Shadow cats, yet again

From: Mikko Rintasaari (rintasaa@mail.student.oulu.fi)
Date: Wed 01 Mar 2000 - 00:03:21 EET


> Mikko Rantasaari:
>
> << > > Yes, I'd agree that that's true. I can safely say that that's no
> longer
> > > the official view, but its a perfectly good 'IMG' one.
>
> Too bad. I like lynxes, but a shadow cat is supposed to be something much
> more magical and mysterious. And they aren't supposed to be bred for
> interesting fur colour and an obedient nature! >>
>
> They aren't. Some are bred for hunting, some for hunting vermin and (if

> you believe Greg) some for herding sheep and cattle. None are intentionally
> bred for fur colour AFAIK (although, in fact, the breeds do tend to be
> somewhat distinctive in colour) and they most definitely aren't bred for

> obedience. These are cats after all!

And I think they shouldn't be bred for traits at all. I can't see the
orlanthi interfearing with the cat's selection for mates, and that's the
only way to do it (I suppose a Hero Quest could manage it though... still,
the breeds mentioned seemed rather extreme and spesific for certain tasks)

> In fact, they're not strictly speaking breeds at all, in the sense of
> having been created by the Heortlings for specific purposes, but rather, they
> are the descendants of Yinkin's original kittens.

> Forward the glorious Red Army!
> Trotsky

Ah! This is better. I'll still keep the differences small in my game. I'm
sure that the cats of distant clans are distinct though. The cats living
with humans don't get to travel all that much, and the breeding
populations are propably often quite small, at least to begin with. I'd
think something like genetic drift does happen on Glorantha too, since
darwin like descendance doesn't require genes as such. Children end up
looking like their parents on Glorantha too. (at least usually)
 
> Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 16:37:20 -0500
> From: "KYER, JEFFREY" <jeff.kyer@cgi.ca>
> Subject: Breeding and Alynxes
>
> > <snip>
> >
> > > << Alynx Breeds:
> > > Hunting alynxes come in several breeds, which specialize in different
> > > prey. >>
> >
> > I can easily see that the shadow cat has branched into several breeds,
> > living with the orlanthi clans. But if people are saying that the orlanthi
> > purposefully breed the sacred cats to do spesific tasks, then I'm afraid
> > that at least to me this sounds very silly.
>
> Its entirely likely as animal sub-speciation (breeds) at human hands
> goes back a very long way.

Sure it does, but at least to me it seems very wrong in this case.
 
> > I know that Americans like to breed the most outrageous and strange
> > breeds of dogs and indeed cats, but this isn't something that would seem
> > at home in a bronze age sosiety, and among the orlanthi. As far as I
> > understand the Orlanthi respect the Shadow Cat for it's independence, and
> > don't try to mold it to their whim.
>
> Greyhounds and their kin are as old as the Egypt of Ramesses II (and
> probably much older). Various species of hounds date back to late
> Republican Rome. I think we can assume that animals were bred for
> specific purposes as far back as we need for the purposes of this.

I'm sure that the Dara Happans breed very strange dogs, and the EWF went
much further. Still, I don't think the orlanthi would try to tamper with
the wild and independent children of Yinkin, the half-brother of Orlanth.
 
> Heck, one of the first domesticated animals was the house-ferret
> (pole-cat) of early Greece for vermin control. It was replaced later by
> the domestic cat as they (apparently) didn't smell as much and were less
> vicious.

And more effective.
 
> As to moulding the shadowcat by whim, I think it would just happen --
> differenetiation between wild ones and village ones. Some cats would
> prefer the warm hearth and security of a tula and others would retain
> more of a wild tinge, refusing hospitality except to visit.

Indeed, there will be drift. But since I see the Shadow Cat as more like
semi-wild I don't think the differences would be that visible. Also they
are still the image of Yinkin.
 
> But all the tales *we* have of Yinkin seem to end up with him on a warm
> hearth, taking the rewards of a day well done...

Play "King of Dragon Pass" :) You'll see a different face of good ol
pussycat Yinkin.
 
> > In the real world people used both leopards and cheetahs as hunting
> > animals, they didn't create spesific breeds of them, nor did they breed
> > felis sylvestris trying to bring out spesific traits.
>
> Um, this may not be quiet the case. I do not have any information on
> leopards but from what I know of cheetah, they have *no* genentic
> diversity whatsoever and are apparently descended from a group of
> approximately 100 individuals about 300 years ago (!)

Excuse me, but what does the above have to do with what I just said? The
Cheetah has had some near escapes from extinction, and so has very little
genetic variety these days, but it has very little to do with the fact
that people didn't have to tame it change it for it to be a useful
(and much admired) hunting beast. The leopard, likevise, could be trained
just fine. No need for "genetic" tinkering.
 
> > I'm sorry, but this just seems like treating the sacred cat like a common
> > dog.
>
> I'd rather not treat the sacred cat like a lepoard or cheetah. It just
> doesn't seem to fit, somehow. Alynxes are, I suspect, too small to be
> truely dangerous (cougar/cheetah) and too large to truely dependant
> (housecats, etc)

A lynx is bloody well large enough to be truly dangerous! And the shadow
cat's can be significantly bigger.
  
> > OTOH shadow cats can be useful with keeping sheep. Not so much keeping the
> > herd together, but scaring away predators (Just imagine that POW 19 cat,
> > big as a bix lynx... like Greebo it can just sit and grin at a pack of
> > wolves until they get uneasy and leave :) )
>
> I don't see cats herding things. It just seems very non-feline, to me.

Hey, I didn't say anything about herding. They can loiter around, while
the young humans keep the herd together. And anyway, the sheep the
orlanthi keep are much closer to the wild form of sheep that keep their
herds together all by themselves. The cat's scare away predators and make
herding the sheep much safer for the young humans.

> Much better if people just bring things to them -- as is the cat's
> rightful due.

Shadow cats, like all cat's like to hunt. They don't just sit idle. They
like to get fed, but they still like to go out and kill things.
 
> The infamous Greebo'd just get intimidate some dogs into bringing him
> food, I'd be thinking.
>
> Jeff "Still no interesting moniker" Kyer

Greebo likes to rape and kill, in that order and sometimes combined. But I
suppose the less said about that particular "big fist with some fur" the
better.

        -Adept

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