Saturday, May 23, 2009

Smart Cat, Dumb Cat, Fart Cat, Crumb Cat

I don't constantly want to write about things in my life - I generally dislike that kind of blog. But things have been happening that spur my imagination, so I just write what I want. Today's episode: cats.

One of my kittens is very intelligent. As a result, she's afraid of everything. The dog, people, movement, sounds in the night... even her shadow. She apparently has an overactive imagination, too. This is fun(!) because she'll run around trying to escape unseen foes, or catch imaginary prey. Sometimes we'll find her staring down at the ground, pawing at nothing (something?). After achieving no success, she'll change her angle of attack, but ho! her target moved! That's when we realized she's attacking her shadow...

The other kitten is very much the opposite. I'd like to say "dumb as rocks," but rocks are comparatively intelligent because they can't get squished by doors, poisoned by buckets of dilute bleach, or catch on fire.

I lit some incense the other day to mask a bad smell from the kitty litter, and I thought of a little experiment. I took the smoldering stick and held it in front of Izzy, the smart one. "Oh shit oh shit oh shit! It's glowing!" she mewled and hid. A little bit later she came out and approached, having realized it wasn't going to chase her down. *sniff sniff* "Oh shit! It's smoke!!!" Rinse and repeat. But after a while, she figured it out, didn't like it, got bored and left to go play with her little demons.

That was neat - I wondered how Anka would fare. I took the smoldering stick and held it in front of her. "OOoooOOoOOooOoooO! Neat!" and before I could react she ran up and touched the glowing orange tip with her pink little nose, then ran into a corner to hide, face all scrunched up and licking her nose. Dumb cat!

EDIT: 29-05-2009
I retried the experiment (to gather more data, of course) with some mints. These are strong mints, meant to keep fishermen's nostrils clear when they're pulling in tuna or salmon in the North Atlantic. The active ingredients are eucalyptus and capsicum.

Holding it in front of Izzy, she was at first curious, but fearful. Eventually she approached and sniffed in the general direction, decided it was very unzesty, and moved on. Another data point for Izzy - very consistent with expectations.

Holding it in front of Anka, she immediately descended upon the mint, rubbed her pink little nose on it, then backed off three steps and scrunched up her face. Further testing immediately following the experiment were inconclusive, because she backed away from it in mortal terror. Apparently these mint burn about as bad as ... fire. Another data point for Anka - surprisingly consistent!

A free bonus: now I have a cheap and effective Anka repellant. I can just scatter some mints on a table and there is no risk that Anka will jump up and knock over the flowers...

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