Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Where'd it go?

Cipher (The World's Most Amazing Cat, Screw You if You Don't Agree tm) is not the most intellectual of cats. Face it, as much as we might love the beasts, cats are not known for their deductive reasoning. They rarely solve mysteries or debate foreign policy. They are smart enough to be cats and figure out things like killing empty toilet paper rolls, but sometimes higher concepts defeat them.

Gravity is one of those concepts that cats don't seem to grasp, and Cipher is very much symptomatic of this failure.

One of her favorite things to do is knock items off of tables and then wonder where they've gone.

Her favorite target is books and since both Husband and I are voracious readers, she has plenty of game. She loves to jump onto the coffee table and bat with intense concentration at a paperback. Then when she finally manages to knock it onto the floor she looks completely mystified. "Hey," she seems to express, "it was here a minute ago!" She'll look at us with a "where is it?" expression and a few moments later appears to be extremely surprised when she jumps off the table and finds a book on the floor.

I usually have three or four books on the nightstand next to the bed and they plague her in the middle of the night. Suddenly she just can't stand it any longer and she'll walk over me to knock one of the offending books onto the floor. That'll teach it. Then, having disposed of another book and completely perplexed as to where the damn thing went, she'll walk back over me and settle at the foot of the bed once more, no doubt to meditate on the amazing disappearing book.


Duke said...

Are you sure you're interpreting Cipher's actions correctly? She sounds to me like she's playing a game with you. First she knocks off the book then you're supposed to pick it up to be knocked off again but you aren't picking it up. That confuses her. She made up a prefectly good game yet you refuse to play.

Is she as likely to knock off the books when she's alone or when people are present? I suspect she mostly does it around people. If that's true you can be assured she's not mystified by a dropped book but is doing it to engage you in play.

Cats in general are extremely smart. They have a vocabulary of over a hundred sounds and are masters at commumication. They can solve puzzles, open doors, and my molly can turn the lights on and off. In many regards they are smarter than dogs. In other tests they rate lower, but in general you can say they rank high on the IQ scale for pets.

Notice if people are around when knocks off the books. That will answer your question if she's picking a play with you or just doesn't understand.

Decca said...

Good riposte, Duke. But, sadly, I don't think it is a game. First off when I do put the book back on the table she usually doesn't knock it off again. She just gives me a look that says I'm magic because I made it appear again.

And things do get knocked off tables when we're not around. It's quite common to wake up in the morning and find the remote control or a CD on the floor next to the coffee table.

She also loves to pull books off of our bookshelves. Her favorite author is C.S. Forester. The Hornblower series is, apparently, within easy reach and she loves to pull them down. Again, we'll wake up and find one or two on the floor.

There is one weird game that we can't figure out the rules to, though. We call it the "runaway" game. She'll crouch down low at the end of the hallway and when one of us walks towards her, she'll run as fast as we can towards us, past us, and into the next room.

And yes, I was being ironic. Cats are very intelligent, I see that every day. Cipher has figured out how to do many things. There's a pillow she likes to knock off the couch so she can sleep on it on the floor. And she knows how to open our closet doors. Plus she's figured out how to get two normally rational humans to cater to her every whim.

Duke said...

Molly has a similar 'runaway' game that's really hide and seek. She'll shoot past you into another room where she rather obviously "hides" behind a chair or something. She stays there until you make eye contact and then she darts into another room with an "errrrp" noise to hide again. The funny part is if you don't make eye contact it doesn't count. I've walked around her saying "where's molly?" without it and she stays hid. After a few seconds if you don't "find" her she starts creeping farther and farther out into the room until she's practically under your feet. Then it's eye contact and ZOOM into the next room.

She made this game up herself without any input from me. She's also made up about a dozen other games including one I call "get the paw" where she pokes her foot at you between door cracks or openings in the desk. You are walking by when you'll suddenly see a cat paw frantically waving about. She wants you to stop and joust with her using your finger. It's Bat, whack, bat, whack until she gets tired of it.

She also takes balls and drops them down my wife's open toe shoes so they roll out the other end and she can chase it.

Her favorite trick was waiting for me to get in the shower and then flipping the lights off. She'll also turn the light off at bedtime if we forget.

The only time she intentionally knocks things in the floor is when she gets mad at us. Then she tosses all the couch pillows into the floor. I'll go in to see her standing in the middle of them glaring at me. It's like "don't make get rough, bub".