Yeah, Stephen Seraphim went to live on a farm with Enoch. Somewhere in the highlands, I think. (I'm thinking he's mentioned somewhere in The Farseekers and/or TSK, but I'll have to get back to you.)
I've only just started rereading Obernewtyn (I'm WAY behind schedule!), so I'll have to make observations later...
LOL, I think lizards would be like like the frog things in the Farseekers. not much mind but scary growly voices. IC is definitely a cat person, though I don't know how anyone can put up with the horrible lettle critters myself. :P
You clearly haven't met the right cats. :P I think the thing with cats is they have such distinct personalities, and sometimes they conflict with people. Gypsy is kinda crazy and loves me when she's in the right mood. She holds on like a koala. Very Maruman, and I love her. (I took this today.)
I kind of agree with Isobelle's assessments of animals' abilities and mental capacity. Chooks/chickens can be great pets, but they don't have much in the way of brains. That said, birds in general are capable of recognising particular calls (my chickens would come when I called them). I also know of wild birds recognising the car of a family friend. She'd feed the local birds when she got home, and it got to the point that when they saw her car coming down the road, they recognised it and would follow her home. So clearly they're not stupid, but I still couldn't imagine the majority of birds (if beastspeech were possible) memorising detailed messages, as they really do seem to be more instinct than thought. (It's a survival necessity.) On the other hand it makes sense that certain animals would be more capable of thought than others, in relation to their intelligence levels. It kind of bothered me how the dolphins talked though. They're one of the smartest animals in the world, but their manner of speech in TSK was kind of annoying. (That said, I think it was to emphasise their wildness, and the fact that they - not being used to funaga - helped developed their own method of speech.)