E is for ekiscatics. Did you know that? Well, you do now 'cause I just told you.
There once was a word... a word called ekistics. It meant - accordin' to the good folks at Oxford - "the study of human settlements and their development," or somethin' like that. I suppose humans would want to study their own developmental settlements. That's fair. We cats, on their other paw, want to study the development of cat settlements and now, thanks to me, we even have a word for it.
That's right... I'm back to the inventin' of the words. Did you miss me? 'Cause I kind of missed the month of May. No new words last month. What a shame. MOUSES!
Ekiscatics is a very in-depth study. There must be at least one university out there wantin' to add it to their curriculum. Now that there's an official word to describe the science, I would expect many universities to hop right on the ol' bandwagon and start offering undergraduate degrees in the subject. It's only logical.
And speakin' of bandwagons... they are NOT used in the development of cat settlements. Cats don't hop on bandwagons. Bandwagons are strictly for peeps.
So just how do cat settlements, develop? It turns out, there are many ways. Some good and some bad. The bad ones almost always involve the nasty side of the species that is peep.
I, myself, belong to a good cat settlement, also referred to as family. The twelve of us cats settled in quite nicely to this house. The peeps think they invited us in but the truth is, we all staked a claim on this here property and made it our own. As luck would have it, the house came with two full-time servants. Bonus!
There are many cat settlements similar to mine but on a smaller scale. There are also some that are larger. Basically, however, this type of cat settlement is quite standard. It involves a structure in which cats live in association with peeps. The laws of the land are dictated by the peeps once we cats tell 'em what to dictate. The peeps are allowed to believe they are in control of the settlement. They're not, of course, but it's always easier to let them think they are. Peeps, by nature, are quite gullible so this is an easy task.
Population of the settlement is strictly controlled. This is done by the neutering and spaying of the populace. Population expansion is allowed, on occasion, but only through immigration, otherwise known as adoption. The system works. It has been a number of years since my settlement has undergone an expansion and that would have been with the adoption of my brother Rushton. There are no further expansions in the foreseeable future as the size of our settlement is currently at a comfortable level.
Some cat settlements, however, develop quite differently.
Let me tell you the story of a cat named Catrina. Catrina is not an actual cat but the story that I will tell you has been played out, over time, more times than I care to admit. It's a sad story but one which must be told. It should be told to peeps over and over and over again until they learn.
Catrina was a cute little kitten. Of course, kittens are always cute. Catrina, however, was particularly so. Calico colouring with silky long fur and a purr that could be heard miles away. When Tommy scooped her up and out of the box at the yard sale he held her tightly to his chest and looked up at his mom. "Please? Oh, please mom? I'll take care of her. I promise. Cross my heart and everything."
The mother hesitated but looking into her little boy's pleading eyes, she finally acquiesced and the two headed home with the new member of their family.
Tommy's dad wasn't all that happy with the arrival of Catrina but he huffed and he puffed and grumbled an agreement that his son could keep the cat.
About six months later, Catrina started to make loud noises. Noises she had never made before. Tommy was worried that his little baby was sick and pleaded to his father to take her to the doctor. "Damn cat's in heat, that's all!" was the father's reply.
One day, a few weeks later, Tommy hopped off the school bus and ran down the driveway. He called and called for Catrina. Where was she? She always met him at the door when he came home from school. Where could she be? "Damn cat's gone," his father told him. "She went and got herself pregnant."
Tommy was beside himself but that was nothing compared to poor little Catrina. Left alone by the side of a country road, Catrina looked around. Still a kitten herself, she had kittens on the way and no home. No place for her and no place for her babies. What would she do?
Eventually, Catrina found an old, abandoned farmhouse. It was shelter from the elements, if nothing else. There was no food and no water but she had a roof over her head. A dirty old blanket, too tattered to have been taken by the house's previous owners would provide a bed. It wasn't much but it was something.
In the following months, Catrina made the most of her new home. She now had five precious babies in her care. They were beautiful. She taught them to mouse and clean themselves and most importantly, she taught them to fear humans. Feral cats need to fear humans. Humans can be cruel.
The years passed and Catrina had become the matriarch of the settlement. She looked old and was frail even though she had lived through only five or six winters. The life of an outdoor cat is a hard one and the years pass slowly and cruelly. So much loss had Catrina suffered. Babies lost to illness, hunger and coyotes. She thought about all her babies now gone. Then she thought about her children and grandchildren still with her. What would become of them? Would they lead a life of hardship such as hers?
That night, Catrina slept peacefully. For the first time in a very long time, she slept straight through the night. Her body had been so tired and so weak for so long. She needed her sleep.
Morning came and one of Catrina's grand babies nudged at her, trying to wake her up. Catrina didn't move. She didn't wake up. The kitten meowed, repeatedly, before the meows turned into cries of loss. Catrina was gone.
If only... if only Tommy's mom had not allowed him to take Catrina that day at the yard sale. If only Catrina had been adopted by a responsible peep. A peep who knew that if you love cats, you get them spayed and neutered and you never, NEVER abandon them out in the country - or anywhere else - forcing them to fend for themselves. If only...
Every school in every land should teach peeps the science of ekiscatics. Peeps need to be taught how cat settlements develop and the part they play in that development. Peeps need to be taught the difference between right and wrong. The difference between responsible and irresponsible. The difference between good and evil.