They are confining Cats indoors if their Owners might have Covid, says the Owner.
That sounds an excellent plan, I say, and a Just Punishment for Hissing at the Moral Dog.
It is not a punishment, says the Owner. It is a precaution, since Cats seem able to pass Covid to other Cats. One would not want them to inadvertently do so whilst Exchanging Pleasantries with other Cats.
I do not think Cats spend much time exchanging Pleasantries with Other Cats, I say, they are usually too busy making Spectacles of Themselves in the Presence of Dogs. They are hardly Socially Aware. I have not once heard them Discussing Socialism or Debating the Liberties taken by Ducks. I know Jeremy the Beagle says that we should consider all species to be our Comrades, but I honestly am not even convinced that they have Ever been Oppressed. Houdini says he has see them Eating Cream.
Nevertheless, says the Owner, we have to be careful, lest Cats can pass Covid to other Cats and, even, to Moral Dogs. That is why Cats are being Kept Indoors.
Do you seriously think I would catch Covid from a Cat? I ask. I am a Moral Dog. That would be Humiliation Indeed.
I did not think so until now, says the Owner. However we must consider the possibility that this Virus has done something astonishing.
More astonishing than jumping from a Bat to a Person? I ask, because that does not set the Bar High since it seems to me that if a Person did, I fact, eat a Bat, it did not have to Leap Very Far.
It leapt Unimaginably Far, says the Owner, but in a Metaphorical sense.
It jumped from a Bat to a Person that was Eating It, I say. that is No Distance At All.
You are confusing two kinds of Leaps, says the Owner. Leaping the Species gap is not a Physical Leap. It is a change. If People are close to Bats then the viruses in Bats have access to people all the time. This gives them the Opportunity to keep trying and trying and trying to find a way to survive in a person. One day as one virus duplicated itself it produced a change that meant it did not die in the Person, but replicated and transmitted. And the new virus duplicated over and over and was Covid-19. Generally such Tries fail. This was a rare and Improbable Event. But in a World of Many Many Possiblities, Rare and Improbable Things happen All the Time.
In that case, can I have a Lolly? I ask.
Not that Often, says the Owner. Generally such Attempts at the Improbable fail, just as your Dog Viruses do not survive in me nor my Person Viruses in you.
Ugh, I say, moving further from the Owner. I forgot you were showering me with Viruses with your every breath, I say. Now that I have remembered they are Making me Itch.
I am not Showering you with Viruses, says the Owner. I may pass you the Odd One but it gets nowhere in the Moral Dog. This is because the Person Virus is a Person Virus and the Moral Dog is a Moral Dog.
This is making sense, I say. A Person Virus is a Person Virus is the kind of Logical Science the Moral Dog understands, but what about the Cat? The Cat ate neither a Bat nor a Person. Where is the Leaping?
The change in the Virus was probably the One and Only Leap, says the Owner. It became capable of replicating and transmitting not only in Persons but also, it seems, some Cats. The Metaphorical Leap was the change from being a Bat-only Virus to a Virus that could infect and replicate in some other animals. Once this is done the Physical Leaping required to transmit the virus does not require being Eaten, it requires only being Coughed Upon.
So the Virus only needed to make One Metaphorical Leap, I say, in order to be able to Infect Humans and Cats and Dogs and Tigers and Lions and Chimps.
I fear so, says the Owner, usually such Viruses making Metaphorical Leaps succeed in Making It in only One new Species at a time. Usually other Species remain a dead end host for the Virus, in which it cannot replicate and be passed on, even if it can live in them briefly.
But not this time? I say.
Scientists have discovered that Cats can pass it amongst themselves, says the Owner. That means that the Virus can replicate and transmit in Both Humans and Cats. We must find out whether the same is true of Chimps and Tigers and Lions.
I notice the Owner does not mention Moral Dogs. What will we do if Cats can pass Covid back to Persons? I ask.
The Owner sighs. We do not know that they can, she says, but it seems to me that if persons can pass it to Cats and it can replicate and transmit in Cats then it is sensible to investigate urgently whether Cats can pass it back. If that is the case then the Virus may circulate freely back and forth for many years. It will be everywhere. It will be a reservoir.
So is the Solution to Imprison all the Cats? I ask.
We cannot imprison every Cat in the World, says the Owner.
We could, I say. We Dogs have had a Plan for that for Years.
We cannot, says the Owner, it is not the Cats’ fault. Besides, what if it is also Dogs? We cannot Imprison Everything. Cats, Dogs, Persons, Lions, Tigers, Chimps – this is all of our World. We cannot cast aside our duties to Other Species just because we may now face the same Virus. We must look after such animals.
I do hope we are not adopting a Lion, I say. I have heard they eat all the Cheese.
No, says the Owner, we are not. Do not worry. More information is needed – we need more facts and less conjecture.
I like magic, I say, that Paul Daniels was Brilliant. I liked the Bit with the Ace of Spades behind his Ear.
Conjecture, says the Owner. Too much Conjecture is a Bad Thing. We must not get ahead of ourselves. We must find out if the Virus can replicate and transmit in Other Animals, and whether Cats can pass it to Other Species, including the Moral Dog.
I bet they can, I say. Moral Dogs have an Instinct about such things. I knew We were right about Cats they have Never Liked Us.
Do not be too swift to assume, says the Owner. Act as if you face the worst but investigate before you take conjecture as fact.
Well, how do you explain Paul Daniels then? I ask.
I cannot, says the Owner, but that is Beside the Point.
I don’t see why. And I can’t wait until I next see Jeremy the Beagle.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.