Friday, December 31, 2010

Tales of the BĂȘte Noire

Gentle felines, you may have noticed that I have been notably (notably I hope, at least) absent as of late. It began by design. I realized that the human holidays were coming up, and rather than force my human to forego the celebrations and buckle down to her training with renewed vigor, I opted to encourage her participation in the festivities. I have some very good reasons for this: first, although I do not like her mixing too much with other, poorly trained humans, nevertheless she is usually less fractious a subject after a few days of this sort of behavior because she is what they call "relaxed;" second, after a few days of this "relaxing" she is so tired of the company of other humans that she will avoid them for a while, which benefits me; and third, when she comes back from socializing with the other humans at their holiday meals, she generally brings back some dainties and gives them to me, such as a lovely bit of fish. My gift is thus a pretty good one: docile and focused subject, and a decent meal. When the train comes in, everybody rides, as they say. So yes, I had planned a nice break from work around December-ish. I found, however, that I had other problems on my paws.

You remember, I am sure, my previous mention of an antagonist present in my otherwise happy and contented household/research and training facility. I refer to my human's silly little dog. It is an awful, smelly, noisy creature, and I have advised her on many occasions to turn it out and be done with it. When I first hired my human, and entered the house to survey my domain for the very first time, I had no sooner laid eyes on the creature than I knew without even needing to ponder the subject that That Dog Had to Go. One of my first directives, in fact, was to advise my human to pack the animal off straight away. Did she listen? Of course not. At the time, however, I was in a weakened state, and less inclined to be forceful on the subject. And so now, I reap the results of my inaction.

I am not going to insult your intelligence by saying that this dog has grown on me. Emphatically, it has NOT. That would imply that I was fond of it, or something. No. Rather, I have settled down into a resigned tolerance of the creature. I have arranged the household to my liking, and this has minimized my contact with the dog. The dog scarfed up my food when it was placed on the floor upon my arrival, and so now I take my meals atop the breakfast table. I think this suits my dignity very well. The dog usually stinks--oh, how it stinks!--of, well, dog, and so I made it a point from the beginning to very deliberately pin it down every so often, in my human's line of sight, and attempt to give it a jolly good washing. The dog doesn't like this at all, of course, and creates a huge fuss and runs away, but my human is dimly able to piece together that the dog must therefore be in need of a bath, and so into the tub it goes. (This also works well as negative conditioning for the dog when it has annoyed me just a little bit too much. It is as clear as presenting it with a notarized letter that says, Keep it up, mutt, and it's bath time.) And so on. Every time living in proximity to a dog has presented me with a new challenge, in short, I have risen to meet it with feline grace. I have always felt, however, that these challenges were unnecessary. I have tried time and again to demonstrate to my human that life would be so much easier, so much more pleasant, if only she would use those thumbs of hers to grasp the doorknob, open the door, and toss the dog into the night. She has resisted. And thus, in the course of this continual process of adaptation-resistance-adaptation, a change in my own thinking has occurred. In fact, I have drawn a rather sobering conclusion: the dog is necessary to my work.

The dog is too stupid to be the Moriarty to my Holmes. I am too lovable myself to fear the dog as a rival. Besides which, the dog is a miserable looking, tiny, shaky little thing, and I am literally three times its size, so it poses no threat of physical harm to me whatsoever. At need, I can--and will--simply clobber the animal if it trespasses too far upon my good nature. But the dog is a natural foil against which my stellar qualities are shown in sharp relief, which can only benefit me in the good graces department. And so, this long and I admit apologetic exposition leads me to admit the real reason for my recent absence: over the holidays, the silly little creature hurt itself.

It was an innocuous event. The dog, attempting to imitate my fluid grace in leaping up onto the bed, tripped, fell, and hurt its back. It wasn't mortally wounded or paralyzed, just injured. My initial reaction was calm: pack it off to a rest home, so sad, life goes on. But then I saw that this had a marked negative effect upon my human. I have suspected that she was attached to the creature, but her distress at the animal's injury took me a bit by surprise. She gathered it up and whisked it off to the vet (well, better it than me) for a good dose of whatever physic they use in such cases. Inexplicably, my human then--wait for it--brought it back, and set it up in a pile of blankets.

I was disgusted at her sentimentality. Then, I began to pay attention. The house: quiet. My toys and wads of paper and catnip mice: untouched. My pillow: unwallowed-upon. At first, I enjoyed this turn of events. And then? It seemed that a little of the flavor went out of my tuna, as it were. My human was upset, the dog just lay there looking pathetic, and I found I didn't even have the heart to wallop it.

Training my human has taught me a great deal about myself. Namely, a good cat needs a life's work. I have my life's work. But a good cat cannot complete its life's work without the presence of an antagonist of some sort, because that antagonist serves as a vital scientific control.

Yes. There. I've said it, I can't take it back, and now you know everything: the dog is useful. In contrast to the dog, my human looks like a rocket scientist; by testing variables upon the human, I can compare her to what is in essence a tabula rasa (the dog--I know, it could equally apply to humans, but I am talking about the dog) and gauge my human's progress. Therefore, and it pains me to say this, the dog's recovery is necessary to my work.

And so that is how I have been occupied for several days. I have embarked upon a program of Being Nice To The Dog For A Change in the hopes that it will recover soon, and once again be of use to my work. I will not trouble you with the details. You would find them revolting. Let me just say this: the creature has gone unswatted for what seems like an eternity. I am almost pleased to report, however, that it appears to be feeling somewhat better, and therefore, I hope that my work can get back on schedule within the next few days.

And if you repeat ANY of this, I will deny it.

fig. 1: A distressing scene.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Gentle felines, I have a problem on my paws. My human cusses like an alley cat.

Yes. It looks pretty bad. It does indeed. But let me set the scene for you, and then we'll talk solutions.

I make it a point to talk to my human. I do so as slowly and distinctly as possible: feeed meeeee. Brussssshhhh meeeeee. Purrrrrrr. Sometimes I have to get a bit sharp when I'm speaking to her, in order to get her attention, but I find that a stern MEOW! usually does the trick and that the firm paw of guidance can be mostly restrained. The other day, however, she surprised me. I followed her into the kitchen to see why she was taking so long about my dinner, and when she failed to immediately acknowledge me, I stood on my hind legs, poked her with my paw and said MRRROW! as loudly and clearly as possible. And then what did she do? She looked down at me...and tried to answer me. In Cat. Not Human. Cat.

I was startled, but I was willing to work with this. This is going to sound foolish, but I had a sudden thought that perhaps, just perhaps, if the poor dope could be taught to speak properly, her training would go much more smoothly. I mean, kittens are born almost entirely able to articulate their needs; my human is significantly slower-witted than a kitten; but nevertheless, blooming late is better than not at all.  Maybe, I thought, if I could get her to speak properly then we could sit down and I could reason with her; if I could do that, then I could sort out the rest of her training and turn her into a human who would be a credit to me.

So I listened, carefully. I meowed again, distinctly, encouragingly, and when she answered me, I paid close attention. At first, I found her heavy human accent to be charming, albeit incomprehensible. However, the more we meowed back and forth, the clearer it became, and...gentle felines, she cusses like a pirate with a wooden leg full of termites.

I was horrified. I have no idea where she picked up such language. I know, she does leave the house. And Bast only knows what sort of unsavory cats she might encounter in the course of an average day. I've smelled a few on her shoes when she gets home. She has this human friend who lives with four cats, by my count, which strikes me as very strange. I mean, four cats? In one house? Either that house has a lot of human issues that require a full-time guidance contingent, or the hierarchy structure and discipline there are very lax, indeed. Who is in charge there, is what I want to know. I am a solitary researcher, thank you very much, and I cannot imagine a situation where I would want three assistant felines, unless I had a very unruly human staff comprised of 50 spectacularly stupid people. But I can't tell just by smelling them if these cats have been teaching my human poor manners or not.

The conversation went from bad to worse:

ME: Meeowww.
HER: @#$!
ME: Mrrroww?
HER: #@!!!!
ME: (stunned silence)

I had to forcibly pull my paw back from the soap dish.

Now, she's way too big to swat. That does no good at all. I've tried. If I ignore her, it doesn't seem to register. This is despite the fact that, as we all know, when training a human, negative consequences get results. It is difficult, however, to know which negative consequences will be most effective. I mean, I can't ground her. She just leaves anyway. I can't withhold her favorite treats. She has thumbs, the ape. If I punish her she may attempt to rebel, and I'll wake up to a bowl of low fat kibble. If I ignore her completely, she'll just keep hanging out at the docks or the wharves or wherever it is that she's learning this bad behavior, and then I'll have to go to the docks myself. In disguise. To take ship for some far place where no cat will ever know that I was responsible for her poor education.

I think the thing to do in this case, however, is take a deep breath and just get back to work. I started this morning. I figured I would get to her while she was waking up, so that a.) she could get my breakfast, and b.) the first words of cat she would hear would be graceful, positive ones. So as usual, I climbed up on her pillow shortly before daybreak, and began poking her in the face as I always do, purring away. She did eventually open her eyes, and scratched my ears. Very nice. I purred encouragingly at her, and she smiled, scratched my back, and said:


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Why So Quiet?

Certain gentle felines have commented on my silence recently. In fact, since the Thanksgiving holiday, my lazy, good-for-nothing secretary has been singularly recalcitrant and it has been nearly impossible to get her to buckle down and do some work for me. Of course, I still receive service: my meals, served as and when I like them, my grooming services, the odd wad of paper that I can bat around while at the same time utterly ignoring the silly toys she actually purchases for me. But her devotion has nevertheless been incomplete without her services as a menial scribe. As it is, I have had to pin her down this morning to force her to write for me, which she has done, and with very bad grace, too, might I add. I have thought long and hard about the reasons for my difficulty in governing her in all things, and I believe I have identified the main cause: her priorities. They are all wrong.

Specifically, she suffers from this strange human preoccupation with what they call "work."

Now, I have my work as well. Training a human is not an easy task! Once you've interviewed a new human, which is a lengthy process, and once you have decided that this particular human will benefit more from your guidance and instruction than any other human, your toil has only just begun. There's the operant conditioning: give me stinky food! There's the positive reinforcement: pet me and I will purr at you briefly. And on and on. It's exhausting.

But humans have this ridiculousness that they call "jobs" and they go off and spend a lot of time doing whatever these things are, and then every so often, they come home with one piece of paper that is good for the exchange of some green (or other color) bits of paper, which makes them feel very calm and secure. What is odd is that, once in possession of these bits of paper, they almost immediately distribute them to all and sundry in exchange for other things, like keeping the lights on. This is patent foolery. The only time you need lights is at night, when humans should either be sleeping sensibly or prowling about their territory in the dark, scent marking it as necessary. The upshot is, that once they have distributed this paper all over Bast's green acre, they then have no more paper, so they leave AGAIN and go and get more of it in a couple of weeks.

And really, that's what it comes down to. The human pursuit of paper. I personally have have not determined any good use for the paper she brings home, and stuffs in her purse, and distributes to other humans in a seemingly random fashion. It's grimy, smells of other humans, and she keeps it so stingily buried in her bag or wallet or what-have-you that I can't even see if it's good for swatting around the room. I don't think it is, since the stuff is flat, but I should at the very least be allowed to try. What's hers is mine, anyway, and so therefore those bits of paper are mine, and so therefore she should hand them over so I can verify that they are useless. A equals B equals C, therefore A equals C: that paper is mine, and she needs to give it up if I want it.

But she won't let me have it. She calls it "money" and yammers on at length about how she needs it for such-and-so, hasn't got enough of it for whatsis, and needs to give it to whomever in exchange for something. It is evidently of great worth to her. It preoccupies her when she hasn't got any.

Clearly, this is an example of how a fractious human needs extra training, else their priorities (ME) become gravely skewed. I decided to try an experiment yesterday: she went off and did something which apparently will soon lead to the acquisition of more bits of paper (she called it "free-lance-ing," whatever that is. I'm pretty sure it's more tomfoolery), and when she got back, which was shockingly several hours later, she was tired and lay down on my bed for a bit. I decided to show her just how rewarding her life could be if she just got her priorities straight. Now, gentle felines, you may find the following disturbing, but do not be shocked. It's called positive conditioning, and the end result could be positive for me. I waited until she had switched on the electric heating thingie, and then I climbed up on the bed, huddled up next to her in my most winsome way, and purred. This encouraged her to scratch my ears and pet me, and she almost immediately calmed down and went to sleep.

I confess that I had a certain wild hope that this was a breakthrough in her training. It is a mistake, I suppose, to indulge in too much hope when working with your human kittens, but I sometimes fall into that trap anyway. My hopes were not to be rewarded, however. I am disgusted to report that after she had slept a bit, she got up, served me my dinner (tuna! It was pretty good!), and then lit out of the house again, presumably after more bits of paper. Revolting! Unconscionable! And food for thought.

Where did humans get this idea that bits of paper are so valuable? Why do they work and work and work and spend most of their time away from home and us to get more bits of paper? Why do they fret and lose their health and their hair and their happiness and sometimes their admittedly limited reason, just to get these bits of paper? I can't quite sort this out. I am fairly sure, however, that it's a question of training, and that we cats are just going to have to learn ways to do a better job of it.

It is incumbent upon good cats everywhere to show humans that they don't need all the things for which those bits of paper can be exchanged. I will grudgingly concede that they need a small number of bits of paper, because without proper guidance throughout human history this is apparently how humans have constructed their interactions with one another. They need a sufficient amount to house and feed their feline trainers, and themselves I suppose, but that's it. They don't need expensive treats. These make them fat and lazy and ruin their teeth. They don't need much recreation. I am a reasonable creature and mean to retain my reason, thank you, and spending a night on the razzle only has deleterious effects upon human reasoning, limited though it is, and causes their service to slack off. They certainly don't need to exchange their bits of paper for stupid luxuries. What they need is to work sufficient to keep themselves and their cats in simple comfort, and that is IT.

I have revised, therefore, a small portion of my training schedule into teaching my human how to be happy with what she has: how to feel fortunate that I am housed, how to be happy that I am fed, and how to be thankful that I swat her silly little dog on a regular basis and keep the nasty smelly thing at bay. Well, she can clothe herself, too. I prefer this. Have you seen them without clothes? Oh, it's horrible. Did you know the poor things are almost entirely bald? They are. Bast! I don't need to see that.

With any luck, I will hit upon an effective technique, and all of this working-working-working for bits of paper that she does currently will taper off into a reasonable balance. For the moment, however, I am quite angry with her. I will get back to her training once she has finished her secretarial duties for the day, but I am going to make sure she works extra hard. I have already begun sulking. I do it so well, and as a training technique it is surprisingly effective. Try it.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

I will be the first to admit that humans are puzzling. I have been engaged in research, training, and operant conditioning of the species for the last three years, and they are still a mystery to me. How do they think? What drives their actions? Why on earth are they like that? And Bast above, sometimes despite all my research and observation and study, I still have no idea.

One of the things that I find curious about the human animal is this completely arbitrary notion of marking time. Time! It rules their lives! What hour is it? When do we go? When must I be there? When can I come home? They have obsessed about their "time" concept for a great portion of their history, to the point that humans now let it govern even their sleeping. Namely, they go to sleep not when they are tired, as any sensible cat would, and not several times a day to stave off exhaustion, as any cat or rational animal of any sort would, but only when their little clocks read out a certain hour. And then? Ah, here's the punchline: a bell (a loud, irritating bell, at that) goes off at a certain hour in the morning, and humans, regardless of whether or not they are still tired, get out of their beds anyway, and go about whatever it is they do all day. Incredible!

But one of the oddest aspects of the human psyche and its relationship with time is that humans let this artificial notion of time, 24 uniform hours which somebody decided sometime in human history constitute a day and night regardless of whether or not this is actually so from day to day (every couple of years they have to stick an extra day in there just to get it right. They know this ahead of time. They do it anyway.), rule their morality. They stumble about their lives, moaning that they haven't got enough time for all the things they want to do, and that includes doing right by other humans, and especially, doing right by cats. Well, or dogs, or other animals, I suppose. But I am trying to stay on topic here, gentle felines.

A lot of humans would really like to donate food to their local animal shelter, but they haven't got the time to go to the store and buy it. A lot of humans would really like to take in an abused or abandoned animal, but there isn't the time to devote to helping it heal and flourish. A lot of humans would like to help at those shelters for abused or abandoned humans, but think they don't have the time. A lot of humans look around them at the lost and forgotten and the least of all the creatures of this world, and feel terrible and weep for them and feel worse still about the fact that if the clock says they have only so many hours in the day, they cannot care for their own human kittens and still have the time to contribute to caring for anything else. And I feel terrible that these humans are distressed.

Gentle felines, I realize the irony of this, but here goes nothing, as they say. According to this strange, arbitrary, artificial notion of time that humans have imposed upon their world, they include Days of Note, and it just so happens that, in the place where I live and train my human, today is one such day. I don't know specifically what it's all about, and frankly, beyond a passing mild curiosity, I don't really care. Something about some humans and a ship and turkeys and Native Americans. I don't know. Can't tell you. Not important at the moment. But what is important is that today is the day where these humans congregate in groups to eat (another oddity. I dine alone. These creatures fascinate me!) and talk about things they are thankful for. Therefore, as I see it, now is the chance for astute cats to snap into action. If your humans are misty-eyed about their blessings, roll over on your back and look adorable, but do it on a copy of the Humane Society calendar. If your humans are feeling gratitude, make sure their checkbook is next to that calendar. They can connect the dots. I know they're dim, but trust me in this, fellow cats, with the proper assistance they CAN connect the dots.

And if you haven't got a Humane Society calendar, then perhaps you have one with pictures of distressed human kittens on it. Purr. Paw it. Call attention to it. Lead your human to water, my friends, and it just might drink.

Personally, I am thankful for my human. Honestly. I was seriously down on my luck, to put it mildly, and she applied for the job and was suitable. I am thankful that she is such a good subject. Unlike a lot of my fellow felines, who today are lost and alone and cold and without humans of any sort, or worse, with bad ones who deliberately harm them, I have a human who looks after me, and who I can look after as well. So today is the day when I am going to be certain to call extra attention to those cats---and humans, and human kittens, and other animals---who haven't got anyone to look after them, who haven't got enough to eat, who are cold, who are alone, who are hurt, and hopefully, my human will connect those dots and realize that if she hasn't got the time to help them, she thinks, then we are fortunate enough to have the resources to give to those who do.

Gentle felines, please count your many blessings today, and do the same.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Note for Tia

Gentle felines,

I interrupt my regular programming to add a kind note sent to me by a new friend, Tia. Tia is a Persian Colorpoint who lives with her human. Tia has had some difficulty in posting to my blog, and so sent her comments to me through the kind intercession of Whicky Wuudler. It seems that others have had difficulty in posting to my blog as well. I blame my human. I blame it all on my human. She is very thumbist, with her superior attitude and facility with a can opener, but pride, they say, goeth before a fall, and if it turns out that my so-called "secretary" is responsible for the wonky settings on my blog that prevented kind cats from leaving me their gentle thoughts, her fall is going to be a jolly steep one, indeed. Mind you, no injuries. I still require service. I just want to get her attention, is all.

I have (laboriously, and grumbling all the while) disabled the word verification feature on this blog. I am mortified to discover that this feature does not work with the software available to all readers, but especially with the version used by Tia. I apologize to Tia, and to her human, and herewith attach Tia's comments. Tia, if you ever wish to leave me your thoughts, please do so at the email address so kindly provided you by Whicky. Whicky, thank you. Without your assistance I might have missed a new friend.

Best regards,

Puss-Puss, I can't tell you what a joy it is to finally find someone not only like-minded, but a tortie to boot! Your thoughts on humans I find to be spot on. I have been searching for a way to put into words what I felt about them, and you have ended that search. The concept of them as kittens always fits exactly with the behaviour I have seen from my own pet. She, like yours when she was sick, spent all of her time talking into the thing they call a phone, asking for others to come and help her, look after her. Thankfully, because she was contageous, nobody came, so I was able to keep her from danger by draping over the top of her and refusing to move, therefore forcefully preventing her from escaping from the den she had made on the sofa with blankets and pillows. We have a Dogface, who I'm sure might have thought about eating her in her weakened state if I hadn't intervened.
This human caring is very hard work, and I'm just so glad that I have another to talk about my frustrations with. My human is abominable. Her latest transgression involves trying to see if I have kittens in my tummy. She keeps taking me to the vet peoples for poking and prodding and all manner of invasion of privacy. Just like a kitten with a new toy, she can't leave it alone until she has exhausted all possibility of finding an answer. Do they not know the meaning of privacy? Of self restraint? Of "wait until I am ready to reveal it, all right?"

P.S. Tia's blog can be found at And Tia, a final thought: perhaps the Dogface is a handy tool after all. If your human lets any of those so-called "vet" quacks poke you again, then I say fill your human's pockets full of chicken as soon as you get her home, get the dog's attention, and make a break for it. Let the dog pin her down and show her the meaning of having her privacy invaded. A little chicken is a small sacrifice to make in order to put a stop to such impertinence. If you choose to have kittens, she can just wait to find that out like everybody else. Really! The nerve.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The care and feeding of ill human pets

This past week, I was reminded of why it is that I took on the job of training my human pet, these three years ago and more: in caring for the poor dumb brute, I see her exhibit behavior that sometimes makes me think that cats and their human pets are really not such distant cousins, after all. I know, it sounds like an outrageous slander. But hear me out!

What prompted this? Well, this past week, she took ill for a while. Horribly ill. There was lots of to-ing and fro-ing, lots of other cats' human pets (presumably. They refuse to wear identifying tags) in and out of the house, and lots of strange smells which, when I read them carefully, painted a picture of a location completely unknown to me, but filled with lots of other free-ranging humans, sterile, and strangely and illogically devoid of felines or any other animals.

Now, I have of course noticed before that humans tend to congregate. What's strange is that they do it even when they are ill. Rather than finding a nice quiet closet in which to hide quietly and reasonably, safe from harm during the most vulnerable phases of their disorder, whatever it may be, they create a huge fuss. They call in other humans, pump themselves full of strange tablets and potions, and occasionally down large quantities of dainties like chicken and noodles floating in broth, or fish--which, incidentally, they almost never share. Ill humans group together out of some sort of primitive pack instinct, and, without the barest ounce of common sense regarding their personal safety, they make sure that every other human in a 60 mile radius is well aware that they are ill. It's maddening. It runs counter to my every instinct of survival. It's ignorant, and potentially harmful, and should it go awry, should a larger mammal come along and just eat the blighters as a result of their diseased, feckless disregard for personal safety, some noble cat someplace will be forced to find and train a completely new staff, which is a chore no matter how you slice it.

I digress.

The rabble cleared out, my human pet came home and the other humans went away. I waited a while until the strange-smelling text of her travels that day had dissipated a bit, and I could stand to be in the same room with her. I then emerged from my cozy vantage point in the laundry basket, hopped up on the bed, and began my examination of the patient to figure out what was really wrong with her, rather than what some random human thought was wrong. (Really, the human concept of medicine is a lot like throwing darts at the side of a barn: you're bound to hit something sooner or later. Shocking.) As I looked her over, with a sniff here and a prod there, trying to diagnose the source of her distress, I was surprised to discover that I was actually somewhat distressed myself. I couldn't immediately figure out why, but  I was distinctly anxious. At the time, I was at a bit of a loss to explain it.

And then it hit me: I felt as protective of this human as I would of an actual feline kitten. I felt this way because she seemed to need protection, because rather than gutting it out alone and taking the consequences like a cat, my human pet's reaction to pain and weakness was to allow herself, in some ways, to be dependent on others temporarily. And that included me.

I have to believe that, in many ways, both mentally and emotionally, humans remain kittens from birth until death, every one of them. I believe this because in times of distress they exhibit a strange vulnerability consistent with extreme youth and inexperience, such as that seen in human kittens who are chronologically so brand new that they are practically still sporting their window stickers. I believe this because when humans are ill or injured, they thoughtlessly disregard the simplest precepts of safety: rather than hide it stoically like a cat, they show that they are sick or hurt. Rather than go away and heal up as quietly and solitarily as possible, they fuss and call attention to themselves and require assistance. If it weren't for the fact that we cats don't generally let our humans roam free, something might notice them in a weakened state and eat them because they would be too weak to fend it off. And according to the most basic rules of the Cat Law Governing How The World Works, it would be their own damn fault in the first place. But when they are ill, humans think of none of these things. In short, when humans are ill they revert.

I confess that as a cat, I myself would be mortified to be seen exhibiting such a complete and utter lack of gravitas. But there was something strangely moving about my human pet's...neediness. I realize that my job is clinical: research, study, and practicum in the training of humans, for the benefit of cats everywhere. But I found myself setting aside my clipboard (so to speak), and just providing my ill human with the loving paw of companionship, rather than the firm paw of guidance which I usually employ.

It seemed that there had been some question as to what exactly was wrong with my human in the first place, and so part of the flitting about was spent in going from one ignorant pack of humans to another, in the above-mentioned sterile, feline-free location, so that they could make thinky "hmm" noises at one another and guess what the problem was, and pretend to be very clever. I was able to identify the issue at once by smell and intuition. Clearly (without going into needless details), this was a complaint which produced pain and fatigue and some anxiety, and the treatment would therefore be rest, nutrition, and heat to ease the pain. Someone had given my human a bottle of some chalky tablets, as well. They smelled bitter and I saw they contained nary a smidgen of catnip. Since I knew full well they would be perfectly useless, I also knew my human needed nothing of the sort, so I smacked them off the bedside table and made sure they rolled as far under the bed as possible. They made a nice rattly noise. I may poke the bottle later.

In any case, I set aside the daily training program and draped myself across my human at the exact location of the pain's origin. I may have purred. I know I napped. But this produced a hopeful sign indicative that my patient was on the mend: she gave me some quality ear and back scratching, and a good deal of petting, until she herself fell asleep. In service to others, they find some sort of meaning, humans do, and it invariably makes them feel better. As I know for certain that serving me does my human a world of good, I knew that this was the best medicine.

Perhaps this means I'm weak-minded. Perhaps I'm a shameless sentimentalist. Maybe I'm just a great soppy. But somehow, I just cannot look at the relationship between humans and cats, no matter our intellectual differences (they can't help it) or our differing philosophies (anyone who doesn't give me ALL the butter is clearly not living right) or even the difference between biped and quadruped (no wonder the poor things trip and tip over), and not see that underneath the fur or lack thereof are creatures that aren't really that different, after all. We cats are thinkers and innovators. The most you can say for humans is that when properly trained, they are a credit to their cats. But both humans and cats feel, we both hurt, we both are born and grow up and get old and die, and we must make our grand entrances and our final exits alone, each and every one of us. That is just the lot of every living creature on this planet. In our weakness and our mortality, humans and cats and all living things are brothers.

I'm glad for the company.

Figure 1: Me, looking charming, as always. My human was well enough to photograph me, and so I graciously offered to pose.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Welcome to my world.

Welcome to my world. I am Puss-Puss, a stunningly beautiful female tortoiseshell cat. I share my realm with my human servant, and her silly little dog. We all have our crosses to bear. I have begun this blog to share my pearls of wisdom, in deathless prose, on all aspects of Life with Apes (as a dear friend calls them, and quite rightly, too), for their edification and for the assistance, advice, support, and commentary of my fellow cats.

Being as a terrible human in my horrible past life BCSA (Before Current Satisfactory Ape) was a vicious barbarian and declawed me, I find typing to be a painful task. I will dictate to my human servant, and can only pray that in transcribing my thoughts she Gets It Right For A Change. I make no guarantees. This starting-up-a-blog thing is an involved process, and is in constant evolution. Gentle felines, I crave your patience. Watch this space! More to follow! Any commentary or assistance will be gratefully accepted.

And so, where to begin...