Ungulates are hooved animals. A horse is an ungulate. So are pigs, kudus, bongos, cows, hyraxes, elephants, you name it. If it has hooves, it’s an ungulate.
There are two creatures that share my home with my husband and I. Sable and Diamond are my two cats.
They have paws. Sable’s are dark brown, as she’s a seal point Siamese. Diamond’s are agouti, with little stripes, as she is a brown tabby. Their soft, furry paws immediately brand them as predators. Paws are great things to dampen and muffle footsteps when one is hunting prey. They hide wickedly sharp claws. They have the softest pads. (this is wierd, but have you ever smelled your cat’s feet? It smells wonderful. I have no idea what the scent is, but it’s nice.) Those paws are most definitely not hooves. Cladistics will bear me out: felines are not ungulates.
It is night. I am sound asleep. I suddenly awaken to thunder. Is it raining? (Well, yes, dummy, of course it is. It is always raining here). But we don’t get thunder, not that often. I wait for lightning, but no. I still hear thunder. Hmmm.
No, wait. It’s not thunder. It’s an earthquake. We get them here often enough that I know that deep base rumble that comes from all around. But the house isn’t shaking. The bed is solid as a rock. Nope, not an earthquake.
Is it Dennis? He doesn’t smoke, so he’s not a snorer. I’ve never smoked, either, but I’ve been known to awaken myself with my own snoring. But we don’t snore like my father used to. His snoring sounded like a hog being butchered in a coal mine.
Oh, I know. Someone is moving furniture. There, that sounds like a breakfront being moved, although I don’t own one. No, wait. It must be the couch. Ugly Couch is a monster, it surely would make that rumble.
No, dummy. It’s cats. It’s my two cats, racing through the house, sounding as if it’s the final stretch of the Grand National (as they jump onto and off of the furniture as well as race around the house.)
It sounds as if they are wearing my clodhopper boots as they streak through the house. But they don’t know how to lace, I bet. They’re plenty smart, but cats aren’t known to be able to tie knots.
How can two animals that don’t weigh twenty pounds, combined, make as much racket as stampeding elephants?
I hear them make that tight turn into the kitchen, onto the vinyl. They deploy their claws, seeking purchase. Handy things, those feet. They’re hooves one second, grappling hooks the next, studded tires the moment afterwards. Sable, especially, has the knack of stopping dead on her forepaws, allowing her hindquarters to slew around and saving her precious seconds in turning around without losing speed. Shoot, she could be a race car driver.
Oh, SHIT. They are atop us in the bed. It’s now Showdown at the OK Corral. Sable strikes a karate stance, and Diamond is all humped up, left paws raised, ready to kill. Damn it, cats, take your fight elsewhere. It’s midnight, damn it. Get off my damned bed.
Dennis has this neat trick, that of popping the blanket. He does. Cats go flying, and the race begins again. Now you know where the term ‘catapault’ comes from.