Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Food Culture of Pets

I got to thinking just now, after reading a little facebook message from Warren Belasco about how his pets might influence his writing habits. Interesting idea. Sure, typing accidents. Random inspiration. Then I came home. Sadie asked me for dried Japanese Cuttle Fish. Seriously. She asks for it in Japanese. Since I don't speak Japanese I assume she's saying it correctly. Mi'aou-ah. I shared.

But this then got me seriously thinking. This here is Ray Bolger. When he was a kitten, he looked just like the Scarecrow, danced well too. He came into my house, started eating then and hasn't stopped since. But take a look at what this beast is doing.

He actually scoops his food from the bowl. Messily, we admit, but usually lands it right into the water bowl. Leaves it there for about 10 seconds, decides that it's soaked enough, and deftly scoops it out with his paw and puts it daintily in his mouth.

Unlike the other cats, he eats nothing but this. And has a such a strange ritual that no one could possibly have taught him, I think we should seriously be thinking about food culture beyond the parameters of our own species. Obviously, he shares this with no one, but decided on his own weird preference, and insists on dunking. And has become masterful at it. Don't you find this perplexingly thought-provoking? We assume society gives us our eating habits, but here is something he shares with no other cat or human in the house, and figured it out on his own.

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