Saturday, April 15, 2006

"On Exploding Cats..."

Professor Batty:
Workers in veterinary clinics have a name for it: "Exploding Cats." No quite as gruesome as it sounds, but a spectacle to be sure. When a cat has lived in isolation, never having seen a dog or other animal before, it is quite liable to "explode" in a fury of clawing, writhing and spitting. In the wild, it is an effective survival technique....

Sometimes the human animal has its explosive episodes as well. The ancient Norse Berserkers were renown for the fits of mayhem of which they were capable. The modern human, sociopaths and psychotics aside, will sometimes vent with a flurry of hurtful words and cutting insults. Is this also a defense mechanism? It is certainly an effective means to drive others away. And when it is regrettable (which is usually the case), what steps can be taken to prevent its recurrence? Are the neural pathways too deep, in a too primitive a section of the brain to allow change?


Blogger Kim said...

I've watched one of my cats enlarge x3 in front of a threat (ie, one of my dogs,who wouldn't hurt a fly).

2:24 AM  
Anonymous Nutty said...

I adopted two cats who were like that. 8 years on, they're not exactly comfortable with most strangers, but they don't explode. But I wouldn't want my cats to lose the ability to explode when in danger.

I was brought up that it wasn't the done thing to explode, but I learnt the hard way that in rare situations of danger, it is exactly what one should do. I wish I'd learnt it earlier.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Joel said...

This reminds me of a Karnak the Magnificent routine in which Johnny Carson held an envelope to his forehead and pronounced "Cis-boom-ba". Then he opened the enveloped and read the card" "The sound of an exploding sheep."

If the human emotional explosion is a defense mechanism, I have concluded, it is a poor one, though there are times when yelling and screaming is an understandable reaction -- in my case in reaction to chronic human thickness coupled with narcissism.

But you know how all the attention must go to me.

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Nutty said...

It's context, though, isn't it? Screaming and clawing can be very good for dissuading an assailant and screaming can be very good for summoning help. I just wish that I was better at screaming.

9:00 AM  

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