My cat likes to watch some YouTube videos. So we spend around a half hour a day watching them together.
Here are two of her favorites. (They are somewhat boring to me.)
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She can watch if for hours and if I try to change the video she will literally stop me by putting her paw on my …
If you have a cat, try these two movies for your cat. The results could be hilarious as the cat tries to catch and eat the string and the tail concerning which to me the latter looks kind of like a curling leech.
Sometimes we watch together more reflective videos. I have no idea about what she thinks sitting in my lap and raptly observing the computer screen with the scenarios that are unfolding. I do know about what I think.
One of the videos that we saw last week had a group of about thirty hippos of all ages stomping in the water and sounding very angry. Finally one of them caught the prey after which it was in a large hippo’s mouth where it was quickly killed by strong chomping teeth.
It was quickly dispatched. It was a crocodile.
So the adult hippos teach their young to kill crocodiles by stomping and biting on them. (I suppose that it is kind of like a school lesson form child-hippos — a kind of training.)
Now it makes sense that I saw in a video two hippos that came upon a croc trying to drag a wildebeest under water and the eldest one stomped with heavy strong feet on the croc’s back to cause his mouth to release the mammal.
How fascinating that this is learned behavior that passes from generation to generation of hippos. It means a way to protect, I suppose, something more like oneself (since hippos and wildebeests are both mammals) than different from self like a croc.
How similar is this to human behavior when we identify with animals and people more like ourselves than with ones that seem radically different? The answer is obvious.
Some other little movies that my cat and I saw were fascinating. One was of a bear eating a pumpkin and carrots. He or she spied a bird obviously struggling in a pool of water. So the bear reached into the pool, delicately plucked the bird out by the wing in its bear mouth, laid it upside-down on land and went back to feeding.
The bird, after a few moments, righted itself and took off. Obviously, the bear had had no intention to eat the bird or would have done so.
The two rhino films that my cat and I watched were very interesting. Indeed they were spellbinding.
In one, a baby elephant was being attacked by two female lions and a herd of rhinos deliberately intervened. Indeed, one of the rhinos took his or her horns and threw a lion right up in the air and off of the little elephant.
So the lions fled and the herd adopted the elephant. The latter was taken into their fold and tended by them. (I suppose that it is like adopting a pet of another species or finding something that you really love and want to have stay alive.)
In the second rhino film, a fairly newborn zebra was stuck in a mud pit up to its neck and beginning to drown. A bull rhino came along and put his head right into the mud under the zebra and lifted the zebra out balanced on his horn. The images of this are almost unbelievable except that it did happen.
Imagine sticking your head in mud under a creature and lifting it to safety? Yet many humans do this sort of saving action all of the time. Thankfully we are not the only species that tries to protect the lives of others.
Perhaps it is a universal trait for some species other than just ours. Happily it certainly seems so!
Sally Dugman is a writer from MA, USA.