Tuesday, 30 June 2009

One of The Longest Words

One of the longest words that I know is Anthropomorphism.

I'm not trying to be clever by using long words - honest.

I was once told to never use words that I cannot spell.

My answer was "well, if I don't use them, how will I ever learn to spell them ?"

However, Anthropomorphism, apart from being a great word, is a subject very close to my heart.

In its simplest sense, the dictionary defines the word as being the attribution of uniquely human characteristics to non-human creatures.

Now, is it only me, or do you get irritated by reading blog articles supposedly written by animals e.g. I laid in my basket near the fire and my mummy and daddy gave me a bone, etc.

Just recently, I've read several accounts of boating life according to various dogs. There is even a regular article in one of the boating mags, written through the eyes of a dog about the exploits of its owners and their narrowboat.

I'm not biased against dogs - it's equally sick-inducing when written by a cat, goldfish or parrot.

The first time I read such an account, I found it interesting, as it was a fresh and original perspective of boating.

However, the concept gets "worn out" and "old hat" very quickly.

I love animals. Although we have cats, I am equally fond of dogs, rabbits, aardvarks - any mammal really.

Only today, I picked up a book at the airport bookstore which was the story of Dewey the library cat.

About 30 years ago, the librarian of Spencer, Iowa found a tiny, bedraggled kitten almost frozen to death in the night drop box.

The townspeople of Spencer named that cat, Dewey (after the Dewey Decimal Classification system) and that cat spent the rest of its life helping out in the library.

A true story, but I always flip to the last page of any book, as I can't stand the suspense and the story of the final chapters of Dewey, surprisingly brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye - I felt a right chump in W.H.Smiths.

Anyway, Dewey is another story, but if you are interested, you can read more here:


The point is, even though we might choose to see animals as humans, they ain't.

Quite why we do it, I've no idea.

Maybe we find it easier to relate to them that way or alternatively, we are just too lazy to understand their true psychology.

After all, my cat, Moo, will lay in the crook of my right arm while I'm typing, hanging one paw over, as if she's on a log. Cuteness personified.

She then goes out at night and tears the head off a harmless mouse.

Being an animal lover and a great believer in karma, I felt very bad when she killed all the chicks of a pair of local blackbirds, just for kicks.

As an atonement for her bad behaviour, I had to share my fresh cherries with the parents, before we could pull the pins and move on.

I guess that's a different type of Anthropomorphism on my part.

Cats are hardwired from birth, to chase.

Cats like Moo can be skillful mouse killers, yet never eat a single mouse.

The mother cat teaches her young to kill from the very beginning.
She will bring home dead prey and eat it in front of the kittens, to demonstrate the point .

Soon they learn to help. Eventually, she brings dead things home and lets the kittens eat them on their own. In adulthood, it is quite common for spayed queens to do the same for their human owners.

Enter Moo - stage left.

Ah yes, but thats the spooky world of cats, I hear you say.

When you take your dog for a walk, how many of you let him walk out in front of you.

We think we are being kind, letting him take us where he wants, giving him some freedom by extending the lead.

In fact, dogs see it differently.

Instinctively, they expect the leader of the pack to go ahead - they follow the leader.
You are just confirming that you are not their leader, which confuses them.

Of course, once they get used to taking the lead in their daily walks, they will naturally assume that position, but it is confusing because you are giving mixed signals - being submissive one minute and dominant the next.
The correct position is with the dog walking beside you or behind you, to underline the fact that you are the top dog in your little family pack.

So, by all means love them, respect them and treat them well, but they are domesticated animals, not human babies.

Now, I must go as it's time for Moo to get dressed in her velvet suit and party hat, for her birthday party. All her catty friends are arriving with wrapped presents for her.


  1. Your Posts really do give me a giggle, but to be fair some people are described as behaving like animals, which to me is an insult to Animals. So how about a compromise, ( I don't use that word often, is it spelt right?) how about, Humanals or Animans! Oh and by the way does your cat not mind being named after a cow, bless her, and do tell, did she enjoy her party?! Debbie and my Son Bobby the Scottish Terrier!

  2. I don't think Moo realises she shares a name with the noise a cow makes..

  3. No I am sure Moo doesn't mind, she is a very pretty cat, is she a particular breed?

    Debbie Nb Tickety Boo.


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