Archive for the 'animals' Category
I haven’t posted here over the last couple of weeks–life has been dominated instead by an attempt to go on holiday to the Orkney Islands, which was thwarted by the fact that Ptolemy–wounded, bandaged, confined-indoors Ptolemy–managed to escape from our house shortly after we got to Orkney, prompting us to turn round, head back South, and try to find him and persuade him to come home.
The good news is that he came home early on Monday morning, after a week spent living rough. He was quite a bit thinner and, relatedly, extremely hungry.
We worked out pretty quickly that he hadn’t really run away, but was still hanging around on what one might generously call his territory, and we were able to negotiate a series of dusk meetings on neutral ground–in the car-park by the flats on Victor Street–where we gave him food and, on one occasion, were permitted to stroke him. (He came home the following morning.)
Our neighbours were terrific, phoning in sightings and generally taking an interest and being supportive. And he seems to have removed his bandage mid-week, which was a sensible move, as getting it wet or dirty could have been very bad for his injury underneath.
The photo is of him resting at home on the day he returned. Since the picture was taken, he’s been bandaged up again by the vet, and reacclimatised himself to life indoors, for a bit. He’s still eating more than usual, and I think he’s regained the weight he lost (poor thing). (Having observed him closely these last few days, I am confident that he does not subscribe to the maxim widely attributed to Kate Moss, that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”.) Andromache is being tremendously solidaristic.
And it is just excellent to have him back at home, where (we think) he belongs
So it turns out poor Ptolemy has a fractured metatarsal in his right-hind-paw, and will be indoors and bandaged up for the next month or so. Happily, he doesn’t have to wear a Stupid Plastic Cone–at least not initially: he’s shown no interest in trying to remove the bandage, and I hope things stay that way. And he’s generally being heroic and good tempered about the situation, which can’t be much fun for him. Good cat.
A friend’s four-month old kitten has returned home to great rejoicing after two nights away, which made me think of this, which was on the very first episode of the Muppet Show that I can remember watching, thirty years ago.
Some of you will have seen this before–it appeared on Facebook a while ago–but I think it deserves a second outing: this is–I am afraid to say–Ptolemy’s reaction to my book, Philosophic Pride.
It’s been charitably suggested that he isn’t so much yawning as roaring his approval, but when the photo was taken the only vocalisation that Ptolemy could really produce was a still-surprisingly-kittenish “mew!” (though he now has a noise which I first thought meant, “I am dissatisfied”, but I now realise means, quite specifically, “I am disappointed in you”).
My brother’s chickens–Pearl, Queenie, Vi, and Ida–attempt to predict the result of this afternoon’s Wimbledon men’s singles final. (Full discussion here.)
As well as my own book, Philosophic Pride, the same press (Princeton) on the same day (8 April) will be publishing a posthumous volume by Robert Wokler, Rousseau, the Age of Enlightenment, and their Legacies, for which I wrote the introduction. (And a very fine collection it is, too.) This is just to note that the publisher has posted a pdf of the first chapter on the website, and since it’s the chapter on orang-utans, I thought I’d copy the link here.
The subject was cats: when Boswell said he didn’t care for them, Rousseau pounced. Men who disliked cats were tyrannical: “They do not like cats because the cat is free and will never consent to become a slave. He will do nothing to your order, as the other animals do.” “Nor a hen, either,” Boswell objected. “A hen would obey your orders if you could make her understand them,” the philosopher rejoined, “but a cat will understand you perfectly and not obey them.” Rousseau seems to have been in earnest with this theory of feline independence, for the frontispiece of The Social Contract features Lady Liberty accompanied by a cat.
– Robert Zaretsky & John T. Scott, The Philosophers’ Quarrel, p. 36.