Sunday, 28 November 2010

The Human Enigma

Well, what can I say? From having very little comments when I wrote yesterday's post, I had people respond to me that I didn't even know read the blog. If a cat can be said to be humbled, I guess I was yesterday, although I'll not admit that ever again, even if I'm tortured with things as vile as tuna I can't reach! An upstanding ladycat should never confess to being humbled. And yet, it was incredibly nice to see all of the comments from peoples and cats, some of whom I didn't even realise were visiting me from day to day. Thank you all for continuing to read. It means an awful, awful lot.

Now, the title of my post speaks volumes, because the human is a bit of an inigma. On Puss-Puss' Blog
I've been discussing how the wake up habits of my human are not only inappropriate, but distressing and dangerous too. To illustrate my next point, I'll reproduce what I said to her there.

Puss-Puss, this behaviour you speak of is something my human exhibits every single day of her life. Hers is extreme, however. She maintains that she doesn't have time after the work hunt to sit down and provide a comfy, self-heating, soft place for me to sleep until I have decided that it is time to wake up. Firstly, she states that she must clean the house, wash bedding, de-fur the furniture. My answer to that is that if we are clean, that is all that matters, bedding is better when it has your scent on it and not the smell of horrid human soap, and that I spent much time and effort furring that sofa, thank you very much, and could she kindly leave it alone. She tells me she doesn't have time to listen to my complaints either. The nerve! My human has also gone a step up on the bell idea first thing in the morning. I trust that you will agree that when you sleep, it is not advisable to allow strangers into your den. You are vulnerable when you're resting, after all. My human,however, thinks it is acceptable to wake up to the sound of a myriad of peoples voices which come from a small box on the bedside table. There is even occasionally music too. I have to admit that it is a most effective waking mechanism, for it has me on alert immediately. I feel it my duty to protect the human from her own stupidity, and that involves being on the watch to save her from intruders. The thing that gets me though is that she chooses the voices. She used to have a beeping box instead, but maintained that she didn't like it because it woke her in a bad mood. I'm sorry, but waking up at all before you've finished sleeping would put anyone in a bad mood, whether it's through voices or beeping. They are strange creatures, these peoples, but their stupidity does make them indeering, no?

I am sure I am not the only cat with a human who exhibits these strange, and quite frankly worrying behaviours on a daily basis, but her latest complaint has me making some of my own.

My human uses a litterbox. It's not a propper bathroom spot, having no sand, no area to dig in, nowhere even to stand to do the business. Rather, it is a bowl filled with water. The first time I watched her use her box, I was most distressed. First of all, she sat, or at least, did the human equivalent of sitting. now even a kitten knows that if you sit down whilst going to the bathroom, you're gonna get one messy rear end, and then, what's worse, you'll be forced to clean it off to preserve your rightfully gained reputation for being one of the cleanest members of the household. That is not a pleasant mouthful as I am sure you will agree, but the human would have a worse time of it than me. Her spine is not as flexible as mine. This probably has to do with old age and the fact that she doesn't regularly do her stretching exercises against a scratching post, but the fact remains that she cannot clean herself all over as we can.

To get back to the story at hand, I watched in fascination and no little disgust as she sat down on the water bowl. I could not believe she was wilfully going to contaminate a good, clean water supply, and, as I would with any of my own kittens who attempted such a horrible trick, I shouted at her. It had absolutely no affect, and, right before my horrified eyes, she, well, she used the box that is not a box. I remember stopping dead, sitting back and just staring at her in disbelief. It was outrageous that she had not only ruined a lot of good water, but hadn't listened to my sensible warnings into the bargain.

From that moment on I took on the task of educating her to propper box uses... Or trying to. I ran with the idea that she was a newborn kitten as far as brain power was concerned. In this way, I could find it in myself to forgive her for what she'd done. She knew no better, so how could I punish her?

As I would with my own, I called the human, and for once she came. I made a show of walking to the box, then called her again, just to make sure she had her full attention on me. I then climbed into the box and, in the politest of ladycat fashions, I did what I needed to. I'm not always quite that austentacious, but she is a lady-human, and needs to be set a standard for manners. I scratched around in there for quite a time, making a lot of noise to show her that I was burying the nasty. I knew I needed to do this to combat the fact that her eyes did not work. When I exited the box, I did the mummycat to kitten chirrup at her to tell her what a pleasurable experience it was, then called her to let her know it was her turn.

Now, were she a kitten, even the most dim-minded of the litter, she would have attempted to clamber into the tray and copy me, even if it did take a little urging. I urged her all right, but she simply looked puzzled and asked if I was feeling all right.

Friends, whenever she is around I repeat this education. I will accept that it sometimes takes a few demonstrations before kittens get the hang of what they are supposed to be doing, but after months, she was still ruining the water, and seeming quite content to do so. I demanded that a box be brought into the living room so that I could ensure she had full hearing of my actions whenever I decided to go. Through a judicious use of crying, scratching and leaving litterbox presents on her sofa, I finally convinced her to move it. But it was to no avail.

I will call to her every time I come from my box demonstration, hoping against hope that one day the penny will drop and she'll come to the box like a good human for her toileting. Bug has heard me do this when the human is talking to him on the phone, and the pair find it highly amusing. I don't. It takes a lot of effort to keep up the manners and the demonstrating all the time, and they don't seem to appreciate that.

I still fail, after wracking my brains, to understand why humans choose to go to the bathroom in such an undignified and frankly dangerous manner. At their most compromised they are still visible, and they don't have anywhere to bury the waste to throw other animals off their scent. What is more, they contaminate good drinking water, and while I know that there is usually a lot in the bowls for me and Dogface, the human is reduced to drinking it from bottles. That bowl is human sized, so I can't understand why it doesn't click with her that if she stopped putting her waste in there, she'd have no need to ration herself to bottles. Her bowl is self filling and everything, but no matter how many times it does this and sweeps away the waste, she's just right back there the next time.

Do any of you have explannations for this? Is it a behaviour you have witnessed in your peoples? Have you had any more success than I in training them out of this worrying habit? Is there an instinctual reason why they do this which I am simply not aware of?


Katnip Lounge said...

They ALL do this! Even in the wild, they persist in "waiting" until they can get to the big white bowl. Well, at least the females do; the males often feel the need to mark as much as a Tom Cat. It is perplexing, and it makes us nervous too.

Tia, your Mom can put a traffic counter on her blog so she can track visitors, and there are gadgets that even tell where the visitors are from! Theres a lot of shy lurkers and folks that read and just don't have time to comment, we've found.

The Lee County Clowder said...

Tia, we almost always read your blog, but we don't always comment. Sometimes we just don't have anything much to add to the discussion.

We'd like to second the idea of adding a traffic counter or location tracker. (We could suggest a couple, or even help install them if you wish) We're not sure how your human's reader software would handle those things, but we got kind of a thrill out of Clustrmaps. It was kind of fun to us to see that someone from China checked out our blog, at least once.

A lot of blogs are using more detailed trackers, but we haven't messed with them.

GreatGranny said...

Tia, I so enjoyed this post. I found you on Rambling. I'm always happy to read a cat's blog and I get to read many on blogger. If you will go to mine, you'll see a Globe that has flags on it and I have a flag map and a flag counter. You can click on any and follow the directions. If you need help like I did, I'll be glad to help. My cat (Kassey) blogs too.

Admiral Hestorb said...

Tia, I LOVED the blog! I have tried and tried to get MY mom to do the right thing! It hasn't worked so far and I suspect it never will judging from what others have said here. Humans are intractable!!

Cat said...

Hello Tia, I'm glad you liked the flash mob video of the choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus. I'm not entirely certain of the story or why it was done, but apparently one happened at a train station in Antwerp too singing a song from the Sound of Music. Maybe choirs around the world are just looking for interesting locations with good acoustics to perform in. Whatever the reason, we are the beneficiaries of some wonderful music!

Lily Bug Lane said...

Hello Tia! My Mommy has a beeping box, but she must not like it much, as when it starts that horrid beeping, she hits it. This is my queue to purr loudly and rub my furry self on her face and make biscuits on her pillow so as to wake her nicely! I don't know why she needs the beeping box when she has me. Silly peoples!

Marg said...

Hi there Tia. We are excited that you are getting more comments. Just keep going around and making comments on other people's blogs. Yes our silly Mom does use that bowl of water to go to the potty. That is the craziest thing we have ever seen. Good job trying to teach your human to use the litter box. Take care and have a great day.

Amy and The House of Cats said...

Hi Tia! We have misseed visiting with you so much - since mom's work computer got all stupid we hardly get to see anyone anymore! We don't understand humans either by the way - our mom is the same way! And we are super excited to see you are getting lots of comments - we love your blog and think it deserves tons! Once mom is all caught up and doing normal posts again we hope to have you for one of our Friends on Friday - we just don't know when that will be yet!! We are sending you tons of purrs because we know that the humans get frustrating!