Sunday, January 31, 2010

Unsung Heros

Category: Issue 17

I’ve spent this morning teaching Yin-Yang and Zig-Zag—(I never call them these names to their faces; they think their names are “Stoppit” and “Stoppit!”, respectively…) to jump on a chair when I say “chair”.  All of my previous cats in history have been able to jump on a chair when I said “chair”, so I figured it was about time that these ones learned how to, too.  Yin-Yang and Ziggy did fine. 

Basically, cats figure it out pretty fast, and will walk all the way from one room to another to jump on the relevant chair, to get the food treat.  Well, for the first couple of times or so, after they get the idea.  However, if you try to make them repeat this more than a couple of times after that, they, being cats, begin to get extremely offended. “What is this pointless chair-jumping?  Just give me the food.”  Ears back, blank stare. 

I love cats.  Who can blame them?  Would YOU walk all the way from one room to another and jump on a chair, just to get a small piece of food?  Maybe once, maybe twice, but endlessly?  I know, a DOG would, but would you?  NO. 

Everyone likes dogs—I adore dogs—and lots of people like cats; but cats aren’t as popular as dogs in the media. Why? This bugs me.  There are hardly ever any programs about domestic cats on Animal Planet, for example, even though it’s riddled with shows about domestic dogs. People are forever filming stuff showing dogs doing stuff. 

Cats do stuff, too.  I mean, they do nice things FOR people, even. It’s just harder to film a cat doing something nice. As soon as you start filming a cat doing something, it stops. Or, if it was a nice thing that the cat was doing, you can’t really capture it on film.  A cat can sit there and be nice by doing nothing at all.  But you have to spend all day with the cat in order to realize that it’s actually being nice, and who has time for that,  in this crazy old world?  If you film it, it just looks like a cat, sitting there. 

People don’t realize how smart cats are.  Cats are subtle.  They keep a low profile.  They have a keen sense of when something is tacky and when it’s not.  Occasionally you see a picture of a cat, all dressed up in some kind of outfit.  Unfortunately, a cat in a baby bassinet, wearing a frilly cap and a frilly dress, usually has an expression on its face that would curdle milk. This is not as warm and cozy and happy-making as a picture of a dog that doesn’t mind. 

My friend Maggie’s cat has just been discovered to have taught herself how to pee in the toilet.  Well, she’s probably been watching Maggie.  But it’s quite funny.  Maggie was in the bathroom getting ready for work the other day, and her cat sauntered in and hopped on the john and peed.  It seemed as if this was not the first time.  Nor has it been the last.  But Twiggy, that’s her name, did not brag about it.  She didn’t mention that she knew how to pee in the toilet.  You can just imagine how a dog, or, say, an elephant or a dolphin would behave if IT had figured out how to pee in the toilet. You’d never hear the end of it.  But a cat won’t even mention it.  Cats are cool.

You can watch Animal Planet until you turn blue, but you’ll never see cats competing in obedience trials.  Cats just aren’t obedient.  Personally, I think it would be fun to TRY to have obedience trials for cats on the Animal Planet channel.  I would watch it.