The past couple of days have been a special time of bonding between our two cats and me with my wife and daughter gone. Some of their antics made me think of the following list of cat etiquette rules. Cat lovers will be amused as they think of their own little darlings, and cat haters will probably say at least once, "Yep, that's another reason I don't like cats!"
Rules of Etiquette for Young, Inexperienced Cats Who Have a Household to Run...
A. Do not allow closed doors in any room. To get one open, stand on hind legs and hammer with forepaws. Once the door is opened for you, it is not necessary to use it. Remember, as a cat, you have the option of changing your mind.
B. Once you have ordered that a door to the outside be opened, stand half-in and half-out and think about several things. (This is particularly important during very cold weather or mosquito season).
C. Avoid swinging doors, unless you can get humans to catch your tail in it by accident.
D. Should you run into a closed sliding glass door, never let on that it was unintentional - go about your business as if "I meant to do that."
Addendum: If you are an indoor-only cat, use your Cloak of Invisibility until the people forget you're in the room, then make an insane dash for the outside world the instant the door is opened. Then when your people come after you, do that "dancing just a millimeter out of reach" thing until they're not sure they even want you back.
2. THROWING UP:
A. If you have to throw up, get onto a chair or the couch quickly. If you cannot manage this in time, get to an Oriental rug. Lacking an Oriental rug, shag carpet is good.
B. When it becomes time to dislodge a fur ball, choose the dining room at dinner time. Carpet or upholstery is always preferable to hard surfaces.
A. After dinner, when walking on the dinner table among the dishes, be prepared to look surprised and hurt when scolded. The idea to convey is "But you let me do it when there isn't company!"
B. Determine quickly which guest hates cats. Sit on that lap during the evening because the guest wouldn't dare push you off and will even call you "nice kitty." If you can arrange to have cat food on your breath, so much the better.
C. For sitting in laps or rubbing against trouser legs, select colors which contrast with your own. Example: for white-furred cats, a good black wool is best.
D. Always accompany guests to the bathroom. It is not necessary to do anything. Just sit and stare.
E. For guests who say, "I love kitties," be ready with aloof disdain. Later you can apply your claws to stockings or give a quick nip to the ankles.
A. If you allow a dog to share your domain, you are in luck. Should you tatter the drapes or destroy anything for which you fear retribution, wait until your owner is near by, slap the dog and run for it. Dogs are stupid and will accept the blame for anything. If this ruse should fail, simply run and hide. No one really expects to catch a cat.
B. Chase, frolic, and run from Invincible Entities. The why doesn't matter - it is just expected.
C. If you ever catch a mouse, take it under the king-sized bed. Go to the center, out of reach of anyone. Wait until the people are asleep, and proceed to eat your catch, enjoying every morsel as loudly as you can.
D. Any small item is a potential toy. If a human tries to confiscate it, this means that it is a Good Toy. Run with it under the bed. Look suitably outraged when the human grabs you and takes it away. Always watch where it is put so you can steal it later.
E. Hiding is great fun. Every now and then, hide in a place where the humans cannot find you. Do not come under any circumstances out for three to four hours. (This is a great time for some extra napping.) This will cause the humans to panic (which they love to do) thinking that you have run away or are lost. Once you do come out, the humans will cover you with love and kisses and will probably give you a treat.
F. Always sharpen claws on furniture. Ignore those "scratching posts" they get for you, they're not good for your nails. Curtains and the arms of their easy chairs are also great places to scratch and sharpen your claws. You need to leave your mark on the world. If your humans are ignoring you, this is a great way to get their attention.
5. PERSONAL DIGNITY:
A. It is important to maintain one's dignity at all times. If you should have an accident during play, such as falling off a chair, immediately wash a part of your body as if to say "I MEANT to do that!"
B. Always look innocent when you've made a mess. Your humans won't believe you did it.
C. If you are overweight, arrange yourself in attractive poses, except, of course, when cleaning yourself.
6. FOOD AND EATING:
A. Never eat food from your own bowl if you can steal some from the table. Never drink from your own water bowl if their glass is full enough to drink from.
B. If you become bored with your diet, immediately after food is placed into dish, try to cover it with the newspaper under your bowl - sometimes this can even result in your fresh bowl of water being tipped over.
C. Table scraps are delicacies with which humans are unwilling to part readily. It is beneath your dignity to beg for these as do the lower forms of life (dogs), but try jumping onto the lap of the softest human and purr loudly, lie down in the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room, or give the Direct Stare. Other techniques that work are twining around people's legs as they sit and eat while meowing plaintively or resting your paws on the human's leg and mewing to remind them you are starving to death.
7. LITTER BOX:
When using the litter box, be sure to kick as much litter as possible out of the box. Humans love the feel of kitty litter between their toes. Also, refuse to use the litter box unless it's absolutely clean. If it's dirty, you can protest by making a little pile right next to the litterbox. That'll teach 'em to attend better to their duties!
A. As often as possible, dart quickly and as close as possible in front of the human, especially on stairs, when they have something in their arms, in the dark, and when they first get up in the morning. This will help their coordination skills.
B. When your owner returns home laden with packages, fall down in front of them - this works best on steps, all the better if the individual is proceeding downward. There is always the chance you may get stepped on, but this usually guarantees a fall and you can milk their guilt that follows. It is usually worth it.
9. HAMPERING ROUTINE ACTIVITIES:
A. If one of them is sewing, or working with paper and pens, and the other is idle, sit with the busy one. This is called "helping", otherwise known as "hampering".
B. When supervising cooking, sit just behind the left heel of the cook. This way you cannot be seen and, therefore, stand a better chance of being stepped on, picked up and comforted.
C. For readers, get in close under the chin, unless, of course, you can lie across the book, magazine, or newspaper itself. When a humans are holding the newspaper in front of themselves, be sure to jump on the back of the paper. They love to be startled and jump.
D. For someone knitting, curl quietly into lap and pretend to doze. Then reach out and slap a knitting needle sharply. This causes what is called a "dropped stitch." The knitter will try to distract you with a ball of yarn, which is ridiculous. What you want to go for, and with a vengeance is the moving strand of yarn. What self-respecting cat would settle for a ball of yarn when s/he can pounce on a moving strand?! Remember, the aim is to hamper work. Embroidery and needlepoint projects make great hammocks, in spite of what the humans may tell you.
E. For people paying bills (monthly activity) or working on income taxes or Christmas cards (annual activities), keep in mind the aim: to hamper. First, sit on the paper being worked on. When dislodged, watch sadly from the side of the table. When activity proceeds nicely, roll around on the papers, scattering them to the best of your ability. After being removed for the second time, push pens, pencils, and erasers off of table one at a time.
F. For people doing homework, sit on the paper being worked on. After being removed for the second time, push anything movable off the table - pens, pencils, stamps - one at a time.
G. When people are using computers, be alert! Do not let typing occur without your attention. By sitting on the lap of the person at the keyboard, you can place elbows on the top, making it convenient to play with the keys. If there is paper on the desk or table, biting any piece of paper is in order, or better yet, sit on whatever the person is trying to look at while typing. Always walk on the keyboard.
10. BEDTIME AND SLEEP:
A. Always sleep on the humans at night so they cannot move around. Get enough sleep in the daytime so that you are fresh for playing catch-mouse or king-of-the-hill on the bed between 2 and 4 a.m.
B. In the morning, when you want breakfast, lick the sleeping human on the face, or on an exposed foot (it is best to do this to the female, as the male tends to become violent).
FINAL NOTE: Start this training early, and you will have a smooth-running household. Humans need only to know a few basic rules which they can be taught readily if one starts in time!
Becka and Nora arrived back home safe and sound at about 6 last evening. They said the traffic wasn't all that bad, having been fearful that it would be otherwise on Memorial Day. They had a very nice time up there visiting with Jim, Meg, and Drew. Here are a few pictures from this last visit....
Grandma and Drew, who is now sporting some newborn-sized clothes...
Drew looking at his mom at bath time...
Drew practicing his smiling while sleeping...
Megan did not end up having to have surgery last week, for which we are thankful. She and Drew are both doing very well. Our heartfelt thanks to those who ask about them and pray for them.
"Isn't it amazing that God uses words to change us?" - Dr. Drew Conley
A dog will come when you call, but a cat will take a message and never get back to you.