The Animal Connection
Whether we like it or not, animals are an important part of our world - not just our table. From time immemorial, people have watched animals and learned from their behaviors. There are even martial arts forms based on animal fighting and defense methods. And, oh, how we love the creatures! A recent beer commercial focused on the joyful reunion between a man and a horse.
Rita Mae Brown has written a number of successful mysteries featuring animals who talk to each other, cooperate, and find the solution to mysteries faster than their humans do. Animals will cooperate, given the right circumstances. The internet is full of pictures of mother animals giving succor to babies of other species. And the science fiction platform gives me space to explore human/animal relationships.
I chose giant talking cats as a bridge between the human and animal (and alien!) worlds. Why? I've lived with cats all my life and know them better than I know any other species. One could almost say why not cats? They and dogs are the species closest to the human heart, and we all know the value of their animal senses
Everybody knows animals can hear and smell much that we can't. They can also get into spaces we can't and examine things more closely than we ever can. If humans were ever forced to other worlds, we would certainly need the help of our animal companions to make sense of them!