Cat avatar on Second Life


The other day, I picked up the following appearance for my avatar on Second Life:

humanoid cat sitting on a cat tree

It’s actually a wildcat avatar since it had more options for moving around and stuff than the cat avatar, but close enough. I’ve been mostly into realistic avatars, and still didn’t want to look like the norm for avatars on Second Life (which is to say, for females anyway, tall, skinny, and conventionally sexy), so I gave this one roughly the same build I have. Then Muskie gave me a cat tree so I sat on it.

For those who haven’t met me, I speak what Anne Bevington calls fluent cat. I’ve always been around cats, they’ve always made a fair bit of sense to me, I’m comfortable with them. When I was a kid I spent quite a long time “being a cat,” including walking around on the back fence keeping neighbor cats out of our territory. (I don’t want to know what they thought of the weird kid doing cat postures on top of the back fence.) I even did somewhat more, uh, embarrassing kinds of territory-marking. I could (and can still) make just about any noise cats can make, and most movements. My main regret was that I didn’t have a tail and swivel-ears.

So I always said if I was going to go for an unrealistic avatar on Second Life, it’d probably be a cat. So there’s my cat avatar. The only thing that bugs me is that it’s an anthropomorphic cat. I don’t totally understand the draw of anthropomorphic-shaped animals (besides humans and such). Aside from the fact that it’s easier to put into Second Life’s avatar structure. It’d be nice to have one that actually moves like a cat instead of like a human in a cat-shaped outfit.

About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods, which tell me who I am and where I belong in the world. I relate to objects as if they are alive, but as things with identities and properties all of their own, not as something human-like. Culturally I'm from a California Okie background. Crochet or otherwise create constantly, write poetry and paint when I can. Proud member of the developmental disability self-advocacy movement. I care a lot more about being a human being than I care about what categories I fit into.

28 responses »

  1. how interesting! I tried second life & I understand about the typical female avatars. I didn’t like the whole experience myself & my computer skills are not that good. I kept finding myself lost out in the middle of nowhere, so I quit. Are you part of an Austisic community in second life?

  2. Hi Amanda
    sorry by going off topic. I wonder if I can send to you some thougts by e-mail on some research I have recopilated. I would be interested on your opinion about.
    Thank you very much in advance
    María Luján

  3. It was because of your cat avatar that I decided to be a Care Bear. Only problem is people don’t see me anymore (the Care Bear avatar is less than 3 feet, and I’m normally 5’10”).

    It walks like a Care Bear too :)

  4. It seems like a brown tabby cat would fit you very well (I think). But I am not THAT good at “cat language” :)
    Second life looks so interesting! I hope that it works that text thing you all are trying to do so that those of us with old computers can join in discussions etc! (Aothough we can’t have cool cat atavars :(

  5. I should think your cat-fur color could be like your human-hair color. Not sure if there is a dark-brown kind of cat. I have seen a cat color that is black mixed allover with what look like little gold flecks, but i don’t know what that is called. I was wondering about the human style arms and legs, too, in the back of my mind. I imagine that it would complicate the animation to make the knees go the other direction and such. There must be a walking-on-all-fours animation, though…?

  6. I do think the big reason it’s a cat-person and not a proper cat is really just that it’s that much easier. They can just change the external apperance, without having to go through all the extra work of creating accurate cat-motions.

  7. Is there any way to be able to see the new comments since last time I opened the page/commented? (I mean, other than going to each blog entry and looking at the comments for each one individually?) Is there a page that has this?

  8. Hi Amanda, thank you for your answer. I was thinking to post about research on autistic brain and I mention you at least once. I only wanted to know your opinion about my comments and my partial conclussions – from your (very valuable for me) point of view and if I am citing you properly. If you consider as you post, I surely respect you but I think you will ( be able to form an opinion).
    Thanks, again

  9. L>T – ditto. I don’t know if it’s me or my computer, but I found it far too laggy and difficult to control to get interested in it. Just found it frustrating.

  10. Pingback: Il mondo degli avatar: Cat « In..Second Life

  11. I have seen some less anthropomorphic feline avatars. They come with animations for somewhat catlike walking and running and other movements. They aren’t perfectly catlike, but at least they are quadrupedal. Sorry I don’t know where to get them, but maybe if you ask around you can find them. Personally I have a giant quadrupedal feline-type dragon avatar, which I got from the Isle of Wyrms. It’s the “Bast” dragon, with a cat-shaped head and tail, sort of generic animal body, and clawed dragon feet. It has sort of a stylized look inspired by ancient Egypt. Is there going to be another Autistic Liberation Front discussion tomorrow (Tuesday) ? If so, I hope to be able to go to it.

  12. Er, more like a dark brown tabby where the stripes are not highly contrasty. With gold eyes and but without the tufted ears. And light on the feet (My what big feet that avatar has!)


  13. I like the idea of you as a brown tabby. :)

    I wish I weren’t allergic to cats — that cramps my style in interacting with them quite a bit. :( I was extremely fond of my friend’s Siamese mix cat; she’d be meowing at everyone and everything, and I’d talk back to her in English. She seemed to appreciate it, and my friend thought it was the funniest thing in the world. (One of our other friends thought it was incredibly weird, to the point of it bothering her for some reason.)

  14. I’m actually very allergic to cats (not the most severely, but considered severely anyway). And I end up living with one anyway (with a whole ton of Benadryl — I need to find something better than that).

    I once met a Siamese cat and he and I meowed at each other for quite awhile.

  15. Regarding the tabby stuff, I can only find orange or grey tabbies. So for now I’ll stick to grey and spotted. I did find myself a tail, and some more expressive ears, and a laundry basket bed, a cat tree, and a patch of catnip to roll around in, though. :-)

  16. Re: anthropomorphic-shaped animals — I think that the appeal of these is, to some people, based on the fact that it’s a lot easier for humans to dress up like them (as in, wear costumes). I am guessing that eventually, computer-based avatars will move more toward allowing realistic animal avatars, but what you’re seeing in Second Life re. anthropomophic avatars is a case of moving imagery from matter-space into virtual space.

  17. I drive, and can’t drive on Benadryl. My husband is allergic to cats, and not really a cat person. So unless someone else is driving that day (happening less frequently as of late, since I’m regularly driving a new friend who’s a non-driver), I can’t really hang with the kitties.

  18. Last night I checked out Second Life. Between my computer freezing up or lagging and my lack of coordination on the controls, it was hard even to read the walls, but I tried. I probably did 5 minutes worth of stuff in an hour. Ha. So I just can’t “hang” because I do “hang”. I kept walking into walls and ending up in the wrong room. Ugh.

    Last time I even tried to log on was September when I popped, um, er, teleported(?) into ALF. Well I accidentally somehow got outside without trying and heard police sirens. I thought that was interesting. Probably a week or two later I realized maybe the sirens were about me and trespassing. Who knows.

    That’s the price I pay (or not) for getting the cheapest e-machine out there (grins). Oh well, at least all you Second Lifers are safe from my fart .wavs. Or am I over that? Hm LOL

  19. You can find many quad (4-footed, as opposed to 2-footed) avs in furry market places, as well. Rocket City FurMeet is where I look first if I want to find a furry avatar.

    If you want more -realistic- animals of all kinds, I highly suggest Grendel’s Children (in the region Avaria Tor). Everything is inexpensive and good quality. They have other kinds of things there, too. Not just animals.

    Um, if you wanna talk I’m Saiko Herbst. I’ve been on SL since .. gosh.. 2004. So I could share a lot with you, if you want. So I won’t be such a stranger.

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