Me, Snow Leopards And Musings On The Nature Of Being Cat

Hey all. Great group idea! Thought I'd drop some experiences on here as far as how I relate to snow leopards. It'll probably be a bit long...sorry! I love writing about this subject.

I don't officially call myself a werecat, or a therian or any other label. I've never felt a need for labels, since I already know who I am and how I experience the world. I am snow leopard, that is all. I have plenty of other sorts of "mental" shifts and I've stated that in other stories and such. Mentally shifting in general is my foundation, but snow leopard...snow leopard is at the forefront of my very being, constantly. There are varying degrees of snow leopard physical feature superimposed almost constantly on my sense of what's "me". I feel the thick, heavy tail, rough fur, wide paws, powerful springing leg muscles and extended canines. I can "see" myself with the pale grey-green eyes, the broken patterns of rosettes in deep off-white fur that defies true color definition; and I see every minute detail of facial feature as if it were my own. I sleep partially curled, feeling only the texture of fur, twitching whiskers, long tail wrapped around my nose...all this comes and goes and grows and fades in a very reflexive, subconscious way, but it's always there, like the static when the radio is tuned between two stations that jostle for attention.

But I'm not a snow leopard soul trapped in a human body. I don't think that way. I don't feel trapped. I just love to live life in this way, caught up in my blend of human and snow leopard experience. It's difficult for me to describe my relationship with them. It's just...snow leopard is me, is what I respect, feel a closer bond with than anything else that I know, love. My mind views them as an equal, a teacher and a completely entwined part of my identity. I visit my local zoo regularly, and while I adore every animal there, it's the snow leopard there that I feel as though I'm "visiting", like a friend. For him, I always have a solemn, knowing nod and quiet chuff. Every so often, he'll look me in the eye for a moment and chuff back. Then I want nothing more in the world than to bound as a snow leopard into the enclosure with him and sit contentedly with my nose pressed in warm, comforting fur and forget that anything else exists for a moment. I do as much mentally, at least.

I'm not one for romanticized and stereotypical notions of animal behavior, and snow leopards are no exception. I love snow leopards, not for sexy mystery and cold aloofness, but because the are just as real as I am. They aren't mythical ghosts. Though they are quite beautiful to my mind, they are still 3-dimensional, imperfect and more concerned with raw, gritty survival than they are with grace and perfection and feline mystery. They're a predator, like any other. They're amazingly coordinated, strong jumpers and uniquely suited for high-altitude terrain, but they can also be clumsy, mean-spirited, goofy, and as self-serving as any other piece of nature. They can wipe out half a herd worth of goats in a nomadic herding village in one night, leaving bloody, financial devastation and starving people in their wake. They are truly masters of camouflage (I spent nearly two months in the mountains of southern Siberia, searching for them and failing). They are impressively adept at coordinating behaviors and movement with other wild snow leopards, and they are surprisingly affectionate and social when the situation allows. They aren't nearly as shy as people think, but they are decidedly less aggressive than people think as well. There's never been a reported case of a snow leopard attacking a person, ever, even when provoked. Even when cornered and stoned by angry villagers. To put it a shorter way, snow leopards are real and they don't follow the stereotypes very well, and I love them for it. I've followed the call of my snow leopard identity to the other side of the world, and I'm sure I will again many more times in my life.

I try not to get impatient, but sometimes I do, when I ask a "cat person" why they feel they are cat and how the relate to their catness, and the answer merely shoots off a short list of stereotypically "cat" behaviors. Never mind that stereotypes aren't how you make identity decisions and never mind that there are around 40 species of cat, each with their own unique sets of behaviors. No wild cat gives a damn about drinking milk once they are adults, like most other species of any type. There is more to cats, and more to being a cat-person, than hissing, scratching, enjoying batting a ball of yarn, liking high places and sleeping in the sun. Sure, you may have seen your house cat do most or all of these things, but that isn't what a cat IS. And surely, if all you've listed as observations are superficial stereotypes like that, than you can't yet draw a conclusion like..."that means I'm conclusively a jaguar". seriously, that just doesn't make sense. Cat species aren't all the same. Ultimately, you have to look past the mere surface behaviors. It isn't all about whether you hiss or play with cat toys or like to sleep curled up or love high spaces or feel wary of people sometimes. Go beyond such surface details, to the place where words fail and definitions and analysis lose meaning. What do you feel? How much do you care? What do you intuitively KNOW of your nature that cannot be described? Cat needs no labels or analysis or outside acceptance. If cat is you, that is enough.

That's enough rambling from me for now. I'll probably pop my head in from time to time, since I love interacting with people who feel a connection to cats. I'll leave you all with a link to a post from someone who thinks very much like I do about the nature of being a cat-person. I recommend perusing everything written in there, if interested. There is a good amount of quality writing in there. Cheers!

http://akhila.feralscribes.org/2005/the-cat-nots/
cinnabarsage cinnabarsage
26-30, F
1 Response Dec 9, 2012

I bet it was still amazing searching for those snow leopards... maybe you can write an experience n that adventure when you get time? I'd love to read about it ^^ Again, another wonderfully written response from you. It's very respectful about how much you're attune to yourself and your own emotions. I wish you very many blessings as you continue your travels and I can't wait to hear about how your next chapter unfolds.