Let’s see if I got this right. It began with Cheetah. My Macintosh computer did. It went well enough, I suppose, except that the big cat kept gnawing on its own insides, leading to no end of lost data. That was 2001. Not a Space Odyssey but an Apple marketing trick. That’s when the cats first got loose.
So, when the Cheetah kept making blunders, it got eaten — animal kingdom style — by the Puma, which was like a Cheetah but slower unless you stuck it inside a computer. The Puma gnawed less and talked to me in customized interface language, which was incredibly sexy coming from a cat inside a machine.
Alas, Puma, which I liked, was swept aside by the Jaguar. What made Jaguar special was that everyone knew it was a Jaguar, since the cat got actual public marketing (unlike the poor Cheetah and Puma, relegated to insider gossip).
Jaguar had a way of talking to me in French — Bonjour! This was annoying since none of my real-life cats spoke French or even bothered talking to me at all. Jaguar also got along with Sherlock, but please don’t ask me how or why.
Soon after Jaguar — things are happening fast, I know — came Panther. Panther had Finder and Preview, both obvious jungle ingredients but until then nowhere to be found. It also had Safari, which Jaguar found extremely offensive, since why would a Jaguar even think of entertaining a Safari. Ask Steve Jobs. Or don’t. Not now.
Panther also had customizable Sidebar, which was like a set of claws but more orderly and arranged to suit all predatory users. It also upgraded Darwin, further disturbing a distinguished man who found himself repeatedly woken in those years.
I thought Panther would stick with me for a while, and I tried keep it — until it was attacked, first by Tiger and then by Leopard, creating a rather troubling menagerie in which all three were trying to survive in same circus ring. This didn’t go very well for some. Leopard’s Time Machine grated on Panther’s sense of the present, plus there still wasn’t enough meat to go round.
Making it all worse, another cat — Snow Leopard — was tossed in, as if into a “survival of the fittest challenge” or a cat-Apple reality show. Snow Leopard made dock stacks into a single grid, presumably a good thing — unless, that is, you were still focused on Tiger or Panther, neither of which particularly liked stacking docks.
It stands to reason that Lion and Mountain Lion followed soon thereafter, making life either better or unlivable, depending on your feline perspective and the dexterity of fingers (and claws). In 2012, a decade after Cheetah, Mountain Lion reigned supreme — if only Apple wasn’t running out feasible felines.
I think the zookeepers got together and came up with a simple final solution: push them off the cliff.
That brought Yosemite, leaving the old cats abandoned and divided on the rocks below, me with them.