Friday 8 October 2021

Author of 'Super Volcanoes' likens volcanic eruptions to cats

Robin George Andrews in his book Super Volcanoes (to be published on 19th November) says that volcanic eruptions are like cats because they possess their own distinctive personalities. The duration of their 'paroxysmal moods' can vary wildly, according to an article on The Guardian newspaper. 

Beautiful mountains of incandescent fury’. La Palma eruptions. Photo: Getty Images.

It's an interesting analogy because he could have said that volcanic eruptions are like people as people have their own distinctive personalities too. In fact, not everybody realises that domestic cats have their own personalities but everybody knows full well that people do. So why did he bring cats into the discussion when asked "How long is this eruption going to go on for?".

He appears to have been asked that question by a journalist although the article that I'm reading is unclear. They were talking about the volcanic eruptions on the Spanish island of La Palma in the Canary Islands. The average length of the eruptions are about a month, apparently, but they vary just like the personalities of cats!

I'm not sure that it is a great analogy because it starts creating a vision of spitting, angry cats! And there are enough people already who dislike cats who say that they are dangerous because they scratch and bite. But they only scratch and bite when there's a necessity for such behaviour i.e. they been provoked in some way.

ASSOCIATED PAGE: Father’s influence on his kitten’s personality

My cat has a great personality!
My cat has a great personality! Pic: Me.

But, yes, domestic cats, in their own subtle way, do have their own personalities because they are sentient beings and because they have emotions and feel pain just like people. And their personalities are formed like people as well: either through inheritance or experience. 

The latter might be more important than the former because domestic cats live in a human world which impinges very dramatically on their lives. They have to adapt to the human world. Their personalities can be moulded by the world that their human caregiver creates for them.

ASSOCIATED PAGE: A catio improves a cat’s personality

This is why in a post I wrote some years ago (link above) I stated that for a full-time indoor cat a catio makes the cat a better companion animal in terms of personality because they have more options to express their natural behaviour. The catio is a little bit of the outside brought inside. I think it's very hard for cat owners who keep their cats inside all the time to provide adequate substitutes for those cats who enjoy the indoor/outdoor life.

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