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Basic Rules for Cats Who Have a
House to Run
1. DOORS: Do not allow closed doors in any room. To get a door
opened, stand on hind legs and hammer it with forepaws. Once
door is opened, it is not necessary to use it. After you
have ordered an "outside" door opened, stand halfway in and
out and think about several things. This is particularly
important during very cold weather, rain, snow, or mosquito
season. Swinging doors are to be avoided at all costs.
2. GUESTS: Quickly determine
which guest hates cats the most.
Sit on that lap. If you can arrange for a particularly bad
"tuna breath", so much the better.
For sitting on laps or rubbing
against trouser legs, select
fabric which contrasts well with your fur. For example:
white-furred cats go to black wool clothing.
NOTE: Velvet takes precedence over all other cloth.
For the guest who exclaims,
"I love kitties!", be ready with
aloof disdain, apply claws to stockings or arms, or use a
quick nip on the ankle.
When walking among the dishes on
the dinner table, be
prepared to look surprised and hurt when scolded. The idea
is to force your humans to reveal that they tolerate this
behavior when company is not there.
Always accompany guests to the
bathroom. It is not necessary
to do anything -- just sit there and stare.
3. HAMPERING: If one of your
humans is engaged in some close
activity and the other is idle, stay with the busy one. This
is called "helping" otherwise known is "hampering." The
following are some rules for "hampering."
a) When supervising cooking, sit
just behind the left heel of
the cook. You cannot be seen and thereby stand a better
chance of being stepped on and then picked up and comforted.
b) For book readers, get in close
under the chin, between eyes
and book, unless you can lie across the book itself.
c) For knitting projects or
paperwork, lie on the work in the
most appropriate manner so as to obscure the maximum amount,
or at least the most important part. Pretend to dose, but
every so often reach out and slap the pencil or knitting
needles. The worker may try to distract you; ignore it.
Remember, the aim is to hamper work. Embroidery and
needlepoint projects make great hammocks in spite of what the
humans may tell you.
d) For people paying bills
(monthly activity) or working on
income taxes or Christmas cards (annual activity), keep in
mind the aim: to hamper! First, sit on the paper being
worked on. When dislodged, watch sadly from the side of the
table. When activity proceeds nicely, roll around on the
papers, scattering them to the best of your ability. After
being removed for the second time, push pens pencils, and
erasers off the table, one at a time.
e) When a human is holding the
newspaper in front of him/her, be
sure to jump at the back of the paper. They love surprises.
f) As often as possible, dart
quickly and as close as possible
in front of the human, especially: on stairs; when they
have something in their arms; in the dark; and when they
first get up in the morning. This will help their
g) Always sleep on the human at
night so s/he cannot move
h) When a human is attempting to
"make the bed", hop on it and
curl up in the middle, or pounce on the sheet the human is
trying to rearrange. If the human tries to ignore you by
covering you with the sheets, move around and try to mess
things up. Protest loudly when you're evicted.
i) Laundry presents many
opportunities to hamper (hence the
other name for the laundry basket -- the laundry hamper).
Laundry fresh from the dryer is a perfect bed, since it is
warm and soft. As soon as it is put on the bed for sorting,
arrange yourself for a nap. If the human removes you, keep
returning until the laundry isn't warm anymore. Now it's
play time. Pounce on anything the human tries to move around
for folding, especially socks and nylons. For added fun,
grab a sock and hide under the bed with it.
4. PLAY: This is an important
part of your life. Get enough
sleep in the daytime so you are fresh for your nocturnal
games. Below are listed several favorite cat games that you
can play. It is important though to maintain one's Dignity
at all times. If you should have an accident during play,
such as failing off a chair, immediately wash a part of your
body as if to say "I MEANT to do that!" It fools those
humans every time.
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a) "Catch Mouse": The
humans would have you believe that those
lumps under the covers are their feet and hands. They are
lying. They are actually Bed Mice, rumored to be the most
delicious of all the mice in the world, though no cat has
ever been able to catch one. Rumor also has it that only
the most ferocious attack can stun them long enough for you
to dive under the covers to get them. Maybe YOU can be the
first to taste the Bed Mouse!
b) "King of the Hill":
This game must be played with at least
one other cat. The more, the merrier! One or both of the
sleeping humans is Hill 303 which must be defended at all
costs from the other cat(s). Anything goes. This game
allows for the development of unusual tactics as one must
take the unstable playing theater into account.
WARNING: Playing games (a) and
(b) to excess will result in
expulsion from the bed and possibly from the bedroom. Should
the humans grow restless, immediately begin purring and
cuddle up to them. This should buy you some time until they
fall asleep again. If one happens to be on a human when this
occurs, this cat wins the round of "King of the Hill."
c) "Tag" (Also known by
humans as "Charge of the Light
Brigade"): Obviously this game also requires two or more
cats, and may include a dog as well. One cat is "it." The
other(s) chase him around the apartment until they catch up
to him. Then follows the "Scrum", after which the cat who
caught the other becomes "it" and is chased around. Great
fun, but has the greatest potential for loss of Dignity from
maneuvers such as the Non-Carpeted Floor Skid and the Throw
Rug Wipeout. Whenever such a situation occurs, all feline
participants must immediately wash themselves. Dogs are
generally too stupid to do this and may continue to play. In
this case, the dog automatically becomes "it: and should be
subjected to the Pileup.
d) "Tube Mouse": This
is a game played in the bathroom. Next
to the Big White Drinking Bowl is a roll of soft white paper
which is artfully attached to the wall so that it can spin.
Inside this roll is the Tube Mouse. When you grab the paper,
the Tube Mouse will spin frantically as it tries to escape
from you. When the Mouse is exposed, it dies of fright and
stops spinning. But that's OK because you now have a great
new toy to pounce on, play with, and shred! Part two of the
game is to make the angry human believe that the other cat
e) "Fetch": Only dogs
will run after a ball or stick that
humans throw, take it back to them, and continue doing this
until they drop. As established earlier, dogs are not
bright. A dignified cat MAY fetch a ball for its human, but
if the human persists in continually throwing the ball away,
assume that the human truly does not want it, and leave it.
4.2) TOYS Any small item is a
potential toy. If a human tries
to confiscate it, this means that it is a Good Toy. Run
with it under the bed. Look suitably outraged when the
human grabs you and takes it away anyways. Watch where it
is put so you can steal it later. Two reliable sources of
toys are dresser tops and wastebaskets. Below are listed
several types of cat toys.
a) Bright shiny things like keys,
brooches or coins should be
hidden so that the other cat(s) or humans can't play with
them. They are generally good for playing hockey with on
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b) Dangly and/or string-like
things such as shoelaces, cords,
gold chains and dental floss also make excellent toys. They
are favorites of humans who like to drag them across the
floor for us to pounce on. When a string is dragged under a
newspaper or throw rug, it magically becomes the Paper/Rug
Mouse and should be killed at, all costs. Take care, though.
Humans are sneaky and will try to make you lose your Dignity.
Note that playing with shoelaces when the human is trying to
tie them is another form of Hampering.
c) Within paper bags dwell the
Bag Mice. They are small and
camouflaged to be the same color as the bag, so they are hard
to see, but you can easily hear the crinkling noises they
make as they scurry around the bag. Anything, up to and
including shredding the bag, can be done to kill them. Note:
any other cat you may find in a bag hunting for Bag Mice is
fair game for a Sneak Attack, which will usually result in a
great Tag match.
5. FOOD: In order, to get the
energy to sleep, play, and
hamper, a cat must eat. Eating, however, is only half the
fun. The other half is getting the food. Cats have two ways
to obtain food: convincing a human you are starving to death
and must be fed "NOW"; and hunting for it oneself. The
following are guidelines for getting fed.
a) When the humans are eating,
make sure you leave the tip of
your tail in their dishes when they are not looking.
b) Never eat food from your own
bowl if you can steal some from
c) Never drink from your own
water bowl if a human's glass is
full enough to drink from.
d) The best times to inform
humans of your dish's emptiness are
when they are unable to ignore you, such as when they are
sleeping or on the toilet.
e) Should you catch something of
your own outside, it is only
polite to attempt to get to know it. Be insistent - your
food will usually not be so polite and try to leave.
f) Table scraps are delicacies
with which the humans are
unfortunately unwilling to readily part. It is beneath the
Dignity of a cat to beg outright for food as lower forms of
life such as dogs will, but several techniques exist for
ensuring that the humans don't forget you exist. These
include, but are not limited to: jumping onto the lap of the
"softest" human and purring loudly; lying down in the doorway
between the dining room and the kitchen, the Direct Stare,
and twining around people's legs as they sit and eat while
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g) ELIXIR OF LIFE: Coffee is
known to be rejuvenating for both
cats and human. Whenever a human sets a cup of coffee on the
floor within your reach, s/he is showing you great respect
and worship. Softly blow the divine liquid until cool (you
may even put your paw in it to make sure the temperature is
just right) and then daintily drink it.
6. SLEEPING: As mentioned above,
in order to have enough
energy for playing, a cat must get plenty of sleep. It is
generally not difficult to find a comfortable place to curl
up. Any place a human Likes to sit is good, especially if it
contrasts with your fur color. If it's in a sunbeam or near
a heating duct or radiator so much the better. Of course,
good places also exist outdoors, but have the disadvantages
of being seasonal and dependent on current and previous
weather conditions such as rain. Open windows are a good
7. SCRATCHING POSTS: It is
advised that cats use any
scratching post the humans may provide. They are very
protective of what they think is their property and will
object strongly if they catch you sharpening your claws on
it. Being sneaky and doing it when they aren't around won't
help, as they are very observant. If you are an outdoor
kitty, trees are good. Sharpening your claws on a human is a
8. WATER: Water would be really
great if it wasn't so "WET"!
Dripping taps are the best sources of fresh water in the
whole house. Toilets are the next best (but the water inside
must be COLORLESS and contain NOTHING!) Therefore it is
imperative that any sound of running water be immediately
investigated in case a free drink may be obtained. The
bathtub is the best place to lurk in the bathroom when a
human is present. A plaintive meow or two and perhaps
hopefully licking the faucet usually will get most humans to
turn on the tap for you. If the bathroom door is closed,
demand entry noisily (see DOORS). The water dish is to be
used only as a last resort in case the humans leave the
toilet lid down and the tub and sink are dry.
9. THE VACUUM CLEANER: This
appalling Beast is known by many
names, "Cat Eater" being the most prevalent. Normally
pliable, agreeable humans will turn into raging monsters
while under its influence, running around the house sucking
up all the carefully shed cat hair and terrorizing the feline
residents with evil glee. Nothing can stop it until the
influence is over and the foul device is put back into its
closet. All you can do is run and hide when you hear the
engine roar to life and hope that It doesn't find you. On
some occasions, however, the humans are forced to open up the
vacuum cleaner and remove a swollen dusty bag from within.
This is its stomach, and must be destroyed if you can get the
chance. Do not worry if the human yells at you, for the yell
is really that of the Beast in pain.
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10. HUMANS: Humans have three
primary functions: to feed us,
to play with and give attention to us, and to clean the
litter box. It is important to maintain one's Dignity when
around humans so that they will not forget who is the master
of the house.
It is not known why humans like
to sleep when it gets dark,
just when the day is young and the masters of the house are
fresh and ready for play. It is known, however, that
sleeping humans are boring to be around and that they
occasionally must be roused to attend to our needs, such as
to get fresh food or water or to retrieve a toy that was
batted under the sofa. Almost all of them strongly dislike
being dragged out of bed in their so-called "wee hours."
Some will even pretend to be asleep even when we know
they're not, hoping we'll give up and go away.
Persistence is the key to success in any case.
One nearly always successful
method of rejuvenating a
dormant human is the "direct approach", namely jumping on
the bed and doing one or more of the following: trampling,
licking and/or nibbling any exposed parts, purring, meowing,
head-butting, or playing "Catch Mouse" or "King of the
Hill." This may only result in your being ejected from the
bed, but at least you now have the human's attention. If
the human is being stubborn, you may have to resort to more
drastic tactics, such as ripping down posters, rattling
blinds, knocking over and looting a wastebasket, knocking
items off the dresser, or singing at the top of your voice.
Eventually the human will get up and do what you want,
usually employing some bad language while doing so.
WARNING: It is not advised to do
this on a regular basis.
It will very likely result in your being "banished" from and
denied access to the bedroom altogether, in which case it
becomes much more difficult to get them to respond to your
wishes. Thumping the door or yowling may be initially
effective, but will likely result in being further banished
to the basement or even the kitty carrier! Discretion is
thus strongly recommended.
Of course, if the human gets up
on his own in the wee hours
to go to the bathroom, you are free to get him to do your
bidding while he is too sleepy to put up much resistance.
MORNINGS: In order to provide and
care for you,. the humans
must leave the domain every morning (usually before you take
your first cat nap). To help them on their way, either yowl
loudly, massage their scalps with your claws, or gently
bounce on top of them in bed. See also GAMES. The best time
to do this is about 24 minutes before their clock begins to
blare or ring. We must protect them from the blaring noise
because it could ruin their sense of hearing.
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11. MEDICINE: The vet is the
person to whom your human will
take you when you are sick. The place smells funny, there
are usually other cats and dogs in the waiting room, and
awful things like needles and pill prescriptions will happen
there. The usual result is that you will get better, which
is good, but you just can't let those humans cat-handle you.
The following are some tips for dealing with vets and
a) Unless you are really sick,
when you see the carrier come
out, run and hide somewhere inaccessible, such as under the
bed or behind a couch. Once the human finally grabs you,
struggle gamely. Splay your legs out so that it is difficult
to cram you into the carrier. If the human is trying to put
you in with another pet, try to allow the other pet to bolt
out the door. In the car, meow plaintively all the way down
to the vet's. If possible, reach through the bars of the
portable prison and try to caw the human as s/he drives. At
the vet's, splay your legs and brace yourself against the
carrier's walls if you can so that they can't dump you out
b) If you are well enough, you
must resist attempts to feed you
pills or any liquid medicine. As soon as you hear the pill
bottle rattle, hide as explained in part a). Resist attempts
to open your mouth. Squirming is good. Once the medicine is
in, try to spit it out, preferably by shaking your head
vigorously. Refuse any food that looks or smells like it may
have had medicine sprinkled on it. Unfortunately, humans can
be REALLY unfair and put it in tuna. In this case, accept
grudgingly. Look aggrieved after the medicine session is
12. ILLNESS: If you have to throw
up, get to a chair quickly.
If you cannot manage in time, get to an Oriental rug. If
there is no Oriental rug, shag is good. When throwing up on
the carpet, make sure you back up so that it is as long as
the human's bare foot.
13. LAPS: Undoubtedly the best
way to get attention from a
human is to jump in his/her lap and purr. Few humans can
resist because it makes them think you like them (which may
even be true!). Ear scratches, belly rubs, back stroking:
all these and more can be yours. Some cats like this
treatment a little TOO much and acquire the silly name "Lap
Fungus." Lap sessions also provide golden opportunities for
shedding -- be sure to take advantage of clothes which
contrast with your fur (see also GUESTS). Unfortunately,
humans have the annoying tendency to want to get up to do
their mundane activities, like answering the thing that
rings, or going to the Big White Drinking Bowl. Protest
this disturbance with accusing looks and plaintive meows.
Some laps may require "softening up" with a little kneading;
just be sure not to use the claws or you may have an
unexpected flying lesson!
CONCLUSION: Humans need to know
basic rules. They can be taught
if you start early and are consistent. You will
then have a smooth running household.
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