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Spot - and the Ode he Inspired
 
Data with Spot           No tribute to the cats in science fiction television is complete without this little gem.  Spot, if you aren't acquainted with him/her, was (is?) Lieutenant Commander Data's pet on Star Trek: the Next Generation (TM), and was one of the show's true personalities.  Single pawedly he proved that no matter how advanced beings in the 24th Century were, there were still some things they couldn't control!  
         Spot was fussy - Data was always trying out new "Feline supplements" for him to eat - which he seldom did.  
         Spot was annoying - jumping up on Data's console looking for affection at the most inopportune times.  
         Spot was the scourge of almost everyone aboard the Enterprise (TM), even  driving the mighty Commander Riker to the sickbay with mulitple complaints!  
         By all of this you would assume that Spot was a normal, typical cat, but somehow he not only changed from a Somali to a moggy  - unexplained in the course of the show - but even more intriguingly, "he" changed to a very pregnant "she" (see below) just when they needed a plot device.  Yet as you'll see from the poem Data wrote in honour of his pet, he was obviously a Terran cat, and just as obviously, in some way Data loved his cat before he got his emotion chip. 
 

         Read this poem, and relish it!  I did! 

 
 
Ode to Spot  

Felis Cattus, is your taxonomic nomenclature  
an endothermic quadruped carnivorous by nature?  
Your visual, olfactory and auditory senses  
contribute to your hunting skills, and natural defenses.  

I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,  
a singular development of cat communications  
that obviates your basic hedonistic predilection  
for a rhythmic stroking of your fur, to demonstrate affection.  

A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;  
you would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.  
And when not being utilized to aide in locomotion,  
it often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.  

O Spot, the complex levels of behaviour you display  
connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.  
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,  
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.  

Lieutenant Commander Data
 
This was the ever irreverent Sev Trek's view on the sex change question!
 
 
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Picture of Data and Spot drawn by Yul Tolbert