As requested, here's Asta-cat, 12 pounds of fury, sans tail. We almost lost him 2 years ago…he has a fragile digestive system, probably because of the Manx mutation, and the all-meat foods were literally too rich for him. We had to force-feed him until he was willing to eat again. He is a wonderful cat, as fierce as the McBain stone wildcats at the Clan memorial along Loch Ness.
The Clan motto, expressed in inexplicably hard Gaelic, roughly translates to, "Touch not the (wild)cat without a shield." So there.
Manxes are special cats. They hail from the Isle of Mann, and legend has it that they arrived late to Noah's Ark, and as the door closed it cut off their tails, now and forever. Asta is a "stumpy," with a short, vestigial tail. They are fearless hunters and tend to act more like dogs than cats. From an account by one Joseph Train in 1844:
"The hind legs are considerably longer than those of the common cat, and, in comparison with the fore legs, bear a marked similarity in proportion to those of the rabbit. Like this animal too, when about to fight, it springs from the ground and strikes with its fore and hind feet at the same time. The common cat strikes only with its fore paws, standing on its hind legs. The rumpy discharges its urine in a standing posture, like a rabbit, and can be carried by the ears apparently without pain. Like every species of the feline it is carnivorous and fond of fish and is an implacable enemy to rats and mice."
Asta and our beagle, Newt, engage in endless play battles, which generally the cat always wins.
Tomorrow we're staging a lovely riot for THE BEST DEFENSE, trapping a couple in their car. That should be big fun. I'm having lunch with Andrew Branca, author of The Law of Self-Defense (a truly indispensable guide!) and Dave Hartman from the 3Gun Show podcast. Ought to be interesting conversations. Andrew's been researching the legal perspectives of people caught in riots,and he's helping us out with this episode; Dave happened to be in town and always wanted to be in a riot, so we are happy to oblige!
BTW, all this talk about Asta-cat reminds me of an appropriate quote:
"Most of us are savages at heart. Deep down in the smug contentment of that hollow thing we call civilization there smolder the fires of our Berserker ancestry "
-- Owen Letcher Thomas
The Bonds of Africa