"But, really, why does anyone create? You feel a... a restlessness inside, a need to make something new, something no one has ever seen before. You want to add to the beauty and the richness of the world with a gift, an offering that is uniquely yours. It's an act of selfishness and generosity, all rolled into one."

-- Bruce Coville,
The Last Hunt

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Human Beings: An Owner’s Guide for Cats

Congratulations on your new acquisition of a human being! Humans are endlessly fascinating and entertaining creatures, but there are certain things you must understand in order to ensure a long and mutually rewarding relationship between you and your person. It is important to remember that humans are largely inept in certain areas, so you will be responsible for much of their health and psychological well-being.

The underlying issue in any feline-human relationship is control. Humans have a need to feel that they are in control of any situation. Your challenge as their owner is to allow them the illusion of control, while always ensuring that all decisions are in fact made by you. This can be a delicate balancing act, requiring that you occasionally appear to defer to their absurd demands, only to reassert your authority later; remember that you are a cat, and balancing acts are your specialty.

Human Health

Nourishment: Most humans do not have nearly enough rodents and small birds in their diets. You must correct this by frequently presenting them with a fresh kill. They will refuse to eat it in front of you. However, they will take it away, and when they return, the meal has disappeared; we can infer from this that they are in fact eating your gift in private.

Also remember that when humans prepare their own food, there will always be enough for you. Therefore, you should jump on the table to claim your share. Another tactic is to walk under their feet while they are carrying food, causing them to trip and drop it. This is only fair after all the mice you have given them.

Sleep: Human beings tend to sleep at highly inappropriate times, such as the middle of the night. This is clearly unhealthy, so you should make every attempt to wake them during these hours. If you fail to do so, they will remain awake all day long, thus continuing the unhealthy cycle of nocturnal sleep.

Hygiene: Humans clean themselves, not by licking, but by standing under a steady stream of hot water. While this does appear to work, it is obviously dangerous. Therefore, you should remain just out of reach of this stream, ready to jump in and help in case anything happens.

Play Time

Play is one of the most important aspects of the feline-human relationship. Humans have very limited capacities to run, jump, and pounce; it is probably for this reason that they appear so fascinated with normal feline abilities. You should periodically put on a display for them; this provides them with mental stimulation while making them want to cuddle you when you have finished. There are several other forms of entertainment that your person will also enjoy.

Humans like to play with computers, as we can tell from the enormous amount of time they spend doing so. Since you and the computer are their two favorite things, they will absolutely love it when you walk across or sit on the keyboard. They may even try to chase you off of the keyboard just so that you can walk across it again.

Humans find it highly entertaining when you knock objects off of shelves; doing so will always meet with an immediate noisy response. When they put the object back, they are asking you to continue the game by knocking it down again. If the object breaks, they will become even more excited.

One area where you must always assert your authority as the dominant species is when humans are playing with thread or yarn. They will often behave as though they had some inherent right to these playthings and try to prevent you from obtaining them. This is clearly unacceptable, as all thread and yarn are the unquestionable domain of cats. Use force if necessary.

Odd Human Behaviors

Many human behaviors are fascinating but as yet not well understood. One of the most bizarre is their occasional insistence on taking the cat to a place called “The Vet”. This experience is mildly unpleasant for the cat, although it can be endured; no one knows what benefit humans derive from it. “The Vet” is one of those situations where the balancing act comes in. If you play along, they will open a can of tuna for you upon returning home. Thus, the person believes that they have been in control, while you know all along that you are really only making them give you tuna.

Your person will typically leave the house for a significant portion of the daylight hours. No one has yet determined where they go or why. Clearly they do not spend this time sensibly sleeping, as evidenced by their persistent unhealthy habit of sleeping all night (see above). More research needs to be done to learn exactly what activity they engage in during this time, and if anything can be done to prevent it.

People will sometimes attempt to mimic feline vocal sounds. This appears to be an attempt to communicate with us. However, the mimicry is usually so poor, and unaccompanied by appropriate body language or release of pheromones, that no sense can be made of it. You can mock them if you wish. They will not even know that they are being mocked; in fact, they will probably continue the attempted vocal mimicry, much to your entertainment. If you need to assert your control, the best tactic is usually to ignore these pathetic imitations and walk away; they will follow you. If your control is secure, you may comfort the human by rubbing against their legs and purring; this appears to make them feel loved, and they will usually respond by petting you. Either of the latter two responses will have the additional benefit of causing the person to abandon their attempt at sounding like you.

Remember that humans have a very weak sense of smell; they must rely on vision and the other lesser senses. For this reason, it is difficult for them to understand territorial boundaries. While they will generally respect areas like the cat tower or scratching post, they will attempt to enter some of your other spaces, including the sofa and the bed. Most of the time, you can allow this on condition that they show proper affection; however, you will occasionally need to remind them whose house it really is.

In Conclusion

We hope that this guide has given you some insight into human behavior. By following these guidelines, you should be able to ensure that your relationship with your person is long and happy for you both.


  1. What a interesting article and all true. Says a lot for my cat and me!

  2. I have no words...
    Maybe two: brilliantly accurate!
    Fox : )strstan

  3. Miranda, I laughed even harder the second time I read this and The Cat was reading it over my shoulder with I swear, a huge SMIRK on his face...

    Fox : )

  4. Very funny but very true. Maybe you should hide this before they find out we're on to them!