Merlin – our black long-hair male cat – has now been living with us for 9 years. While that means we’ve been his family for almost all of his life, he’s been a part of mine for less than 20%. Don’t get me wrong, he still gets what he wants most of the time. But I have been thinking about some things.
One thing that had my attention recently was the idea that, even when they have food still in their bowl, whenever my wife and I are eating our cats will both sit near us and look like they expect a turn. I wondered why they do this, even when their noses should tell them that whatever we’re eating is too spicy or something that they don’t like.
Then I remembered an episode of “Mutual of Omaha’s WILD KINGDOM” that I saw as a kid. The episode explored the behavior and pecking order of a family of wild lions, and suddenly Merlin and Morgaine made sense. In a group of wild lions – called a PRIDE – the female adults will do the hunting, but the alpha male will be the first to eat. Eating order is determined strictly by social status, but everyone in the pride gets a turn at the fresh kill. That’s what is going on when our cats sit and wait while we’re eating – it’s the PRIDE mentality kicking in. They want their turn, even if they decide to walk away.
Which leads me to another cat-related revelation. Sharing scraps. To us, it’s just a sample of whatever is on our plate, and as long as it’s something they can safely eat, sharing a small portion isn’t a big deal. But to the CATS it is a big deal – if you refuse to share, you’re telling them they are not a member of YOUR pride. You are sharing your home, and making them feel rejected at the same time. It’s no wonder so many people think of cats as aloof and disconnected.
Note: though the original photograph is copyrighted by Warren Photographic, I used IRFanview to edit it to insert the text. That was the only change made.
Someone once made note of the fact that sharing your home with a cat means never having a moment’s privacy. My wife will certainly attest to that; both of our cats have followed her into the bathroom many times each. They won’t follow me, because I don’t allow them past the doorway. They will sit outside and wait, though.
A couple of days ago my wife threatened the male cat (Merlin) with a name-change. She said we should have named him “Snoopy” – because he not only observes everything that we do, but gets into everything we leave out.
Today my wife was a bit rushed getting ready for work, because she was running a few minutes late. About 5 minutes after she pecked me on the cheek and ran out the door, I heard this very pitiful “meow”. It sounded rather muffled.
Upon searching, I found Merlin – INSIDE the bathroom with the door closed. Silly cat.
Oh, and on another note, I have to love how it seems one of our cats thinks I’m the greatest hunter on earth. He watches me get into the refrigerator and pull out a sealed storage bowl, and yet (as if by magic) just minutes later I pull fully-cooked chicken out of the microwave. After 8 years, he’s still trying to figure out where the bird was! lol
There are several things on this list that I had to think, “How did this even become an issue?” about, but then I remembered who the US President is and how he got there. The only infinite thing in the entire known universe is human stupidity!