The sage cat

Friday, October 30, 2009

What I am about the tell you will come as no surprise to cat owners.

Right off the bat I've misled you.

There is no such thing as a "cat owner." Some folks who claim to have cats as pets also claim to "own" their cats.

This, of course, is a lie perpetuated by humans with brains the size of grapefruits. Cats, with brains the size of plums, know better. Big-headed humans hate to admit that a small animal can be so much smarter than they are.

But it's true.

I know it's true because I have been making a highly scientific study of cats all my life. Our current cat, Miss Kitty the calico, is one of the best teachers I've ever had. Here's what I've learned:

Cats know where to sit to catch the first rays of sunlight on frosty mornings. They have internal celestial calendars. One of these days some sharp scientist is going to explain all of this in a respected scientific journal and win a Nobel Prize. You wait and see.

Some cats meow, but most cats get what they want without saying a word. That's smart, because saying nothing rarely gets you in trouble. More humans ought to try it.

Cats understand every word you say. They don't act like it most of the time, because they don't want to be drawn into dull conversations or be asked to comment on politicians. Again, this is something humans might want to consider.

Cats have tremendous healing powers. They know when their humans are ill. They respond by climbing into your lap and staring at you with understanding eyes. For a lot of us, just knowing someone cares makes us feel better right away.

Cats rarely let you know what they are thinking, except when they smile. You've never seen a cat smile? You have missed one of the Almighty's best creations. The only thing God did better was make laughing babies.

Cats roll in the dirt because they can. Any attempt to explain such behavior is not only futile but potentially dangerous.

Cats shed so they can make hairballs, which they like to show off on special occasions, like holiday dinners.

Cats honor humans with live animals. Never look a gift mouse in the mouth.

Cats get more treats when they pretend to ignore you. This is genetic. And it works.

A mother cat with a litter of kittens can be the most vicious animal on the planet. Do not be confrontational with a mama cat unless you have plenty of antibiotics on hand to soothe the scratches and teeth marks. Mother cats will hide their litters several times. Their hiding places are always better than the cardboard boxes humans fill with soft blankets. The first lesson regarding feline independence that a mama cat teaches her offspring is to rebuff human kindness, which, of course, they crave. It's a cat thing, and it cannot be explained.

Cats that play hard to get are the most sought-after pets.

Cats respond to human caresses the way humans respond to the the smell of warm apple pie.

Cats that ignore a new treat or a new toy can often be found eating these treats or playing with these toys when no one is watching. This is typical cat behavior. They are simply messing with your mind.

Cats give more than they take, even though they have no money. Which proves that to live a good life in this world doesn't have to cost a cent.

Are you paying attention?

jsullivan@semissourian.com<I>

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