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Spirit of the Wind
KinThe ties that bind can take many forms. I could group them into sets- ties between people, ties between people and ideals, etcetera- but I won’t, because I think that some things are really too complex to be easily categorized. Pretty much everything, however, can be ranked fairly easily, if you’re careful enough at selecting what the ranking criteria is. And for me, one of the strongest bonds is that between human and feline. It’s a rather natural thing, when one considers it, that someone of a feline theriotype should find themselves drawn to cats. Cats are a constant with me. I have lived with them all my life, though tragically they are not the same ones. Cats show up throughout my artistic and literary work, and feline shapeshifters or sentient felines are extremely common. If given eternity, I would spend it with the feline species, walking alongside them and helping and trying to understand them. I have heard the dog and the wolf compared to the human mind, even in those that aren’t therians, but I think an equally valid comparison could be made between the cat and the human mind, or at least some human minds.
I live with six cats: Pumpkin, Sagwa, Fudge Ripple, Tipper, Chava, and Pirate. I know each of them; I have run my fingers through their fur as they purred at my touch. Many- no, most- I have known since they were kittens. On a very deep level, they are my family. Alternatively, one might consider them my coalition.
They remind me of what it means to be cat. The life of a human, the life I’m forced the lead but would do so willingly to a great extent even if I were not, requires work. Cats are the antithesis of work. A cat doesn’t work, it sleeps, eats, and plays. Oh, it might do some work- catch food, mark territory, whatever- but it doesn’t work in the sense humans do.
I’ve said before- not necessarily in an essay, but I’ve said it- that my theriotype frequently seems as if it is dead. The cheetah doesn’t often impact me, I rarely shift; I have just enough behaviors to categorize myself as a therian despite the sometimes doubt (I could go into that at length, but that’s another essay). I don’t know why this is. Maybe I’m not what I think I am, maybe I spend so much time on ‘civilized’ behaviors that I don’t have enough time to notice it, maybe my attempts to control myself when I was terrified of the slightest anomaly being noticed were too successful, maybe the cheetah is so integrated with my personality that I don’t take conscious notice of it on a daily basis. Whatever. The point is that I'm not walking around in my daily life being aware of feline behaviors impacting me. It's too subtle for that.
But the cats- they connect me, I think, with a certain level of catness. Cheetahs are social animals. We live in coalitions, we display distress when separated. One of the ways they trap cheetahs is by capturing one, then the others come for him (and it is probably a him; cheetah coalitions are as far as I know male). I know other cheetah therians, but I only talk to them online, and even then almost never except for one. And, of course, I don’t work with cheetahs. But I live with cats. They surround me, infusing me with their essence. Perhaps when I was young, I in some way learned behaviors from them rather than only humans. I’ve always, for example, rubbed my face by sticking my nose in the area opposite my right elbow, and while I don’t know if it’s an exclusively feline trait, it certainly is uncommon enough among humans to be remarked upon by my peers. In any event, I feel that being around cats can bring, if not behaviors themselves, awareness of those behaviors to a more conscious level.
What does it mean to be cheetah? To me, it means independence but closeness to my friends, it means snarling in rage, it means love of the chase, it means wanderlust, it means surveying terrain from up high, it means trying to be in touch with my instincts and my senses, it means quiet strength and determination.
It’s easy to forget oneself in today’s society. And sometimes unexpected things can make one remember.
Written in late 2011
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