Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cat Fancy

Ever wonder who reads the blog? Apparently the biggest demographic is house cats, but I can't say they actually read the blogs so much as scan the pictures and bat at the screen when the videos play (pictured below- Zatcat from Plymouth, MA). This is true for their human counterparts, including one reader in Rowley, Ma and another in Tuscon, AZ who say they "skim" but they get the gist of the blog. And that's what I'm going for. I simply want people to get a general idea of what I'm talking about.

Apathy runs rampant even here in the Jungle apartment where I can't even get my own cat to read the blog, until as General Tso (pictured below) says - I include more "cat related content". So without further ado, to appease my feline and because I'm too lazy to actually write something this evening - here is an email exchange between my mother (who was working at Coolidge State Park) and myself from 2005 wherein she requests information regarding Mountain Lions (and for the sake of an Everglades tie-in - Florida Panthers) and I respond with utmost seriousness.

Mom's questions in Black - My answers in ORANGE with 2007 responses in BLUE.

From: "Pete Corradino"
To: "'Janey'"
Subject: Answers
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2005

are the males bigger than the females?
Yes – Males average 150 lbs, females 90
Florida Panthers are smaller

are they related to domestic cats?
Yes, they are both in the Felidae family

do they eat dead stuff ?
Yes, they often kill their prey, cache it and return for it over the course of a few nights

do they breed in captivity?

do they eat monkeys?
They range all the way to the southern tip of South America and can be found in the same habitat as many species of monkeys, so most definitely.
Species name is Puma concolor and known as Puma in South America

where can you buy one

why do they pace in captivity

why do you pace in captivity
and sometimes if i need to pee

can they interbreed with other cats, i.e. a nice big fluffy lion?
There genetic makeup has diverged to the point where that combination would not produce viable offspring. (I have to check if that is 100% correct)
That is true but Lions and Tigers can reproduce - but their offspring can not.

do they mate for life?
No – they are solitary and only find one mate for a very short breeding cycle

how many are there in the US?
Very tough to find this answer!
There are about 80-100 in Florida and several thousand west of the Mississippi with more and more moving into the eastern United States

are they found outside the united states?
Weren’t you listening? I just said they are found all the way down to South America. Also found in Canada

where is the largest population of mountain lions found?
West of the Rockies – highest density might be a good way to ask that question….Don’t know the answer to that though.
I knew at one point. It was in my VINS slide show that I can't find. This is turining out to be more work than I wanted.

can I have the answers to these questions when you get them?

how big do they get .. how tall, how much do they weigh?
males can be up to 265 pounds, males can be 8 feet in length (including a 3 foot tail!)
oddly enough I said above that males weigh up to 150 lbs - so obviously I make stuff up?

how far can they jump?
they can jump up 15 feet and leap 30 feet

do they eat people?
10 people have been killed by mountain lions in the last 15 years. They rarely get the chance to eat them although they have inferred that we taste like chicken. They have been known to bite campers in the privates.
In 2004 - a teenage camper at Coolidge State Park came up to my mother at the Ranger Station and announced that a coyote had just bit him in the privates (he used another word that I have changed so as not to offend young readers.) Anyway - that explains the running joke in our family about animals biting people's privates.

what do they eat?
Ungulates (Moose, Deer, Elk), Turkey, Dogs, Cats and a variety of other small animals

are they found in all 50 states?
They were at one time but now they breed in 10 states and are sporadic in others.

how long do they live?
They average about 18-20 years but can live 25-30 years in captivity

do they make good pets? ... hahahaha
They have been known to bite people in the privates

how many cubs in a litter?
average of 3

where do they sleep at night?
in a cave, tree cavity, earthen den, in a tree

how long do the cubs stay with the mom?
they stay with mom for an average of 15 months but up to 2 years.

are they nice or do they bite (from abigail)?
They have been known to bite people in the privates. They all have different personalities, they can be shy, they can be aggressive, they can be lazy

do both parents raise the young
The dads are useless and would sit on the couch and watch football if they could. They would root for the Panthers.
This is true.

what is a bunch of mountain lions called .. bevy, pride or are they solitary?
They are solitary
But a group of Polar Bears is an Aurora and a group of Weasels is a Sneak.

are they nocturnal?
They tend to be nocturnal, but will be diurnal when the prey species is

do they have friends?
George Bush would consider them terrorists, but there are many organizations that support their reintroduction and conservation

can you hunt them (you can in montana)
In several states yes, but they are a Federally listed Endangered Species

can you eat them (you can in montana .. they taste like chinese food ... hahahah)
My mother actually ate bear and mountain lion when she lived in Montana.

I'll think of more.
You do that.

It should be noted that my Mother - the English major from the University of Vermont asked every question in this email without capitalizing. So it's not my error! I guess that is acceptable in emails.

Special thanks to Tiffany Berish for supplying the archived email and Amanda Harden for suplying the photo of her cat reading the blog. If your cat/other pet reads the blog, send a photo and I will post.


  1. Well, it's a fact, the cat does enjoy your blog. I played a Nelson (the cheezy 80's band) video and the cat ran AWAY from the computer and basically looked like he was trying to figure out how to make it stop!

  2. I believe Nelson was a cheesy 90's band - but that's neither here nor there. Where would you even get a Nelson video?

  3. Amanda Harden? Is that a real name?

  4. Yes - that would be my sister who is married to Josh Harden.

  5. I think I recall someone calling her Mandy Pants....or something of the sort...

  6. That would be one of the nicer things she has been called. Either way - Happy Birthday to Mandy - celebrating her 33rd birthday today. And tomorrow for that matter on her actual birthday.