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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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March 17, 2011

The Tale of the Cat and the Crickets

By Mark Sisson
163 Comments

Let me tell you a story I recently heard from a friend of mine. My buddy has a pet that is one of nature’s most ferocious and stubbornly independent obligate predators, a creature that quite honestly has no business living among the gentle citizenry of refined society. A creature that frequently enjoys the luxurious trappings of civilization while periodically giving in to base desire. I refer, of course, to the common house cat. The house cat, unlike its larger canine counterpart, maintains close ties to its recent wild past. Feline domestication happened a scant few thousand years ago, and it’s only in the past half century that cats have moved into the house.

Yeah, they’re house cats now, but through most of their domesticated history, they were barn cats, farm cats, and alley cats – lurking, stalking denizens of the night who only came inside for a saucer of milk or a quick chin scratch. Fifty years is not nearly enough time to extinguish the urge to hunt small beasts, both furry and feathered. Cats will stalk insect intruders, attack toes wriggling underneath blankets, hunt reflected light dancing along the wall, fling themselves at dangling strings, shred shoelaces, and murder defenseless houseplants. Unless they’re sleeping (which is most of the time) they are on “hunt mode.” It’s an essential part of the cat’s identity.

In the past year, my friend learned firsthand just how essential; his cat began exhibiting signs of urethral blockage. He would strain when trying to urinate, drops of blood began to appear, and, eventually, the cat was unable to go at all. He was totally blocked and surgery was nearly inevitable. The vet’s diagnosis was stress-induced inflammation of the urethral sphincter. Something had been stressing the cat out, and the resultant systemic inflammation led to a compromised urethral passageway which could no longer handle the flow of urine. Urinary crystals, which normally pass through without problem, began to accumulate, worsening the situation. He eventually had (expensive) surgery to correct the situation (he would have died otherwise), but that didn’t take care of the stress. My friend had to figure out what was stressing his cat out and how to fix it to prevent any future incidents.

Living indoors, the cat’s catness had been stifled. Chasing feather toys and getting loaded on catnip only worked for so long. Eventually, the urge to kill became too much to ignore. This conflict between essential cat nature and artificial environment caused tons of stress. Now, my friend briefly considered making him an outside cat, which would give him access to wildlife and adventure, but that comes with its own set of risks, especially in high-traffic West Los Angeles. He didn’t want a dead cat. What if he brought the prey to him?

A quick trip to the pet store and three dollars later, my friend had several dozen large live crickets in a box. Crickets are agile, crunchy, inexpensive, not nearly as messy as rodents, and packed with protein and minerals, making them attractive prey for a bored house cat. He figured setting a couple loose and letting his cat have a go at them would make up for the hunting deficit and possibly reduce stress.

And it seemed to work. The cat was a master cricket hunter and began hunting and eating several a day (sometimes up to a dozen in a row). He’d play with them, bat them around, snap off a leg or wing, and take his sweet time. More importantly, he stopped showing outward signs of stress. He purred more often and more easily, he slept through the night without going crazy meowing and getting into trouble, he just seemed a lot happier and more content. All in all, he was a changed cat. And he was peeing without issue, largely due to the surgery, of course, but also, according to my friend, due to the reduction in stress. Why does he think it wasn’t just the surgery? He recently moved across the state. As a result, he noticed a recurrence of stress-related symptoms in his cat, including odd litterbox behavior; upping the daily cricket quota eliminated the symptoms.

As he told me this story, I could only think of how analogous this is to our own situation as what Erwan le Corre calls “zoo humans.” Sure, it’s far more complex with people, as our prime directive isn’t just to hunt and kill, but we are animals with certain inherent inclinations toward certain acts, or ways of being, that often directly conflict with certain aspects of our civilized surroundings. And then there’s my friend and trusted colleague, Richard Nikoley, whose blog, called “Free the Animal,” is largely about exploring how our animal natures conflict not just with modern foods/lifestyles, but with political systems and society itself.

What does this cat and cricket story mean for us? Is it just further evidence that animals should be aware of where and how their health might suffer in modern “zoo” life? Does it simply reinforce the refrain to avoid evolutionarily novel foods, habits, and stressors, so long as they are shown to be harmful?

It’s more than that. We’ve got to acknowledge, as Richard says, that we are animals. Moreover, we are animals that seek to be free – free to pursue health, happiness, and free to revel in our animal natures. Animal nature isn’t a negative thing. It doesn’t deserve the negative connotations (savagery, rape, war, hate, fear) cooked up by thousands of years of repression. Animal nature is not “good” or “bad”; it simply is. Empathy and love and compassion are innate and animalistic, and I think everyone would say those are good things.

And so I ask you: what are your crickets? Do you have any Primal, animal instincts that are being stifled? If so, how do you work around them? Or has civilization completely conquered and subdued the human animal inside?

I don’t know about you, but I need my crickets. That’s why I eat all the meat I want, lift what I want, wear the shoes (or don’t) I want. Here are a few others:

  • I need frequent “forest bathing” to feel normal. Hikes, paddle boarding excursions, snowboarding, even just sitting on a beach regarding the waves and sun dipping down below the horizon – immersing myself in nature, even using modern “technology” like books or boards, is a requisite stress fighter. The key is getting away from walled enclosures and into unpredictable surroundings.
  • Lifting heavy things and sprinting keep me sane, whereas endurance training never scratched that same itch (even when I did it for a living). There’s something about giving maximum effort and knowing that this is all you have to give because it’s so brief and impossible to maintain for more than a few seconds that it satisfies you deep down. Running long distance is also a kind of maximum effort, but more mentally trying than physically: is it really a test of physicality if you’re able to do it for hours at a time? I like being limited by objective physical energy, and pushing that limit.
  • Sex. Yeah, it’s the most notorious and frowned upon of all “animal instincts,” but boy does it make you feel alive (and glad to be so). You can stick romantic love in there, too.
  • A bloody steak. I need at least two or three a week. I’m even guilty of not letting the steak rest for five minutes before digging in. I dunno – I sometimes like the juices to get everywhere. I also lick the plate.
  • Companionship, camaraderie, friendship. Having dinner with friends and family. Sharing a laugh. Confiding in someone. Arguing with someone whom you respect, ideally courteously but not necessarily so.
  • Going shirtless. I know, I know. It sounds silly, but there’s just something about shedding clothes that feels right. It’s nothing to do with how I look; it’s all about how I feel.

What are yours?

Hunting? Meditation? Playing sports?

I reject the negative connotations accumulated from millennia of repressive thought that surround the idea of our animal natures. In fact, I think we owe it to ourselves and our health to revel in them. Don’t hurt anyone, but don’t hurt yourself by stifling yourself. My crickets don’t put me at odds with the law, nor do they put anyone else in harm’s way. They might get some weird looks from other people, but that’s fine. This is not necessarily about formally opposing formal political authority. This isn’t picketing or protests. This is merely about recognizing the (passive and nonpassive) ways in which civilization conflicts with human nature, and opposing the instances that become pathological, or harmful to our health. It is going barefoot at the office, or constructing a standup workstation, or eating a pound of steak in the lunchroom slathered in butter?

Tell me, what are your crickets?

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163 Comments on "The Tale of the Cat and the Crickets"

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KettlebellMan
KettlebellMan
5 years 6 months ago
That reminds me of one my favorite cat stories. When I was in high school we had a gorgeous black cat as a pet. I recall going to bed one summer night, sleeping with the windows open. Just when I started dozing off I started to hear intermittent squeaks from my backyard. After a few minutes of this I decided to look out the window. Since it was a beautiful moonlit night I was able to see what was going on. Our cat had caught a mouse and was “playing” with it. He’d catch it, let go and catch it… Read more »
Tomasz R.
Tomasz R.
5 years 6 months ago

Cat “playing” with mouse is a check if the mouse doesn’t have toxoplasma.

http://healthmad.com/conditions-and-diseases/toxoplasmosis-mind-altering-parasites-in-the-human-brain/

Josh
Josh
5 years 6 months ago

Wow! That is pretty wild! I was vaguely aware of Toxoplasmosis, but to read about the test findings on the rats and mice, that really is some full on parasite “mind control”. Thanks for posting that link!

Bonnie
5 years 6 months ago
You make a good point. We have made ourselves a world at odds with our own natures. I recently left a corporate job that required me to sit still too long and be awake when I should be sleeping. Today, my life is simpler. I have time to walk, time to sleep and time to notice that the linden tree is budding and the neighborhood squirrels seem to have multiplied. What are my crickets? My small flock of backyard chickens graciously provide me with both eggs and endless hours of entertainment, and my garden feeds me and lets me revel… Read more »
wildshan
5 years 6 months ago

“I recently left a corporate job that required me to sit still too long and be awake when I should be sleeping.”

YES.

Erin
5 years 6 months ago

Did the same thing, quit corporate land 15 months ago. I love my simple life, my cats entertain me and are far better ‘cubicle’ mates then I previously had. If I get a stressed feeling or feel the need for fresh air, a 3 minute drive and I can go hiking at 10 am on a weekday with not a soul around. I have cut back expenses and would gladly give up even more ‘luxuries’ at this point as long as I could stay out of an office for good! Boy have my priorities shifted the last few years.

Primal Toad
5 years 6 months ago

Their is a fantastic chance I will be quitting my job tomorrow. Oh how awesome it will feel when I leave. Time to live life EXTREMELY simple!

Nigel
Nigel
5 years 6 months ago

Until there is phonetic spelling your simplicity will still need to include the distinction between “there” and “their”!
You either have a “simple life” or “live life simply”!

another halocene human
another halocene human
5 years 6 months ago

You must be a peach at parties, Nigel.

LM
LM
5 years 6 months ago
Same here. I left a hyper-prestigious, hyper-intense corporate job that required me to ignore my body’s and mind’s needs in the service of making money – my need for sleep, for healthy food, for wearing shoes that don’t hurt my feet, for staring at things other than a computer monitor, for spending time outside, for adequate rest and relaxation, for socializing with my friends. To me, the money wasn’t worth it, and I could feel my health declining because the natural needs of my body and my mind weren’t being met. No more. I started my own practice last month,… Read more »
Eduard - People Skills Decoded
5 years 6 months ago

Hey Mark,

I think this story is a good example how evolution inside a specie is much slower than the learning process a single individual can have in a lifetime.

Some things are still in our genes and we can’t ignore them if we want to have healthy and happy lives.

Cheers,

Nigel
Nigel
5 years 6 months ago

The word “species” is used for both the singular and plural forms of the noun.

lojasmo
lojasmo
5 years 6 months ago

Stop with the pedantism, please.

Chris
Chris
5 years 6 months ago
about once a week, when its sunny outside, ill run to a forest area near by. Ill take off my clothes and paint my self to look like a tiger, run into the trees. Then when night sets, ill lie in wait for the foolish deer to cross my path, unknowing that man-tiger awaits him in the bush. When that imbecile deer is munching its precious last bit of grass, ill spring out and end its life with a bite to the throat, then thank the forest spirit for my food that night. i will then walk home with the… Read more »
Nigel
Nigel
5 years 6 months ago

You were stripped but the tiger was striped!
More conventional to use “I’ll” rather than “ill”.

Calvin
Calvin
5 years 6 months ago

Thanks Nigel, people love it when you correct them.

Rather than treat each comment like a “Where’s Waldo?” book for typing errors, why not try and contribute something meaningful? For instance, my “crickets” are long shirtless walks in the sun with my dog and nights spent lounging around with the fam. What’re yours?

Marc
Marc
4 years 4 months ago

Obviously Nigel’s crickets are correcting others grammar errors. I can appreciate that! Does Nigel have tattoos or piercings; probably not…sounds like a civilized gent.

John
John
5 years 6 months ago
This article reminded me of a quote from the movie, the African Queen: Humphrey Bogart (Mr Allnut): A man takes a drop too much once in a while, it’s only human nature. Katherine Hepburn: Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above. How sad that so many people follow that belief. My personal crickets are hunting and fishing. Even then I strive to keep things as simple as possible. It was a long time ago that my traditional archery equipment replaced by Hi-tech compound bow and my Kayak replaced my motor boat which had… Read more »
Lynna
Lynna
5 years 6 months ago
I do this too…. “A bloody steak. I need at least two or three a week. I’m even guilty of not letting the steak rest for five minutes before digging in. I dunno – I sometimes like the juices to get everywhere. I also lick the plate.” Forest bathing – so that’s what it’s called. I didn’t go out as much this winter as past winters and I seriously missed my walks on the trails in the local park. I’ve been able to get out recently and I feel much better now. Going shirtless – at least here in the… Read more »
Noctiluca
Noctiluca
5 years 6 months ago

“Going shirtless – at least here in the U.S. not an option for females. The closest I get is a camisole. Also there are some men who I would also rather not see shirtless…”

There are MANY places where it is actually legal for women to be shirtless in the US. We are just culturally programed to ignore that fact. I sometimes think we need to just stage a ‘it’s legal lets do it’ day so no one is going it alone. And then do it often enough that it just becomes the way it is.

shannon
shannon
5 years 6 months ago

Where are those places?

I can get away with it on my farm, but a couple of times I’ve gotten caught.

lojasmo
lojasmo
5 years 6 months ago

NYC subways, for one.

Tina
5 years 6 months ago
Noctiluna, given your use of ‘we’ I am going to assume you are female. Women have made great strides over the past century in being able to wear less restrictive clothing (among other things like, oh say, voting), but the ‘cultural programming’ of which you speak that keeps most women from taking advantage of laws that allow their public shirtlessness is called ‘rape culture.’ If a woman is sexually assaulted, in our culture, one of the first things we look at is what she was wearing. Have you heard about that 11-year-old girl who was gang-raped in Texas a few… Read more »
Robin
Robin
5 years 5 months ago

Great point Tina.
When we live in a Utopian society, where women are not treated like sexual objects, then I will feel comfortable going topless.
That said, Noctulina’s idea is not totally out of the question. Large groups of women going topless would be safer and it would make topless females seem more common place.
Still, the issue is more complicated than that. 🙁

Quag
Quag
5 years 6 months ago

Topless is definitely an option in the US. Many (but not all) communities outlaw exposing one’s genitals or anus. Breasts, of course, are neither.

I live in Austin, TX and going topless is completely legal here. There’s a city park with a spring fed swimming hole called Barton Springs. Women (and men) go topless there all the time.

Amy
Amy
5 years 6 months ago

like mark, i need my steak, sunshine, windsprints, and heavy lifting. i also need gut-busting laughs – specifically with my best friends, playing with kids, and wrestling around/play fighting. doing something creative (singing in the shower/car, dance, art, writing) has been powerfully de-stressing, too, tho it doesn’t strike me as particularly primal…

…and i didn’t know that cats were so recently domesticated. this explains why they always think they own the place. i am more than happy to leave them outside to not try to run my life.

Turbochaser
Turbochaser
5 years 6 months ago

Sex, nature fun-time, finding things to eat outside, gardening (and the resulting acute awareness of the weather), competitive running and bicyle riding in the countryside. Naps, camping trips, no-shower weeks, dancing and nudity are up there too.

I think the term “zoo humans” is particularly apt…

shannon
shannon
5 years 6 months ago
I had one of my recurrent nightmares last night: it’s the “lost in the city” nightmare, where I’m in a dark, industrial city, and I’m lost, and I can’t find my way out. In the version of this dream last night, I was actually crawling under the floorboards of a house, through cobwebs, toward the light! I think this is about my life in Houston, where I work during the school year. Right now, though, I’m at my farm in TN, where I’m usually happy. My “crickets” are gardening, walking with dogs, “hunting” with a camera, no running water (heating… Read more »
Chris
Chris
5 years 6 months ago

Loud music.

I have a need to periodically crank up my favorite tunes and then just get lost in the beat and the feeling of the music.

I’ve always believed that music is one of man’s most primal activities and I recently read an article about drum circles and a quick search shows that they’ve been discussed a bit here at MDA.

Sounds right to me.

Andrea
Andrea
5 years 6 months ago

Sounds like me – I have an Mp3player on my bike, usually blaring at full blast.

Sigh, my family to have a cat like this. We had a system – I’d mimic his hunting chatter to alert him there was a moth or mosquito hawk in the house. If the bug was too high up, the little brat expected me to hold him up while he nailed the bug.

Sadly, his life was shortened and nearly by those “greenies” treats that are supposed to be good for him. He was better off eating the bugs.

Andrea
Andrea
5 years 6 months ago

oops, I mean nearly ended

Elenor
Elenor
4 years 6 months ago
My “youngest son” (a Siamese) was the only one of my three who was a *rabid* moth eater… There was one month a year where these fat (juicy {shudder}) dusty moths would be all over the place, and at night, as I walked down the hall to the bedroom, Rico would stalk alongside me — watching as I used a fly swatter to whack (probably 15-20 of) these icky things off the ceiling, and he’d pounce and devour. By the bedroom door — his whole face was moth-dusted! But he LOVED those bedtime snacks! (I just wanted ’em out of… Read more »
Anna
5 years 6 months ago

Very nice article and beautiful cat BTW,

Thank you

Mmmm....
Mmmm....
5 years 6 months ago

I also love being outdoors-skiing, hiking, kayaking, whatever…I love stroking moss covered trees and rocks; it feels good! I love gardening, and even though my land is tiny (maybe a total of 50 sqft), I try to dig into the earth and see what worms are underneath, and weed and sow seeds and harvest delicious foods.
I also love spinning yarn, touching fiber that was (usually) on an animal beforehand, smelling the ‘sheepy’ lanolin smell. I love going to (happy) farms or wool festivals and looking at all the different sheep! (And eating lamb!)

James
James
5 years 6 months ago

Think about a square foot garden, google that. They’re cheap and space efficient

Jon
Jon
5 years 6 months ago
Mark has spoken before about the innate “primal” nature of children when they play. My two year old son is a perfect example. All he ever wants to do is run, jump, climb things, pick up large heavy (for him) objects and move them around… And all of these activities were vital to ancient human survival. And it occurred to me recently that as parents, we spend a lot of time telling our kids NOT to do exactly those things: “Don’t run in the house! Don’t climb on the bookcase! Don’t try to move the furniture! Stay off the stairs!”… Read more »
Lilian
5 years 6 months ago

..or why kids have to be drugged in order to conform to sitting still, hours on end, in school.

Cassie
5 years 6 months ago

Yes. I love this perspective. My son is always experimenting with dropping things in water or ‘testing out gravity’ by throwing different objects down on to the floor. Sometimes it gets old but I like to try to have the attitude that he is just seeing how things work, which is true most of the time.

Brendan
5 years 6 months ago

awesome blog idea Mark, I often try to make a similar point in conversations with my family and friends but I have never laid it out so comprehensively as you have. thanks for the material!

Kethry
Kethry
5 years 6 months ago
I have two furballs and can very much relate to this on both the human and feline levels. I try to play with my cats as much as I can, not only for their good but for mine – the antics are enough to make me crack up laughing. The Himalayan loves to play in the (dry) tub, and the Angora needs her soft fuzzy ball to play with. My crickets are grass fed meat every day, walks outside, meditating at least an hour a day, my book collection and getting together with friends. The zoo humans is very apt… Read more »
Arthurb999
Arthurb999
5 years 6 months ago

What a great article.
Nice job.

-Arthur

Chris Harper
Chris Harper
5 years 6 months ago

I go mountain biking. If I don’t go a couple times a week I get antsy, grouchy and downright hard to be around.
I know, a high tech mountain bike isn’t exactly primal. But, I think it it sratches the primal itch. I get to be in the woods. I get some good old fashioned adrenalin going. It is a varied workout. It requires a lot of concentration, so I forget all my other worries for awhile.
So, that’s my crickets…..

James
James
5 years 6 months ago
Awesome post Mark! We had a cat growing up that was a house cat. He went from a barn cat to the house, pretty much went nuts and would throw up 2-3 times a day sometimes. Finally, I remembered my mom threw him out of the house one day, looked at him, and told him to “live or die, your choice”. That cat disappeared for 3 months, and I was sure he died out there. But one day this cat was sitting on our porch, 3 times as big as before and 10 times as happy. What’s funny is that… Read more »
Samantha Moore
Samantha Moore
5 years 6 months ago

Hunting. Eating meat. Dancing in the desert with a mask on my head. Waking up at dawn and walking to the fire while the moon sets behind the hill. Creating art. Road trips. Riding horses. Walking in the woods nearby.

Robin
Robin
5 years 5 months ago

I love that! Creating art IS primal! I never even thought of that but it’s definitely one of my crickets too! I do computer 3d modeling for work but sometimes I need some clay in my hands or to finger paint!

Ginger Baker
5 years 6 months ago
Dance of all sorts, but particularly partner dancing of some kind. Salsa is a must in my week! Sex. Even though I’ve chosen (for a number of complex reasons) to be celibate for the first half of this year, I definitely indulge in self-loving…and I look forward to July! Brazilian jiu jitsu. There’s just something about grappling that I LOVE. I’m working to find more time for it in my life! Connecting with my kids. This is vital. I love to get them outside, but I also love to get involved in complex games with them, art projects, deep bedtime… Read more »
DL
DL
5 years 6 months ago
Kind of ironically, watching the cat (I think he’d be offended if I called him MY cat) hunt is one of mine. It’s kind of a reminder that you can take the animal out of the wild but it’s hard to take the wild out of the animal. It would be more fun if he would stop treating my toes as prey, but they’re about the only living things he gets a chance to actually hunt. Being in the water. Not so much swimming for the sake of getting from A to B or exercise, but splashing around and wading/floating.… Read more »
Tjohns
Tjohns
5 years 6 months ago
Mark, I do get the point of your post as I own cats myself amongst reptiles, birds and tarantulas. It is a challenge and a responsibility to keep house pets stimulated for optimal health and harmony. However feeding any of your pets with crickets from a “Pet Megastore” is just like playing Russian roulette with the animals life. I used to exclusively feed my tarantulas off of crickets from my local Petsmart and as a result I’ve lost several healthy normal tarantulas to poisoning at the same time. I’ve also lost a few crickets that managed to make it to… Read more »
Julie
Julie
5 years 6 months ago

Fascinating information! One reason I love reading MDA is that so many thoughtful folks share so many thought-provoking posts.

Jenny
Jenny
5 years 6 months ago

Interesting. You say to get crickets from “healthier sources” — what would you suggest?

When I worked at a pet store we got our crickets shipped from the same cricket dealers I’ve heard some reptile breeders use (Fluker’s, etc.)

We made sure they turned over pretty quickly and fed them to minimize cannibalism.

Still, I wonder if there’s really much we can do about whether any given batch of crickets has a higher parasite load than another.

John
John
5 years 6 months ago

This post reminds me of a book I read recently by Temple Grandin called Animals Make Us Human. Having the cat hunt for crickets fulfills its “seeking” desire. All animals have this “seeking” drive, and it needs to be met in order to be psychologically healthy. If you enjoyed this post, I highly recommend the book.

Julian
Julian
5 years 6 months ago

I was gonna say “a problem to solve” but seeking seems to fit better. I enjoy mystery novels and movies. I look for things that cause me to look for more things (answers, new experiences, better ways of doing anything).

Gary Deagle
5 years 6 months ago

Playing sports and waking up naturally with no alarm clock. Normally whenever the sun rises.

Primal Toad
5 years 6 months ago

Oh how sweet it is. Waking up naturally without alarm clock but instead when the sun rises! I have soo much more energy when I do this! In about 2 weeks I will be able to do this daily for the rest of the spring/summer. I can’t wait.

Brett
Brett
5 years 6 months ago

Great article, Mark! A great story and an even better message for all of us.

I’ve always been a “cat person”…now I understand why!

Nicky Spur
5 years 6 months ago

Nice crickets — I’d take all those, plus add the need for some naps.

Peggy
Peggy
5 years 6 months ago

My cricket is watching my dog go after his “cricket”. He truly believes that if he follows every fox trail, he will eventually catch one. Every set of fox tracks in the snow MUST be investigated. I know the fox will never be in danger, especially in the deep snow as the dog is a corgi ^,,^

Kellie
Kellie
5 years 6 months ago

Peggy you just gave me a big smile picturing your corgi pushing his little legs through deep snow to complete his mission 🙂

Dragonfly
Dragonfly
5 years 6 months ago

I agree about watching the dog go after his “cricket.” My Jack Russell loves it when I let her run through the woods smelling and investigating. They say walks and smelling keeps dog’s minds active and stave off dementia…..with Shiloh reaching 15 years this month, she still acts like a puppy and many people mistake her for one.

dragonmamma
dragonmamma
5 years 6 months ago

I really love my weekly basketball game when I get so focused on getting the ball that I go into what I call “doggy mode”, in which I don’t even notice how hard I’m working out. I just need to get that ball!

Medicine ball slams are my second favorite, but it’s not the same level as playing against opponents.

rob
rob
5 years 6 months ago

The first rule about Fight Club — don’t talk about Fight Club.

bee
5 years 6 months ago

my cricket is martial arts. it’s challenging and liberating. it enables me to push my body to its limits and discipline my mind.

bee
5 years 6 months ago

as for my silly cat (who gets raw homeground meat for food along with a tiny bit of kibble as treats), she doesn’t seem to know that mice are for eating. she hunts and kills them, but never makes an attempt to eat them.

Jeff
Jeff
5 years 6 months ago
Wonderful blog, The timing is perfect, this is an issue I’ve been focusing a lot on recently. Personally, I find I have the most problems when I’m not doing the following things. 1) Getting enough quality time with family and friends. We are pack animals, most cultures still keep multiple generations under the same roof, and I feel that is natural. Being I don’t live with my parents or have a family of my own, sometimes I have to look elsewhere to fill this void. This can be a partner, co workers, direct family or even a tight group such… Read more »
Void_provocateur
Void_provocateur
5 years 6 months ago

Has anyone noticed that the evil behaviors we refer to as our animal nature tend to be unique to humans? But the ones referred to as human nature, tend to be universal in the animal kingdom? The biggest exception is sexual desire (vs rape). It’s the biggest one we have the common sense to call animal nature. Like it’s a bad thing. Mankind has one huge ego.

I’m with Mark, take off the accouterments of civilizations and we’re just mammals. (not ‘just’, this is an amazing thing). Repression serves no one, be free (within reason).

Abby
Abby
5 years 6 months ago

I lick my plate too!! best way to end a good steak.

shannon
shannon
5 years 6 months ago

I feel as if I’m depriving my dog if I lick my own plate. She thinks that’s her job.

Dana Zia
5 years 6 months ago

My crickets are sleeping as much as I want, (self employed) walking on the beach or in the woods with our wound up dog, and cooking wild game or fish for dinner that my very caveman husband has drug home. I guess that is another cricket for me, living and sleeping with a wild caveman that was that way long before it was popular. He hikes, hunts, fishes and “scouts game” all year long. Our freezer is full thanks to him.
Here’s to the wild side in all of us.

Alison Golden
5 years 6 months ago
Walking outside, focusing hard (like hunting, I guess,) living without a lot of ‘stuff.’ I come from the UK where we wouldn’t dream of keeping cats indoors so it was a bit of shock to find that cats in CA are expected to use a litter box their whole life. I considered it for a moment when it was time to rescue two cats but I couldn’t do it. How unnatural. We live in surburbia, there are some nocturnal predators but very few cars so they go outside during the day, indoors at night. I wouldn’t have a cat if… Read more »
Nigel
Nigel
5 years 6 months ago

Cats are predators particularly when feral.

Dana Zia
5 years 6 months ago

Our cats stay indoors alot due to the fact that they enter the food chain if they go outside here. I have lost at least two cats that way. Lots of coyotes.

primal tree top
primal tree top
5 years 6 months ago

I haven’t indulged many of my own crickets in a while and I’m paying for it. I have a mound of school work and I think I am comming to my limit of this s**t.

I love bike riding,sleeping out doors, and going to the shooting range. Next year I am going to learn how to hunt.

To keep myself somewhat happy I eat lots of raw meat and go hiking on the weekend after work when I can.

Dom
5 years 6 months ago

My crickets are open water swims and hiking. Also shaving my head and growing a beard too.

Notch
Notch
5 years 6 months ago
On a related note, the Vet I have worked with since I enterd into animal rescue 20 some years ago hung up her shingle in 1961. She told me (and she has never been wrong) that “back in the day”, before dry catfood was mass produced and marketed, she NEVER saw a single urinary tract blockage in cats (the males have the most trouble)… Now she gets two or three a week. According to her the cheapest wet catfood is better for your indoor male cat than the most expensive dry food…. My male cat has had no problems since… Read more »
singer201
singer201
5 years 6 months ago

My horses are my crickets. I’ve been without one for the last three years and have noticed how much I miss it, mentally and physically. Riding strengthens the core naturally, and caring for horses provides opportunities for sprinting and weight carrying. I’m getting a horse again soon and can’t wait for the healthful benefits.

Blue Buddha
5 years 6 months ago
I’ve got 4 kitties myself and every day enjoy playing with them. I play “handball” with them by throwing a small squishy ball—which happens to look like a basketball for some reason–against my wall and all 4 kitties chase it. I also run around the house and have them chase me and I chase them back. So, I guess that’s one of my crickets—playing with my furry friends. I also thoroughly enjoy reading as well as watching at least one episode of Kids in the Hall a day. I don’t laugh at most TV/Movies, but for some reason I literally… Read more »
Alex Good
Alex Good
5 years 6 months ago

I have a touch of bloodlust. I currently have no idea how to satisfy it without jail time.
If you have any ideas then please post them.

Erik Cisler
Erik Cisler
5 years 6 months ago

Have you watched Dexter?

shannon
shannon
5 years 6 months ago

You could kill crickets.

primal tree top
primal tree top
5 years 6 months ago

This happens to me from time to time. If, you live somewhere where you can take an intense run and then come home and eat some warm raw or slightly cooked meat this often helps.

If, you have a mate lots of sex will do the trick too.

Good luck with your blood lust.
If all else fails go out and buy some blood from a reputable butcher mix with a little salt and pepper put in blender and drink.

A true Bloody Mary.

Jenny
Jenny
5 years 6 months ago

A martial art school that promotes nearly full-contact sparring worked for me. Still no actual blood (well not often) but it is a good competitive rush of adrenalin and human conflict.

Dawn
Dawn
5 years 6 months ago

Wrestling. I love to wrestle my husband to expend excess energy from frustration, anger, stress, and a general feeling of being cooped up. 🙂 Dancing is great because it also expends energy and makes me smile. Wearing tanks is awesome because it makes me feel freer (same goes for flip flops and quadrupled int he winter). And then there’s endulging in good steak. Yum!

Stabby
Stabby
5 years 6 months ago
Nice, Mark. You are more than just a health and fitness author, you are a psychologist. I remember a passage in Mihaly C’s book The Evolving Self when he talks about his retriever dog in the same way as the cat. His dog has genes selected for retrieving and when the dog gets to chase tennis balls it is “unfolding its being” and living how it needs to. And, indeed we’re no different. Also agreed on having to be wrong a forest to feel normal. Sports are good too. Competition and striving for perfection together with an opponent. Some of… Read more »
Richard Nikoley
5 years 6 months ago
Thanks for the shout Mark, as always. I particularly like the last paragraph, specifically: ” Don’t hurt anyone, but don’t hurt yourself by stifling yourself. My crickets don’t put me at odds with the law, nor do they put anyone else in harm’s way. They might get some weird looks from other people, but that’s fine. This is not necessarily about formally opposing formal political authority. This isn’t picketing or protests. This is merely about recognizing the (passive and nonpassive) ways in which civilization conflicts with human nature, and opposing the instances that become pathological, or harmful to our health.”… Read more »
Ben
Ben
5 years 6 months ago

Rugby.

AlyieCat
AlyieCat
5 years 6 months ago

Running without a shirt (I’m a girl).

Hoeing potatoes and watering the gardeb.

Johnny Palmer
5 years 6 months ago

Cold showers after exercise followed by no shirt on for at least an hour, no matter what the weather. Feels so good to be alive

Craig
Craig
5 years 6 months ago

Depression can be said to be deviating from our natural desires and needs. Life out of balance. When, like the indoor cat, we fail to feel alive and we are outside of our natural state, inevitably we start to feel bad about ourselves.

That’s why survival stressors are such an incredible natural anti-depressant.

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