[ExI] idea regarding cats

spike spike66 at att.net
Tue Jun 8 05:37:28 UTC 2010

Or discussion last week of housecats attacking dogs gave me an idea.  
Modern domestic dogs have been bred from wolves for all manner of different
and useful behaviors, such as pulling sleds, guarding the junkyard, hunting,
herding sheep and so on.  But cats, not so much.  The different breeds of
cats behave pretty much the same; seldom do you see one that actually does
anything.  Cats are useless beasts, ja?  So we now have a tool that the old
timers didn't have, which could speed up the breeding of certain cat
behaviors perhaps a hundredfold.
When I was in college, my sweetheart and I were at a county park when a
starving abandoned kitten came running up, attacking us wildly.  It was
crazed with hunger, leaping on any living thing regardless of its size,
attempting to bite out a chunk of meat.  Not wanting a cat but not wishing
to part with any actual flesh, we took the starving beast home, fed him, cut
the innumerable burrs out of his fur, generally brought him back from the
brink.  That evening I put the cat outside, where I assumed all cats
belonged, but someone let him back in.  I woke up in the night with a
strange feeling: the cat had crawled underneath my neck, stretched out
longways.  He wanted to sleep with me.  
I don't know if the beast felt grateful for having been saved from
starvation, or what was the deal, but that was the most human-loving cat you
ever saw.  If I let him, he would climb up on my shoulders while I was
studying and drape himself across the back of my neck like a fur wrap, all
four feet forward, and nap that way.  It was quite the distraction having
this napping beast purring right in my ear, but I occasionally allowed it.
He always wanted to be right where all the people were.
So here's the idea: if we wanted to breed cats for a certain behavior, the
internet would be a perfect tool.  We could advertise or form a cat breeding
club, to breed for certain traits in cats, such as the biggest, the meanest,
the nicest, the best mouser, the most easily trained to use a toilet (I have
a friend who managed to train his cat to do that), the most likely to attack
a dog to protect his own dog, the one who loves people the most, or does
some oddball behavior like sleep hanging over one's shoulders, etc.
It took humans thousands of years to create certain behaviors in dog breeds,
but there were so many limitations.  If we had an internet group, it
essentially forms a worldwide gene pool from which we could single out some
wacky trait or other, then find a pair, both of which like to drape across
ones shoulders for instance, then use the beast equivalent of follistim to
make a hundred embryos from those two.  We could breed cats that come when
they are called.  We could breed cats that act more like dogs.  We could
perhaps create cat breeds which don't just fawn on their owners when they
are hungry, but do so all the time like my college cat.  We might be able to
do this in a single human lifetime, or perhaps two.
The more I think about it, the more I realize this is an obvious idea, so it
must already exist somewhere.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20100607/c75a1c21/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list