Why Did They Call Cat Stevens, Cat?


Dear G.,


Do you like the songs of Cat Stevens? Of course that is not his name any more, and he has moved on to other things. But we were talking about the danger of being trapped or heedlessly walking into trouble because of not knowing our surroundings. A man said that he changed his whole outlook after so many died in the terrible fire of the Beverly Hills night club in Northern Kentucky. Refrigerated freight trailers were used to haul the bodies away. And it was not a bad place at all, they had exits and followed the fire code. But people became confused and went the wrong way in the smoky interior. This man said that now, when he goes into an unfamiliar building, he checks for exits and stairways before he does anything else.


But what about Cat Stevens? I heard him interviewed and he explained where he got the name “Cat”. He said, “I have a habit, that when I go to any place, I am always looking around, checking things out.” Someone said he did what cats do in that regard and called him “Cat”.


My wife and I adopted a half-starved stray cat and I carried him into our house. When I set him down, he immediately ran the length of the hall, looking everywhere, at everything in each room. Then he slowly walked back in a relaxed manner. Might it not be a good idea for survival-minded people to do the same thing, even on a larger scale?


It costs nothing and can even be interesting to learn your locale in case you have to walk instead of drive, or walk a different route. Alternate routes or alternate ways of life could be considered before they are needed.  You know how I feel about using water travel instead of roads and learning the water routes wherever you live. Water can be a way out that a lot of people never even consider.


We were discussing small boats the other night. A non-boat person asked, “How do you define a small boat?” A man with blue water experience said, “In the twenty foot range.” Others had different ideas. Someone said, “If you can pull it behind your car.” Doc offered my favorite definition though, he said, “A small boat is any boat you can carry.”


 You can relax, G. I’m not going to mention cat boats.