So I’m standing talking to the painter in the kitchen. The painter doesn’t like cats, he explains, because they don’t do what they’re told.
Yes, I nod, as Monty the expansive Siamese ginger tom lands on the table soundlessly.
No, Monty, I admonish him. I ease his bottom off the table. He’s not for moving, and the painter is onto another subject, telling me how he filled a particularly difficult crevice in the shelf before painting it, and I’m edging the cat’s bottom off the table, and eventually the behind in question is forced to joust with gravity and lands virtually soundlessly on the floor.
You sanded it how many times? I ask politely, as a ginger tom lands on the table. Flup. Challenging stare.
Monty, I say firmly,( Julie-Andrews-Maria-Von-Trapp style), get down. Cats should not be on the table. Gracious, yes, what a great job you did, what time do you plan arriving tomorrow morning? I ask the painter, trying desperately to make displacing a fat ginger tom’s behind the secondary activity in the room.
I fail. As I talk, the tom simply speeds up his cycle. I push him off, he jumps back up, I scoop him, he defies the floor in a boomerang-light turnaround, a graceful and probably impossible arc the likes of Schrodinger would adore.
I am juggling a cat, I think. In front of a painter, who seems oblivious to the whole thing. Defying the laws of physics seems to be all in a days work for this cat as I desperately draw the surface-level conversation to a close. Goodbye, goodbye, I call thankfully as the painter clutters off with his paint pots.
The dog walks in. He’s impressed at the cat’s virtuoso display, I can tell. He admires, but does not feel envious. He has his own armoury of tactics to baffle humans.
He jumps up on the sofa.
Get down, Macaulay, I admonish.
He turns on the guilt lasers. Invisible yet unstoppable, they work using a subtle form of emotional radiation. Two big brown eyes, hunched, victimised shoulders. A moustache which would have made a seventies he-man proud; a moustache grubby beyond words, home to a thousand micro-organisms.
But I am prepared. I have turned my force field on. Get down, I say again, and the dog turns the guilt ray up.
It backfires on him. His pathetic seventies-shaggy demeanour reminds me that he needs a haircut. Badly.
I stride off to the kitchen, studiously ignoring the cat sitting on the table, and I head to the scissor drawer.
The next five minutes represent progress in my book. I cut away the decades, transforming the dog from seventies man to a preppy graduate. He does not move away because he did not count on me arriving brandishing scissors. Perhaps he overestimated the power of the Guilt Ray. Or did not realise it might be deflectable.
My husband takes his seat at the other end of the sofa. Usually, the dog garners a place where he can rest his unspeakably filthy chin on my lap.
Today, not so much. Today he catches my eye – important to have the right audience to make a point – and walks with tortured martyrdom past me, the full length of the sofa; away to the other side of my husband.
And he wedges himself between the far armrest of the sofa and my husband’s legs.
See what you made me do? he emanates.
The cats walks in. He’s not letting on to my spouse about the juggling session earlier.
But he plans to do it all over again tomorrow.
59 thoughts on “Cats and Dogs: The Business of Baffling Humans”
😀 Thank you Julie: never work with children or animals, they say….
So true..so true..seen it myself with mine and been part of those games!
Ah: another cat juggler. Splendid.
How do animals make us feel so guilty? Are they the spirits of Jesuit priests?
You may be on to something there’ Roger. That’s worth investigating.
We are not the masters. It’s ego deflating, but there it is…
*Potters off to browse cat food flavours in local supermarket*
Delightful gravity-defying romp, Kate. Here’s to “juggling cats” and cats that juggle.
Now that I would like to see, Nancy. A cat who juggled.
Ever seen this:
I have never seen that, Kate. Poor beanie babies. 😉
Sounds like a very typical day in a cat house….or….a house with cats. Occasionally I have done dances to hide a hairball lying on the floor near a visitor hoping they don’t notice (and judge). They never fail to bring some excitement to the day.
Ha! I know the steps to that dance, Kate….
Your animals could fill a book with entertaining reading, Kate.
Alas, Andra, they stubbornly refuse to write.
A letter arrived in the post today. Much excitement 🙂
I think your cat merely wanted to speak to the painter and you kept sliding him off the table–he wanted a platform for his speech, as it were. Poor Mac. He’ll probably be back to sit with you tomorrow. After he’s sure you’ve learned your lesson.
Gale, as usual you see to the true heart of the situation. Tomorrow, I shall leave them to talk at length together whilst I blow-dry the dog.
Juggling cats – so familiar. Pets have their jobs to do – and they are quite persistent about it. If only people had such dedication…but they do their best to train us
😀 They do indeed. As you say, they have admirable focus!
I love this tale about the Shrewsday beasts, Kate. Mac and Monty are two clever spirits, but Monty sounds even more determined than Mac to have the last meow over you.
He is incredibly dominant, Virginia. A strong-eyed cat with a huge bottom. An adversary indeed for Lord of the Tache.
It could be worse…take Simon’s cat for example:
It really could, couldn’t it? I love Simon’s Cat….
Too funny. I have tried to get the animals off the bed. It doesn’t work. Especially at 4am when I am trying to do it without fully waking myself up. They don’t mind waking me up though. Far too often I have awoken to a cat paw in my face. Or a cat nose. Or worse.
They use us, abuse us, and then accuse of being cruel parents who do not take care of their every whim.
God I love my cats.
Yes, So do I, Michael. Can’t live without them. Whoever made cats really knew what they were doing…
Dear Kate, your story, so replete with feline, cat, and human responses that were wonderfully detailed with words that captured the fancy of all your readers, had me smiling broadly. And then I scrolled down your comments and found the “Simon’s Cat” video and watched it and guffawed! Thank you for making this day one of laughter. Peace.
Do check out the other Simon’s Cat videos if you haven’t already, Dee. They are good for the soul 🙂
Poor Macauley must be in the doghouse,grubby indeed, on behalf of this poor canine I ask “Who’s fault is that if I am !” For shame Kate how could you be so unfeeling Macauley deserves better, Fancy omitting a picture of him in preference to one of a cat.
I’m with the painter 🙂
*Hangs head* *Resolves to bathe the dog twice a day in future and visit the doggie parlour once weekly.*
Not sure the dog will thank you for that, Brian ;-D
Oh, Kate, you do make me laugh. Is it still raining cats and dogs there?
Penny, I regret to say, it is…I was at Hampton Court this afternoon, watching the Thames fill even fuller…
Your descriptions of your animal companions are just a delight. I can visualize them clearly.
I’d love to say I’m immune to our cats’ charms, but I am not. Fortunately, they haven’t attempted to take up residence on our table. But they do have the run of most of the house – they’re indoor cats.
I think you must give out special anti-table vibes, Judy, and I want me some of those.
And yet we fall, putting up with their nonsense, and somehow even encouraging it…the behaviors that those who don’t love our pets see clearly and we justify. I’m sitting here looking down at my carpet with white dog fur all over it…it’s been there for two days and I haven’t had five minutes to vacuum it up (dear God, please don’t let my mother come over until I’ve managed.) I can’t believe I’m so smitten I can overlook this. And even a cat with attitude and a dog who can guilt you, adorn our lives and it’s just a shame household painters can’t quite get there!
To own a cat or dog is to cross a Rubicon, Debra, isn’t it? Life is never quite the same once one has come to live with you. And you can never explain to non-animal lovers why they take the outrageous liberties they do.
I love that story, I seem to spend my life lifting Oscar and Milo off our dining room table!
Ha! Two of my favourite cats 😀 They were impeccably behaved when I was there.
They have long service medals, though, Sonja. They have earned the right to sit imperiously there.
Hope life in Zurich is treating you all well xx
My dog’s favourite place is to get up on my bed and sit at the pillow end. Every time I let him in my room, we go through the same argument. “Gwynn, no! come here” (to the foot of the bed, and off my pillows), to which the dog heaves the deeply exhausted sigh of one whose day is spent napping and sniffing things and curls up smaller, as if to say, “i’m just so tired, but see how small I am? I have left you plenty of room”. Two or three rounds of this is eventually enough to roust the figure of abject despair from the only part of the bed that eases his weariness, and the three step trek across the duvet is accomplished, with suitably malcontented sighs.
😀 You have me a much-needed chuckle, Lexy; such familiar territory we dog owners tread….
I found you via NR Hatch Spirit lights the way. I love animal stories. I half expected the painter to make some snide comment implying that he’d been watching the whole jugglng match out of the corner of his eye. Cute post. P.S. I’ve given up on the dog and couch thing. She wins.
Thanks so much for coming across to read!
I am on the verge of giving up myself, between you and me. I’m a gibbering wreck.
A delightfully normal scene – for those who have dogs and cats, anyway.
Indeed. We are quite accustomed to being ignored at every juncture, Col…
Unless, of course, our services are required. Like Mac desiring a midnight snack, and backing the request with volume and pins.
I wish my days were as much fun Kate 🙂 No filthy chin to snuggle or gravity defying bottom to juggle sadly.
I feel quite sure you must be healthier as a result, Madhu 😀
Kate ~ You might enjoy this post:
Fantastic post, Nancy, thanks for flagging it up!
I loved this post. Very descriptive, I can imagine the whole scene. “Victimized shoulders”. Perfect! Thanks for the laugh…that reminds me…I need to give my pup a haircut too!
😀 Loved your post on the Bone Church, Lindsay, just fantastic research and piece. Nancy Hatch recommended it and she is invariably right about these things.
Re: the haircut: all the best, and hide the scissors until the very last minute…
Thank you so much! That was really nice of Nancy:) Aww made my day.
I think my dog can sense when the bath and haircut are coming. She always hides in her kennel. Poor thing, she will never win.
Whatever it takes to get attention. Love your descriptions of Macaulay – Pigpen from Peanuts, with his cloud of dirt, springs to mind 😀
Ah, yes, Pigpen….
Get off the couch / bed is usually met with rolling over to have their tummy’s tickled. 🙂
Ha! Animals, they have a way of making us feel guilty and pleased all at the same time. They are full of humor and so much love for us, it’s beautiful.
“Today, not so much. Today he catches my eye – important to have the right audience to make a point – and walks with tortured martyrdom past me, the full length of the sofa; away to the other side of my husband.”
My pug is also a master at this.
Its what they do best, Cameron, I feel sure 🙂