Looking us right in the eye early morning, the Babe presents -- in Rich Moran's words -- "a face that defines animal beauty and comeliness."
"At what point did they realize that the simple act of looking us right in the eye, showing a face that defines animal beauty and comeliness, would make us fall in love with them?," asks Rick Moran [via Maggie's Farm], commenting on research that shows all domestic cats are descended from the East African wild cat:
I wonder when they developed the ability to tug at our heartstrings with a well modulated “meow?”. . .
Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out when cats discovered they could get more by giving less; that the ability to manipulate us, wrap us around their paw meant that they could dole out their affections by the teaspoon rather than the bushelful as lesser creatures like dogs do?
Like the great gamesmen they are, our feline betters play their cards close to the chest, "using tactical maneuvers to further [their] aims." A word to the wise, well known to all who worship at their paws, from T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats:
With Cats, some say, one rule is true:
Don't speak till you are spoken to.
Myself, I do not hold with that -
I say, you should ad-dress a Cat.
But always keep in mind that he
Resents familiarity . . .
Before a Cat will condescend
To treat you as a trusted friend,
Some little token of esteem
Is needed, like a dish of cream;
And you might now and then supply
Some caviare, or Strassburg Pie,
Some potted grouse, or salmon paste -
He's sure to have his personal taste.
When Baby and Tiny say "meow," it's shrimp. As we wrote awhile back, "When it comes to shrimp, Tiny and Baby know how to game the system. For our part, we're willing to give them what they want in exchange for exquisite photo ops."
Update: For more exquisite photo ops of "animal beauty and comeliness," with and without backbones, check out Modulator's Friday Ark #145, Circus of the Spineless #22 -- featuring "some of the best nature blogs around" -- at Bev Wigney's Burning Silo and Carnival of the Cats #171 hosted by Frisky and Nardo, feline allies of the Father of All Cat Bloggers, Laurence Simon of TBIFOC.