

I think you are asking far too much. If you think there's no room to allow for the reader's imagination in a simple story, maybe you should stick to legal briefs or the like.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:03 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
I must be unusually perspicacious...

Nah. Sesquipedalian, yes. :wink:

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:20 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Sesquipedalian, yes.

Another good word, and one that has a very fitting definition!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:17 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Behaviorally the two were different, too
They were of different genders. Could that have been a factor? I have shared a house with cats on three occasions totaling about 25 years (I overlapped with the cats at one or other ends of their lives ). Each time they were litter-mates of different sexes and the she tended to stay at home more and tom spent more time out prowling around.

But I think my feeling for cats is not too different to s1m0n's. I don't 'get' caged animals and traditionally managed cats had the advantage that they could come and go at will. They may have stayed around because of the food and warmth (not sure about free healthcare). It was their choice.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:28 pm 
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david_h wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
Behaviorally the two were different, too
They were of different genders. Could that have been a factor? I have shared a house with cats on three occasions totaling about 25 years (I overlapped with the cats at one or other ends of their lives ). Each time they were litter-mates of different sexes and the she tended to stay at home more and tom spent more time out prowling around.

Gender could possibly have been a factor, yes. But then there was Nicki, and she was a prowler. Tough, too; a total grrrl. One time she stayed out for a couple of hours in an ice storm - by choice - and came back covered in icicles, happy as a clam. So I do factor in gender, but only up to a point.

Given a choice, I favor male cats. In my experience they tend to be more sporting, and they like it when you roughhouse with them. For example, I used to spin Carl on the floor or send him sliding across it. He loved that, and would trot back and thud down for more. He also loved being tossed into leaf piles and excavating his way out. I'd dangle Lester upside-down from his hips, high up so I could ask him to his face what he was going to do about it, and he'd grab my forearm and mock-gnaw on it. He also loved it when I'd "eat" his head while making horrible gobbling noises. I've always said that guy cats like being a toy. Mubu never tolerated any of that. She was quite affectionate and loyal, but too much of a princess for what she considered unladylike Indignities upon her Person. So why then did I have her? The better question is: Why should my preferences get in the way? She showed up at my door one January night, soon became a good pal who followed me everywhere, and the rest is history. Any good cat who's on your side is always worthwhile, so it pays to treat them right.

david_h wrote:
But I think my feeling for cats is not too different to s1m0n's. I don't 'get' caged animals and traditionally managed cats had the advantage that they could come and go at will. They may have stayed around because of the food and warmth (not sure about free healthcare). It was their choice.

Well, we can't know the whole story, but I think you're right. We have the ancient Egyptian model: Egyptians had granaries, granaries have mice, and mice draw cats. No sensible Egyptian was going to chase the cats away, that's for sure. Add enough time to the mix, and sure people and cats are going to get comfy with each other, especially if there's shelter involved. Want to earn your keep? Get out there and waste some mice at the granary. Come back when you're done. Everybody wins.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:32 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
I've read a couple of articles about the fox breeder. Interesting stuff, but more importantly to my mind is how it makes a case for those who suggest that dogs may not have descended solely from the wolf, but other canids as well. Haven't heard what molecular genetics has to say about that, though.


I think the DNA still points fairly firmly to canis lupus as the source of all dogs. Wolves, coyotes and dogs can all readily interbreed, and do in the wild, so it's easy to see these three as separate gene-nations in a single gene-continent. Hybrid jackals have been bred in captivity. There are a few 19th C accounts of dog-fox hybrids*, but the evidence is a lot thinner, and I don't think there's much likelihood of either having significantly contributed to dog genetics.

What Belayev's work does suggest is that it's no accident that dogs were the first domestic animals. There's a cluster of traits in the canid genebase that seems ready-built for domestication.

Belayev's institute, now being run by his former student/assistant, hasn't solved the musk-gland problem in their foxes, but they are selling off pups to fund ongoing operations. I imagine that these will, eventually, result in more cross-breeding experiments, accidental or otherwise. It'll be interesting to see if these are more viable than the 19th C attempts, and if this does result in a influx of fox genes into the dog genepool.

Incidentally, there's a human genetic syndrome whose name escapes me that produces kids with similar traits - they're super-friendly, have 'pixie-like' facial features, and lower IQ. All of which is also true of dogs over wolves.

*There was a vogue in zoos for creating novel hybrids.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:43 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
I must be unusually perspicacious...

Nah. Sesquipedalian, yes. :wink:

I find a tendency to sesquipedalianism to be useful when engaging in cruciverbalistic and quasi-cruciverbalistic activities.

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