Sunday, July 28, 2013
A Very Moral Cat
For the past couple of weeks our local handyman, Luke, has been doing various small jobs around our house -- renovating a closet, repairing a bathroom, patching door-frames, etc. -- and he noticed that whatever he was doing, he attracted a small audience of my cats. They'd sit for hours watching him, apparently fascinated with his work. Luke was used to this sort of treatment from children, but getting it from cats was something new.
"I bred them for intelligence," I told him, "And they've got it. They're about as intelligent as 6-year-old human children, except for not having symbolic language. But they're still cats, with all the curiosity of cats, and they use their intelligence for their own little furry purposes. Of course they're fascinated with the strange things you're doing; they've never seen anything like it before. By the way, we've got to give away four of the younger ones. Would you like a cat?"
"Can't take one," he said. "We're going to move soon, and anyway, my Doris is allergic to cats. Sorry."
Oh well, it was worth a try. Luke went back to spreading plaster on the bathroom wall, just being more careful of his audience of cats.
The next day he made a point of hunting me up, where I was working at the computer, and -- with a solemn look -- told me: "You know, that little Siamese-looking cat of yours is very moral."
I pricked up my ears at that, since "moral" is not a word one usually associates with cats, and said: "What do you mean?"
So Luke sat down and explained. He'd been in the kitchen, washing out a paintbrush in the sink, when one of the cats -- a colorpoint, therefore either Comet or Nascar -- trotted up to him and meowed for attention. When he looked, she trotted over to the cat-box in the corner, and jumped up on top of it; she didn't set foot inside the box, but walked carefully around the rim. She made the classic scratching motion that a cat uses to kick litter over a fresh pile of urine or manure, looked at him again, then picked her way over to the waste-bucket at one end of the box where I keep the poop-scoop, and scratch-scratched at that. Then she looked at him again, turned around and picked her way to the other end of the box where I keep the carton of clean cat-litter, and scratch-scratched at that.
Intrigued, he came over and looked at the litter-box, and saw that it was indeed overloaded. The cat repeated her actions and meowed a bit urgently. He got the hint, took up the waste-bucket and the poop-scoop, and began cleaning out the litter-box. Before he'd cleaned out more than half of it, the cat jumped into the clean end, squatted, and made use of it.
"She wanted me to flush her toilet so she could use it," he finished, "Rather than poop on the floor. That's a really good cat."
Well, what could I say but to repeat: "I bred them for intelligence, and they've got it."
"Yeah," he agreed. "Too bad Doris is allergic."
--Leslie <;)))>< )O(