by The Goat

Hello, Clare. I'll stop chewing on this wad of crop long enough to interview you, if you pause from your pursuit of mice or whatever is moving there, long enough to answer. For the gentle reader, please note Clare is a Cat, a very intelligent Siamese Cat.

What on earth IS moving there? What fascinates you, your eyes on alert, your ears twitching just so?

Hello yourself Goat! I've never talked to a goat before, but I've talked to deer when they come to eat the apples in the yard. *eyes Goat* You're only sort of like a deer. Oh well. What am I looking at? Can't you see all the things moving all around you? The world is alive with movement! Bugs, birds... Quick! Look over there! Did you see that rabbit dart under the hedge? You didn't, did you. But I did!

There's a quote at Breeds of Livestock, which states "Unlike sheep, goats easily revert to feral or wild condition given a chance. In fact, the only domestic species which will return to a wild state as rapidly as a goat is the domestic cat." What's your take on domesticity, anyway? Is it worth it? (It is good to know we have something in common, since we'll never eat out of the same dining trough.)

Domesticity has a lot going for it. All I have to do is make nice at Zoe and I get food set before me without having to hunt for it. Don't get me wrong, I love a good hunt. But all the feathers and fur one has to spit out before getting to the good part make me appreciate those Fancy Feast cans. Besides, Siamese have short fur. It's cold outside in the winter. My house has heat vents to curl up next to. I wouldn't really want to have to live in the wild, but I keep my skills up, just in case. By the way, whatever that is you're eating must be awfully tough, since you're still chewing it. I'm glad I'm not having that for dinner.

The two-legged species think they're so clever. Surely you have a story or two to refute this?

Hmmm. I've never noticed any particular cleverness in Humans. I'll have to get back to you on that one.

What is it really like inside the two-leggeds homes? They, as you probably know, won't let us Goats in. We speculate endlessly in the barn on those cold nights in the dark. I think they're ashamed.

I've mentioned those heat vents. They have beds too. You've probably never seen a bed, have you? Beds are where the Humans sleep. They have a soft, thick pad called a mattress which is covered with cloths, called sheets. On top of that are quilts, or coverings. I always sleep on Zoe's legs at night, but when I get tired in the daytime, beds are a wonderful place for a nap.

Houses are full of all sorts of objects, some of which make the nicest noises when knocked to the floor. Of course Humans don't like this, but it's fun anyway. What else? Oh yes. There are sinks, which are holders for water which comes out of pipes called spigots. These are worked by handles which can turn at the touch of a paw to let the water run out. It's fun to let the water out and run off, leaving Zoe to wonder just how long she's left the water running. She never thinks that any of us Cats could have turned it on.

The only real problem with houses is that you have to wait to be let in or out of them. It's very inconvenient at times.

I doubt that they're ashamed to let you in though, Goat. There's the problem of the litter box. I've never seen one big enough to accommodate a Goat, and Humans do so hate messes on their carpets. I've been watching you as we talk and you don't seem to care what you do with your, er, output.

You are active in Athens and in The Io Effect. Could you tell me about these novels? How would you recommend finding and then participating in a novel, if one is an animal? Are you usually welcomed as a character? I'm sure goats would be really difficult to place, since the two-leggeds already keep us out of their houses.

Oh, I don't know Goat. Lots of novels here could probably use a goat. All these people have to eat you know. What? You look offended. I didn't mean eat you! I meant milk and cheese and such. And you could be transport. I wouldn't recommend the Athens novel for you though. Those ancient Athenians had a habit of sacrificing goats and believe me, it's not a pretty sight.

But you wanted to know how I got my start, didn't you. Zoe's been writing with the Athenians for years now and when she couldn't think of anything intelligent to say, she'd write about me. One night she went to bed early and I created myself online at ATWAS, and the rest is history. The Athenians seem to like me, or at least they put on a good show of it. Once Daphne showed up, things have been a lot more fun, since now I have someone as smart as I am to talk to. Daphne and I help our Humans to solve the murders they seem to attract. I can't help but wonder why two seemingly nice ladies keep getting tangled up with dead bodies.

When we were at Pan Camp last year Beatrice started what has become the Io Effect. I was bored one night and since I could see that she was headed into a trap - she was going into a cave that smelt very like bear to me - I decided to try to warn her, since I like her so much. When the novel was started after Pan's rebirth, I wasn't going to continue, especially since the guidelines specified no non-humans. Beatrice offered to reword that "except for Clare", just for me. Imagine that! So being thus flattered, there I am. The novel's writers are divided into various camps and I have been a part of three groups so far. I see myself as eventually being an ice-breaker between the strangers when they all finally meet up. It's been a stretch writing for this one but I've made some great new friends there.

I'm also in Through the Pages, a novel set in an odd library in England, though I've been napping in there lately. I'm a Library Cat who keeps the rodents and insects down and occasionally turns up an interesting book from the back of the shelves.

I am in no way a magical Cat. I cannot speak Human speech or do anything that any normal Cat would not be able to do. My small contribution to my novels is to give another view of events and, sometimes, to help my Humans find their way out of the fixes they get themselves into.

When you wrestle and pounce on invisible creatures, can you really see them?

What invisible creatures? Just because you can't see them doesn't mean they're not there.

What makes you the happiest? Could you teach other animals how to purr? I'll trade off some goat cheese in exchange.

There are a number of theories as to how a Cat purrs, all having to do with vocal cords and diaphragms and such. What it boils down to is that Cats are biologically constructed differently than Goats, so I can't teach you to purr. I don't like feta cheese anyway, so I'm not out anything.

What makes me happy? Oh, lots of things. Pats, treats, laps, warmth, naps. Above all, attention. So. Have you been paying attention Goat?

Pan Historia