Staring back for a change

Staring back for a change

I love animals. By ‘love’ I mean ‘care a normal and healthy amount’. I don’t care enough to not eat them (hold the horse-meat) but probably care a bit more than average. To put it into perspective; I’m the kind of girl who would walk significantly out-of-my-way to not disturb a group of pecking pigeons rather than simply through them.

Oh no, those two equi-sized juicy bits of chicken ‘accidentally’ fell out of my hands directionally towards the doe-eyed cats sitting in very separate areas of the living room, honest.

I’ve always had or been around pets of some kind, ranging from guinea-pigs to budgies. My dad always had a fish-tank when I was growing up and they fascinated me too. Every cat I’ve known has been different; something I find strange for a fairly stereotypical species. They like boxes, we get it! But I’ve lived with two cats for three months now and even though they are related they are insanely different in temperament; shy/forward/outgoing/terrified-of-life etc. They speak another language, although I’ve worked out that meowing generally means “Stop what you’re doing and pay me some attention, do you realise that I don’t have thumbs and all the cat food cans require them, what kind of injustice is this, I’m going to vomit yesterday’s food on the tiny rug instead of on the vast wooden-floored area that surrounds it. Bitch.” and generally I find they add more interest to my life.

Last weekend I went to London Zoo with the lovely Lucy. It’s rare to see these kinds of animals up close, even if you travel so I’ve heard, and I had the best time! There is a section inside the zoo where small monkeys run free all around you and you can stand watching them playing together. I could have stayed there for hours.

Even on a very cold and rainy day the zoo was busy and I wondered what it is that makes us so interested as to queue in the rain to see some animals.

For children you can imagine that it is an educational visit or a fun family day out, but then I found this article in The New York Times. This article states that a huge proportion of zoogoers are adults without children; this surprised me. The article also mentions that our body language becomes friendlier towards others, as if we feel more connected to each other, and that it triggers our wilderness memory. ‘Just as dancers have body memory, we have wilderness memory.‘ Studies show that most people leave a zoo with lower blood pressure too, that can’t be a bad thing.

One of the strangest things I found was the contrast between busy Camden Market (where we walked from the tube station to the zoo) just yards away, to the zoo in Regent’s Park. It’s amazing that you can find such exotic creatures so close to our own, don’t you think? Getting that close to a lion in the wild simply couldn’t happen, not without a probable case of death, and I know for sure that I would never travel far enough to see a giraffe in real life.

I’m pretty sure the cat (Nermal) stares at me during my sleep every night, so it was very nice to stare back for a change. Thanks for the trip Lucy!