Cats

Cats: A Love Poem in Four Parts, Expressing Loss, Anger, Questioning, and Acceptance, Concluding with a Couplet

I

Cats no longer come when I beckon,

Bend down, and make kissy kissy sounds.

I’m needy, they know.

I used to be their go-to guy.

They’d saunter over, brush their whiskers

Against my shins. I’d have ‘em vibrating,

Running in front of my feet

As I walked away.

Now? Nary a meow.

II

Crawl into my lap, purring smooth,

You with your soft fur, soft paws

And your LIES! Reeking of

Gutter water, trash can tuna, milk

Gone bad. Sleeping all day.

Don’t even talk to me, you can’t even talk to me!

Half-closed eyes half-blinking with pleasure.

May AIDS take your lives.

III

Are cats natural actors?

Can cats see us when we’re not there?

Why do cats get to run around naked?

When a cat falls does it land morally upright?

How do cats fare on sobriety tests?

IV

Reptiles are overrated.

Gerbils? You’re wasting my time.

Maybe a goldfish,

Some of them, the nice ones.

I’d like to meet a goldfish.

Goldfish. Who am I kidding?

Bats keep bumping into me;

Even dogs aren’t what they used to be.

_______________________________

Cat Owners Manual

Congratulations on your purchase of a new CAT! With proper care and maintenance, you should be able to enjoy many quality years with your special new companion. We urge you to read this manual carefully in order to understand your CAT and its proper operation.

I. Getting to Know Your CAT

Approach the animal slowly with a warm, open, “nothing up my sleeve” attitude.[1] In a gentle voice, tell the CAT how pretty it is. Tell it you’ve never seen a prettier CAT. Make “kissy” sounds and stoop down, making yourself smaller and more approachable.[2] Extend your hand and rub your thumb and forefinger together as if holding a juicy piece of salmon. The CAT will know you don’t have a juicy piece of salmon, but it will join you in your little ruse – even displaying a believable sense of curiosity – in order to save face as it condescends to your desire to pet it. Continue verbal praise. CATs are generally unresponsive to flowers,[3] chocolate, greeting cards, and similar fare favored by humans.

II. How to Pet the Cat

A. The Hand

Slightly cup the hand in a flexible manner so that it can glide gently over the surface of the animal’s head, generally avoiding the ears.[4]

B. Petting Action

With Point A being a spot on the forehead, and Point B being a spot at the base of the animal’s skull, apply the hand to Point A and proceed evenly between the ears to Point B. Repeat as necessary.

C. Proper Results

When proper technique is used, a vibrating sensation (commonly referred to as “purring”) should emanate from the animal. If the petting technique produces hissing, gagging, loss of fur, headaches, insomnia, hypertension, or generally aggressive behavior, discontinue petting immediately and notify your animal health care provider.

D. Other Areas for Petting

If petting the head fails to produce vibration, or just for the sake of variety, consider petting the following areas:

  • Under the chin
  • Along the cheeks
  • Along the back[5]

Warnings

Do not attempt to pet the CAT while driving a vehicle or operating heavy machinery. If you experience dizziness, drowsiness, or nausea, discontinue petting immediately and consult your physician.

CAUTION! Do not attempt to pet the CAT in the following areas:

  • The eyes
  • The mouth
  • The genitals or anus

Because the stomach area proper lies within close proximity to the animal’s claws, petting this area should not be attempted as this often produces an aggressive response in the CAT.[6]

III. Illogical Behavior

Much of what a CAT does can seem illogical to someone unaccustomed to members of the animal kingdom. However, some illogical CAT (aka “feline”) behavior falls into familiar patterns and therefore can be discussed rationally, thus circumventing any cause for alarm.

A. If you own a CAT that enjoys having its lower back petted, you will generally find that petting this area produces a sudden and automatic rising response (of the animal’s hind parts). This response has no discernible meaning. It is no cause for alarm.

B. Often when a CAT is petted, its claws will engage in rhythmic extrusion, opening and closing. Again, this is no cause for alarm. This response has no known meaning. This type of behavior is not aggressive in nature but seems to be a reflex indicating pleasure.

C. When the CAT is placed prostate on your stomach or chest area, you may find that the CAT presses its paws rhythmically against your stomach/chest in a “milking” gesture. Again, no cause for alarm, no known reason. No milk should emanate from your person.[7]

IV. Playing With Your Cat

There are many CAT toys on the market that are scientifically designed to produce play behavior in your CAT. Through a marketing arrangement with CATTOYZ.com we are able to offer many fine toys at a special rate. These toys must be purchased separately from the CAT. They include but are not limited to the following:

  • Rubber mouse ($12.95)
  • Rubber mouse w/interior bell ($14.95)
  • Rubber mouse LX w/amplified interior bell, detachable tail, engraved fur lines ($19.95)
  • Felt or cloth mouse ($8.95)
  • Felt or cloth mouse w/interior bell ($10.95)
  • Felt or cloth mouse LX w/interior bell, detachable tail and eyes, RealisticÓ colors ($15.95)
  • Rubber ball ($6.95)
  • Rubber ball w/interior bell ($8.95)
  • Rubber ball LX w/interior bell, Symmetric AssuranceÓ, 5-Year Warranty ($13.95)

However, many CAT owners find that superior play behavior is elicited by a shoestring. (Not available for purchase.)

Stroking the CAT’s stomach will often motivate the CAT to fall to its side and attempt to either scratch or bite your hand. However, in some CATs the biting/scratching behavior produced will be done in a manner more playful than aggressive.[8] In this case, you may play a game with the CAT called “Let’s See Who’s Quicker.”

You will always lose this game.

V. Other Matters

For matters concerning feeding and hygiene, read directions on CAT food or CAT litter box, respectively. For all other matters, consult your animal health care specialist.

DISCLAIMER: This document contains forward-looking statements based upon typical CAT behavior and that involve certain risks and uncertainties. Actual results may vary depending on many factors including but not limited to your CAT’s genetic disposition, diet, climactic changes, acts of God, or other unforeseen phenomena beyond the scope of a general manual such as this one.

[1] Do not, however, think “I have nothing up my sleeve” or the CAT will think you have something up your sleeve and run off.

[2] But do not crouch. The CAT might think you’re ready to pounce and will run off.

[3] If however you do proceed with flowers, do not attempt to hide the flowers behind your back. This will arouse suspicion in the animal and cause it to run off.

[4] Effectively petting the CAT’s ears requires advanced training and should only be attempted by professionals.

[5] Use caution when extending the petting action farther down the back. Some CATs, like some women, will exhibit distemper if your hand touches their hind parts. Also, see III. a. above.

[6] Cone, Strickmeyer, Pundhati et al have argued convincingly that the stomach area produces an innate defensive response in the animal motivated by protection of the vital organs. Yet cf. Nielson and Lund, who point out that in some CATs the defensive response borders on play behavior (see Playing With Your CAT). In either case, if stomach petting is attempted, a thick glove is recommended.

[7] If the CAT’s milking behavior produces milk in your person, and you are not in fact trying to feed the animal, call our technical assistance hotline at 1-800-CAT-HELP.

[8] Yet see argument above, Note 6.

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