Saturday, April 15, 2006

On Exploding Cats And Related Phenomena

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. Cats that have be acclimated to other animals usually take a calmer, more calculated approach to such a situation.

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?

People sometimes will change. Not all at once, and not completely. But they will change.

By Professor Batty


Blogger Professor Batty said...

...for more on exploding cats (and much more insight into human and animal behavior) check out Temple Grandin's Animals in Translation...

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