"Catamount" is another name for a mountain lion or a cougar. Bet you didn't know that. Catamounts also are an occasional predator of humans. Mind you, this is mostly caused because the catamount population is increasing due to conservation efforts after years of decline. (If only the conservation groups had attempted to save the last few honest Congressmen, we might have a few left today.)
It's not that the big cats seek us out or lure us to their den with offers of Twinkies and beer. No, it's that they're hungry and we're convenient and look tasty--it's the same situation that a cheerleader confronts when she attends a frat party, although not as risky.
Certainly we humans are the only species that considers ourselves a delicacy. Apparently, after one taste of human flesh, the consumer of said flesh desires nothing else, be that consumer an animal or a man. Notice how many movies show humans as the equivalent to potato chips: Jaws, Grizzly, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Sound of Music, The Hills Have Eyes, Silence of the Lambs, etc. "You can't eat just one." I'm surprised Lays doesn't offer a human flavor; Hannibal Lector would be the spokesperson, of course.
Considering how many chemicals and medicines we consume, we're not health food. Definitely not organic and probably not free range. We should make other species aware of this. When we're walking in the woods and we hear a sound that could be made by a hungry bear or a ravenous sparrow, we should say, "I just had a soft drink that contained large amounts of Red Dye #1 and carcinogenic preservatives. I eat prepackaged foods all the time that are loaded with trans-fats." Naturally, a health-minded animal will turn away, and we will be assured of our continued well being until our arteries explode.
Many people think sharks love to eat humans, but scientists say that isn't true. Sharks are actually shy, retiring, intelligent beasts that would rather stay home and watch Public Television, especially during Festival when they show all the wonderful programs that you don't see the rest of the year. Sharks don’t even like the taste of humans. (Does anyone besides me wonder how they conducted the experiments to learn that? Kind of creepy, eh?) Sharks usually take only one or two bites – maybe three if they’re feeling peckish – and that’s all they can stomach (according to shark researchers Lefty Jones and Shorty Smith). Of course, the problem is those bites are rather large.
Of course, no one is going to make a shark into a pet, but people have attempted that with the large cats. I read a horrible news story the other day where this lady named Constance raised a cougar from birth, and it was as "gentle as an lamb," but then it turned on her savagely, stole her identify, destroyed her credit, and then ran off to Africa with the family dog. The lady was heartbroken, but it's her own fault.
Constance forgot the first rule of pet ownership: Don't let them know your financial information. I'm careful to make sure my fish never get any more information than they need to conduct their business affairs. At the very least, you shouldn't let catamounts drink and drive. Show some responsibility. And don't sprinkle yourself with seasoning before you venture into the forest. That's just asking for trouble.
(Copyright 2015 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved. From the forthcoming book Floozy Comes Back.)