I like animals but I could never work in a zoo.

Because they would eventually leave me so bewildered I would need some form of normality-restorative therapy.

Obviously, being animals and us being humans, they do not think like us, despite the domesticated varieties spending a large amount of time in our company, so one has to take the uncertain workings of their brains into consideration.

Apart from getting a dog to "sit" or "stay" or teach a dolphin to jump through a hoop or whatever, there is no real conversation to be had here.

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Cats and dogs do not read or write and their dialogue is restricted to meows and barks.

A cat will sit at the door and look up at the handle, then at its servant and then let out a small cry.

It is saying "let me out please".

If there is no human response it will then edge closer to a pitiful howl.

It is then saying "are you deaf or something?"

And so it comes to pass that you let it out and then about 90 minutes later it's back at the door, on the other side, letting out a small cry.

It is saying "I want to come back in because I'm hungry...again."

So you let it back in and seven minutes later it is once more looking up at the door handle...and so it goes on.

Which I guess does resemble some form of understanding between human and animal.

Thing about cats though us that they are born with something that we are not.

We have to be taught things as our brains begin life with absolutely nothing in them but without any prompting at all the little stray lunatic we took aboard knew exactly what the tiny tray of litter was for.

And once outside, on her lead, she began warbling that odd warble in the direction of sparrows feeding under the tree.

No one taught her such things...she just knew.

Crikey, it took me about 23 years to become suitably toilet trained.

And cats are able to produce facial expressions...and even when they are the equivalent in age-terms to an 80-year-old human they don't look it.

Age barely changes them.

Then there was the time, quite a few years back, when our old cat (now departed for a plot down the back) once sat up as if startled.

But nothing had happened.

Yet his ears were up and his eyes were wide and he looked up at the roof, then back at the windows...and then there was a rolling earth tremor.

He knew it was coming and that rattled me, and completely reversed my previously held opinion that animals didn't know a quake was coming.

Don't wait to hear the sirens...just get a cat.

On the subject of "they just seem to know" I had a curious and intriguing brush with this a week ago when I took our little 4-year-old cat to the vet.

A week or so earlier he'd cut his arm on something and needed stitches.

It healed real good and the time had come to return to get them out.

As it had been taking him there for the little op, getting him into the cat box thing was a fight, and all the way during the journey he howled a most disturbingly sorrowful howl.

But once we arrived it got interesting because as I sat the box on the floor to wait for our appointment to be taken up and he went very quiet.

It was the silence of resignation.

It got even more interesting when the vet asked if I'd like to hold him while she snipped the stitches out and I said yeah, why not.

In the quiet of the treatment room I opened the box door and he sort of wilted and let me gather him out.

Not interested in bolting for it or howling...he just sat in my arms and she held his arm and clipped off the threads.

I then placed him back on the table by the cat box...and he happily went straight in and lay down.

He knew he was going home, and throughout that return journey he just watched the world passing by outside without a sound.

Then once at home I put the cat box on the lawn he knows and runs about on so well and opened the door.

He came slowly out, but then walked straight to the back door and wanted to go inside.

And once in there he just lay on the kitchen floor...purring.

Didn't want food and didn't want to go outside.

Then the bloody kitten charged in and leapt on him and the sparring began and all was back to normal again.