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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of four. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cat-licking deer

Would someone out there please lick their cat and tell me what it is like?

The redhead thinks maybe they're salty like a snack food.

I'm grateful to our neighbor Dan who took these pictures in front of his house. As you can see, there is more than one cat, and more than one deer.

In the old days, a graduate student could publish a note on such an observation in the Journal of Mammalogy.

"Feliphilia in male black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus)"

Those days are long gone.

That doesn't mean there isn't a biological explanation for deer that lick cats.

It's just that nowadays cat-licking deer is a subject more suitable for the blogosphere than scholarly journals.

That is, as long as you don't drag it out.

With that, I've said enough.


PSYL said...

It's hard to come up with a good research topics nowadays without involving genetics or some hardcore statistics. Wish I was born at least decades earlier.

Interesting to see that the cats didn't strike back.

Hugh Griffith said...



Stupid ruminants.

OregonWild said...

Thats Incredible. It may not be a story for the Journal Of Mammalogy, but it would be a hoot in popular media.

Tamatha said...

Bizarre, I've never seen this before. Good pics.

Anonymous said...

I am flabbergasted, and frankly immediately thought that your neighbour has done a superb job at Photoshopping 2 separate images! But the deer's tongue is out, the edges to its body are pretty sharp .... And two images would take a lot of time to Photoshop!

But what cat would tolerate another critter so large licking his/her cheeks? Our cat loves it, but is easily spooked by unusual and such close encounters...... Hell, this is very unusual by my books, albeit I have limited experience with the domestic cat.

What's going on????? And sorry, I am not about to lick Smudgie.

Doubt she tastes very salty though..

John W. Wall said...

Speaking of popular media, this story has been Dugg. ;)


Camera Trap Codger said...

Rod, its clear that the cats get massaged and shampooed. Being sensual creatures, they even succumb to the blandishments of deer. What the deer get out of this still remains a mystery . . . until someone licks their cat and tells us about it.

JWW, indeed, there have been quite a few hits on this piece. Thanks, mann.

Anonymous said...

I must say I am surprised you have not had
more responses.

Maybe they just all think the camera-trap codger has lost it, eh...?

I am wondering if Dan's cats get too little attention? I have noticed that Smudgie, the street cat that adopted us, and is not hot on petting, just revels in those cheek rubs. So maybe it's the physical rub and not the licking per se that counts!

But I have absolutely no explanation for what the deer get out of this exchange, except (anthropomorphically speaking of course) the joy of making another sentinel being happy. Clearly there is something important given that more than one individual indulges in the practice (unless they are brothers, where one is following the other's behavior, perhaps).

Anonymous said...

My niece wrote to say "try Googling cat-licking deer", and guess what?



There may be more. Hey, SOME of us have WORK to do . . . .!

Anonymous said...

I did it. I licked the cat. In the name of science, I licked the cat.

She does, indeed, taste salty.

And furry. Ppth.

pwax said...

Very funny.

Jace Stansbury said...

Cool.....Guess I now need to keep an eye out for another type of deer sign- hairballs. ;-)