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Day 291 – Cat Experiment

January 15, 2015

Song of the Day: While My Guitar Gently Weeps – The Beatles

I love my cats, don’t get me wrong, but that doesn’t mean they’re above a bit of experimentation. Don’t worry, no cats were harmed in the making of this blog post. But here’s the thing: cats aren’t particularly bright, or they don’t come across as such anyway, and they have a habit of repeatedly doing things no matter how many times you tell them.

So it dawned on me today: maybe telling them isn’t enough; you have to show them.

I’ve explained how Claude likes to sit right in the way of the keyboard when I’m trying to work. I tolerate this up to a point, but if I’m very busy or things aren’t going well, I find it a tad irritating so I usually end up grabbing the animal and lobbing him out of the door with slightly more vehemence than might be deemed necessary.

Oh come now, you animal liberationists! Who hasn’t revelled in the thought of tossing a cat through the air once in a while. They always land on their feet, you know.

The thing with Claude, as I presume it is with all cats, is that he doesn’t get the message. I can despatch him from the room and give him strict instructions to stay gone, but he will always, without fail, leap straight back onto the desk again within, oh, five seconds.

So today I thought I’d try something new. You know how they say that if you give a certain food to a child 14 times they’ll acquire a taste for it? Well, the notion entered my mind that perhaps if you put a cat through the same routine over and over again, it might get the message. So rather than lobbing the cat out of the room, I decided to try patiently and calmly putting him on the floor and seeing how many times I’d have to repeat this before he stopped jumping back up onto the desk.

Answer: seven.

The first time I put him down he bounced straight back up almost without touching the floor. So I picked him up and put him back down again. One second passed and up he jumped. I put him down a third time, he sprang back up. A fourth time – up. The fifth time he looked at me with a face that said, “Give me strength!”, held my gaze for a moment, then jumped back up. The sixth time he was starting to look weary of the whole exercise. And the seventh time he stayed on the floor, looking pensive, as if the thought had crept into his tiny brain, “Maybe he doesn’t want me on the desk.”

Eureka! As Archimedes famously exclaimed when his cat jumped in the bath. Now I can’t wait till tomorrow to see if he’s remembered. What do you reckon?

  1. Brian permalink

    Somehow Claude will emerge victorious…

    • Tim Glynne-Jones permalink

      Funny, he hasn’t appeared yet today. Probably doing something despicable in my bed.

      • Tim Glynne-Jones permalink

        He’s back. Only took four goes today.

      • Tim Glynne-Jones permalink

        Oop! Make that five.

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