Minion Scubafreak sent me pictures of Schroedinger the kitten on Friday, and I was struck by how much he looks like Damien at that age. “So what, Weasel?” you’re thinking. “Little gray stripey tabbies are as common as muck.”
Can I just take a second to tell you how very tired I am of reading your minds?
Anyhow, gray tabbies are different. Damien was my first and I observed him closely, after which I started paying attention to shelter tabbies and Cheezburger tabbies. It’s not just gray with black stripes and white highlights. Oh, no. There’s a whole constellation of unusual breed characteristics that go with: their paw pads and noses are a brick red. Their lips and the velvets of their paws are black. There’s a hint of brown undercoat around their muzzles and in other spots. Coarse fur, gray on the body (actually a side-by-side mixture of dark and light, like a badger). Long, wavy, blunt tails with black tips and a black dorsal stripe.
I could go on and on. In fact, I just did. Here, have some more.
There’s a tabby personality, too. They’re friendly, pushy, go-to-hell cats. Damien had a little hitch in his britches, a little trot in his trousers, a little wavey, jivey, slinky, shovy, hissy thing going. It was a cinch that boy would get into trouble; he probably invited an 18-wheeler to kiss his stripey ass. I have always believed he somehow bred true to some long ago wild pusso ancestor.
And I’m right, as usual. That lovely beast top left is a Near Eastern wildcat, Felis sylvestris lybica. Thanks to the miracle of mitochondrial DNA testing, they have recently discovered that animal and my boy had a common ancestor 130,000 years ago. Well, five common ancestors. In Eye-rack!
They weren’t domesticated that long ago. They’re thinking maybe that happened maybe 10,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, but they used to think was 4,000 years and in Egypt, so this is pretty interesting. If you find this sort of thing interesting. Which I do and it’s my blog so you can cut it out or I’ll turn this thing around right now.
They found a cat buried, presumably with his owner, in a 9,500 year old grave in Cyprus. Which I thought was really sweet until I reflected that they undoubtedly killed the cat to accompany his owner into the afterlife. Unless the cat died first and they killed the man to keep the cat company in the afterlife, but I think that’s pretty unlikely.
Added: Did you see the thing Gabe linked at Ace’s, about how women bloggers aren’t popular because they post too much about their personal lives and their pets? Look, bud, there’s some shit about DNA in there, too. I didn’t really get that part, but it had some stuff with Latin words and everything, so ha ha on you. Jerkface.