My cats have discovered an exciting new game to play: it’s called Unnerve The Stupid Human.
Now it’s already been mentioned by greater writers than I will ever be that Cats like a good game every now and then: in his book “The Unadulterated Cat” Terry Pratchett names several, including Staring At The Fridge and the deeply complicated Cat Chess (which involves spotting another cat and watching it for long periods of time until one or the other gets up and walks away)
But Unnerve The Stupid Human began with the Great Door Openings of May 2008, back when I was still naïve enough to think that just because they didn’t have opposable digits my cats would be kept downstairs overnight by the simple act of closing a door shut (as chronicled in my blog “Not So Much With The Singing” on 26th June)
Cats have many ways to Unnerve The Stupid Human – the most fun of which are spotting your car returning and running out behind it when you’re trying to park, random requests for indefinable things, silent running, refusing to acknowledge your existence, demands for attention now this minute and the gift ceremony.
Random Requests For Indefinable Things: I mentioned before that my cats wanted to hide their true identities on the internet, so will again refer (or should that be re-furr) to them as Fluffy and Tiny. Fluffy is much bigger than Tiny, but Tiny can make twice as much noise – so they both come out quite evenly in this game, which involves skittering around your feet (connected to the other fun game – Break The Stupid Human’s Neck) meowling whilst you try desperately to decipher exactly what they want. So you empty and re-fill the bowl that was full of perfectly good, but untouched, cat food – but no, they’re not hungry, so you empty the equally full bowls of milk and water and re-fill those –but they’re not thirsty either. So you open the door for them to go out and they just plonk themselves down in the centre of the floor and look at you imploringly whilst you scream “Well what the hell DO you want?”
On the subject of random requests there is an unwritten law about Cat food – which goes: Cats will love the sample of expensive cat food given to you for free and when you buy a single tin of the stuff at rip-off prices they will slobber it down; however, when you see the same cat food on offer at a quarter of the price for 20 tins the cats will know and refuse to touch the food ever again.
Silent Running: a popular favourite at the moment which involves silencing the bells around their necks and creeping up on you in the night, so you wake up with cat faces two inches from your ear - as if they're watching you to decide if eating you would be more fun than waiting for you to open a tin.
Refusing To Acknowledge Your Existence: in my house only Fluffy plays this one. You could be standing right next to him with a fog horn and he still wouldn’t acknowledge your call to come in. If he is sitting in your seat the only option you have is to pick him up and move him, because he would happily let you sit on him rather than move. However - don't let him fool you into thinking he's deaf, because he can pick out the sound of your car two streets away and can hear a tin being opened over a distance of two miles. Another popular favourite with Fluffy is Hiding Under The Neighbours Car (positioning himself under the wheel – who knows, maybe this is the Cat equivalent of dangerous sports or something).
Just last night I tried to combat the Refusing To Acknowledge Your Existence game by standing in the back doorway shaking a box of cat biscuits. Within seconds somewhere in the region of 500 stray cats had popped their heads over the fences and long grass – in fact it was only two, but somehow they exuded the menace of 500 – but no sign of Fluffy or Tiny (Fluffy was later found Hiding Under The Neighbours Car)
Demands For Attention Now This Minute: mainly Tiny that plays this one. She waits for me to go upstairs and then follows me about meowling non-stop until I climb into bed, whereupon she head rolls and lifts her paws expecting her belly to be rubbed constantly for the next twelve hours. This behaviour made me feel a little wary at first, until I researched it on the internet and discovered that it could be signs of her being in heat – since when it has made me feel vaguely how a prostitute must feel.
The Gift Ceremony: not something that either of my cats has done yet, but I live in daily fear of it. This is when, much like the Mafia, they leave something dead in your bed. The only big difference between the Cats and the Mafia is that leaving something dead in your bed is meant as a sign of affection, not to scare the living daylights out of you.
So there you go; they’ve clearly decided that come the revolution they’ll be in charge and are pre-warning me of this fact on a daily basis. I’d be interested to know if anyone out there knows of any more games played by cats…or else can speak cat and tell me what the hell they want!