Thursday, June 15, 2006

Get What You Want: Cat Style

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As any ailurophile will tell you, living with cats is a truly humbling experience. Cats are the epitome of sensible living. They never, ever overeat and make themselves ill - even at Christmas. But that's not all. Cats who enjoy human company, find themselves a family they like, move in and live a life of luxury only enjoyed by multimillionaires. They command the most comfortable spots for snoozing, regular meals supplemented with delicious titbits, twice daily massages and recreation on demand.

This black cat by Theophile Alexandre Steinlen painted in 1896 is clearly making a demand for service!

One question is: how do they do it? Better still: how can we live life as comfortably as cats do? According to Joseph Wood Krutch, literary naturalist, the answer is simple, "Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want."

When cats want something they consider is due to them, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, cuddles or a fresh bowl of cool water, they will ask for it with the loud RAH-OW!! Au demands his bowl of kitty crunchies to be filled up regardless of time of day, if he feels the level is too low. He's dragged me out of bed time and time again at 4AM without the slightest hesitation.

But when a cat is asking for a special favour, their approach is quite different: they turns begging into an artform. Purring vigorously a cat wanting a favour will caress your ankles and pose in the most appealing attitudes until you give in. When Au decides he needs a treat, he specialises is a sweet look, a loud purr and the most affecting pose of starvation – even if he's just had a huge bowl of biscuits. I know it's a con but it works 99% of the time.

Cats really have it sussed; I'm going to try their methods for a week and see if it works for us non-cat people too. Fingers crossed!

PS the black cat is courtesy of Wiki Commons.

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