Thursday, December 09, 2010

Chronicles of a Cat

Cipher (The World's Most Amazing Cat, Screw You if You Don't Agree tm), like most cats, prizes her coolness. Cats are cool. The jazz hipsters of the animal world. Sure they get crazy when they play. Every cat does that "run as fast as you can around the house for no reason" thing. But for the most part, they are smooth.

Which is why it's so funny when they do something totally spastic and then give you that "I meant to do that" look. Cipher (again, like most cats) likes to sleep on the top of the sofa. So there she was, napping away. Having hip cat dreams. And then the UPS guy rang the doorbell. Cipher, surprised out of her sleep, twitches and falls down onto the sofa. (Luckily she fell forward and not down the back onto the floor.) She immediately scrambles up into a sitting position and looks at me as if to say "you laugh at your peril, woman." Of course I laughed. So hard I gave myself a coughing fit.

It was just so endearingly absurd and she was trying so hard to pretend it never happened. Ah, if only I'd had a video camera.

Working with shelter cats I see a lot of those "I meant to do that" moments. Cats, in spite of their insistence on hipness, do a lot of unintentionally stupid things. There are the cats who run into the window while chasing a toy. "I totally knew that window was there. I was just using it to change my trajectory." The cats who fall off the bench "just testing to make sure gravity still works." And cats who pounce on an object and completely miss it "just putting the fear of Cat into that hapless pipe cleaner."

One of the things that cats don't realize is that it's impossible to play and look cool at the same time. They try, poor things, but never succeed. It defies the laws of nature to maintain a hipster vibe while being menaced with the creature that is your own tail. And that little chirping at the birds noise they make? So not threatening. "Yeah, you stupid finch. come over here and see whose boss!' That's what they think they're saying. But what they're actually saying is "I'm trying to fool you with my bird call but I just sound like I've got a goldfish down my throat."

As any cat owner will tell you, cats have marvelous personalities. Dog owners will say "cats are too aloof" when the truth is that cats, for all their posing, are just Vaudeville comedians with tails. Dogs are fun, sure, but because they are naturally goofy it's not that much of a surprise when they do something that makes you bust out with a laugh. But cats, by their nature, are unexpectedly hilarious and that makes it all the funnier when they break through that wall of poise and fall down onto the sofa.

1 comment:

Kittie Howard said...

Every vet's office I've ever been in has a 'Dogs Rule' sign. I personally think Cats Rule. They know how to rock n roll thru life! Lovely post, Decca!