Monday, September 13, 2010

Possession is 11/10 of the law.

I would like to discuss the phenomenon of territorial marking. When my cat hit puberty, he started to pee on things. I got him desexed a week later (I’d have had it done earlier, but the vet told me that it would be fine to leave it for another week or two, but I digress).
This was him, marking out what was his. It was particularly important given that he’s living with another cat, which belongs to my housemate (Other cat has a bed, I has a bed).
Humans like to think of themselves as being superior to tother animals. We have large brains and opposable thumbs. We exercise because we want to, not because it’s necessary for our immediate survival (running away from lions, hunting down gazelle for dinner, etc etc).
Deep down though, we are still just wild animals at heart, and territory is one area where this is still alive and well.
In the Modern World, territories are now called property and real estate, and we have neat pieces of paper saying This patch is mine! and we feel pretty happy with that, but you only need to see this kind of thing to realise that those base instincts for peeing on the wall are still alive and well - just visual now, rather than scent based:

In the first half of August, my housemate was housesitting for her parents, so my fiancé moved in for that time so that we could practice living together and sort out how we do chores and stuff. It went pretty well - only had one hinge come apart and one door knob fall off.
Where territorial marking comes in is that he moved back to his parents, but he left things here. He left some clothes, his newspapers, and a broken hard drive. He also left some food behind.
He is tagging my house!!! So that I don’t forget he was there! Just like the cat was!!! Only less smelly.
I had him come over the next day to pick up his things, which he did. He took the clothes from my room, he took his newspapers from the lounge, and his broken hard drive from the piano stool. He didn’t take the food from the fridge, and in my room he left behind the vest he had been wearing before he came over that very day!
Thank goodness he didn’t bring his cologne, or we’d have ended up with this:

Though I’m surprised he didn’t use his in the same way. Actually, I should check all the clothes in my wardrobe for a distinctive Lynx smell (A LYNX IS A TYPE OF CAT!!! SEE! SEE???)
So I’ve got his stuff scattered around the the house, like markers saying “I was here! This is my space, so I can just leave it there because it’s MINE and it’s where my stuff can go if I want it to go there!” HE’S TRYING TO TAKE OVER MY HOUSE!!! WHICH ALREADY SMELLS LIKE ME!!!
I’m trying to get him to take all his stuff home, but after living here for a fortnight, It may be too late. He now considers this his turf, and there’s no stopping his stuff from cropping up unexpectedly any more. He’s just going to keep coming back now ;-)

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