How Do Cats Apologize To Their Humans?

As George Carlin famously observed, cats don’t accept blame — but that doesn’t mean they don’t apologize sometimes.

Let me preface this by saying I neither expect nor demand apologies for the standard methods of Buddesian destruction. If Bud swipes my phone off the table and it cracks, that’s my fault for leaving it where he’s known to conduct his ongoing gravity experiments. Likewise, there’s no sense getting upset with him when he paw-slaps a set of keys four feet across the room, or when I return from the kitchen to find the remote controls on the floor.

That’s Buddy being a cat. Getting angry at him for it would be pointless, and expressing that anger would only make him fearful and stressed.

There are times, however, when even Bud realizes an apology is in order. As I’ve documented before, the little guy sometimes redirects his fear or aggression to the nearest person, which is invariably me, and almost mindlessly lashes out with claws and/or teeth. After working on it together, he’s improved dramatically and knows how to handle his fear and frustration peacefully. Still, every once in a while he gets really freaked out or overstimulated beyond what he can handle, and he’ll clamp onto a foot or forearm, drawing blood.

That’s when I react. I don’t yell at him beyond telling him to stop, but he can see from my reaction that he’s gone way overboard and done something he shouldn’t do.

Buddy stretching
Bud assumes the Striking Tiger, Ten Swords stance. Or maybe he’s just stretching.

He starts the apology phase by running off to the next room or running around the one we’re in, making uncertain “brrrrrrr brrrrrr” noises. (Precisely the same noises he’s made since the day I brought him home as a kitten, when he would poop in the corner of my bedroom underneath my bed. That’s always been the sound he makes when he’s unsure and maybe a little worried.) If I go to wash and dab antibiotic ointment on the cuts, he’ll sit there quietly watching me. He’ll watch until I say “Hey, Bud!” and then approach slowly until he sees me holding out my hand and starts nuzzling against it and purring.

I’ll usually say something like “It’s okay, but you shouldn’t do that,” kindly but firmly. He probably doesn’t grasp my words, but he understands my tone of voice and meaning.

We can only guess exactly what our pets are thinking, but I believe Bud’s telling me he regrets hurting me, didn’t mean to, and he wants to make sure we’re still okay.

As for cats reading us, the video below does a good job of explaining what cats pick up in our tones of voice, body language, facial expressions and even pheromones. Cats may not have been living with humans since the hunter-gatherer days like dogs have, but they still trace their domesticated lineage back 10,000 years, and just like dogs they’re hyper-attuned to the moods and intentions of their closest humans. Partially it’s because they depend on us utterly as their providers of food and water, but when cats and humans share a bond, there’s a strong emotional side to that attunement as well.

How do your cats say they’re sorry?

Buddy The Cat ‘Too Busy’ To Accept Challenge From Feline MMA Phenom

Saying he couldn’t find a way to squeeze it into his schedule over the next year, Buddy the Cat declined a challenge to step into the cage with one of feline MMA’s brightest young stars.

The challenge came courtesy of Sphynxie the Smasher, a four-year-old hairless cat from San Jose, California. The skilled cat uploaded a video in which he pumped iron and ridiculed Buddy for his “completely delusional claim that he’s a badass” and his “hilarious talk about having huge muscles.”

Sphynxie
Sphynxie the Cat taking protein supplements after an intense workout.

“This is what huge meowscles look like,” Sphynxie said, curling a meaty forearm and flexing his bicep. “Not the flab of some chubby tabby hoping we won’t notice how many snacks he devours.”

Sphynxie challenged Buddy to a cage match “any time, any place” and said he’d even tie one paw behind his back “to make it even with the chonkster.”

buddytweet4

Buddy issued a response on Twitter.

“First of all I’m not chubby, so that’s fake news!” Buddy wrote. “I’m 100% pure lean, mean badass.”

“Secondly, I’d be honored to step into the cage with Sphynxie and teach him a lesson that he’ll remember long after the real Sphinx is weathered to dust,” he continued. “Unfortunately my meownager says I can’t squeeze it into my schedule. I’m shooting my new movie, Fowl Play, through mid March, and then I’m going on tour to promote my next album. In between that stuff I really need to nap when I can, get some laser pointer work in, and catch up on eating turkey. Sphynxie should count himself lucky, because he dodged a bullet!”

The viral hashtags #BuddyDucksFights, #BuddyIsADuck and #ScaredBuddy were trending late Sunday night, prompting a long list of others to challenge the gray tabby to elicit increasingly ridiculous excuses from him.

One of them, a challenge from a five-month-old Russian named Oreonov the Putinizer, accumulated more than 20,000 likes in just a few hours.

“I am kitten. He is full grown cat, yet he won’t step into cage with me,” Oreonov wrote. “He knows I crush him for the glory of motherland.”

buddytweet3

Guinness Certifies 27-Year-Old As World’s Oldest Cat

Bill Clinton was still in his first term as president of the United States, Oasis and Radiohead ruled the music charts, and millions of people were taking their tentative first steps onto the internet via noisy modems and a service called AOL.

That’s the world Flossie the cat was born into in 1995, and you can imagine her sitting by a fire with some wide-eyed kittens, telling them that back in her day humans didn’t stare at those silly little phone screens all day and the concept of gourmet cat food didn’t exist.

“You kittens today with your snobby grain-free wet food and your doting human parents,” Flossie might say. “Back in my day all we had was Fancy Feast, and if we didn’t eat it, we didn’t get dessert!”

At 26 years and 316 days old as of Thanksgiving Day, Flossie has been verified as the world’s oldest cat by Guinness World Records. That makes the tortoiseshell, at a little more than a month shy of her 27th birthday, the equivalent of 120 human years old.

flossie-close-up_tcm25-726779
Flossie enjoys a snooze. Credit: Guinness World Records

Flossie is deaf and her vision is deteriorated, but veterinarians say she’s otherwise in good health. Her human, Vicki Green, said she’s surprisingly energetic for her age as well as “so affectionate and playful, [and] especially sweet when you remember how old she is.”

The super senior kitty hasn’t lost her appetite either.

“She never turns her nose up at the chance of a good meal,” Green told Guinness.

Flossie began her life as a stray and has outlived two owners. She lived in a cat colony on the grounds of the now-defunct Mercyside Hospital near Liverpool and was adopted some time in her first year of life. Her human died in 2005, and Flossie was taken in by her human’s sister, who cared for Flossie until her death in 2019. The woman’s son took Flossie and looked after her for a few years, but realized he wasn’t the caretaker she needed.

“It wasn’t an easy decision,” said Naomi Rosling of the UK’s Cats Protection, where Flossie was surrendered. “He sought our help when it was in Flossie’s best interests. Responsible cat ownership is when someone thinks about an animal’s needs above their feelings.”

Flossie the cat
Flossie with Green and their official Guinness World Records certificate. Credit: Guinness World Records

The staff at Cats Protection thought Flossie might not find a new home since many potential adopters don’t want an ancient cat, but Green has experience caring for older cats. Her previous cat, Honeybun, died at 21 years old.

“I’ve always wanted to give older cats a comfortable later life,” Green said.

The all-time record for longest-lived cat was Creme Puff, a Texas cat who was born on Aug. 3, 1967 and died on Aug. 6, 2005, just after her 38th birthday. Creme Puff was also certified by Guinness, which lists 18 other cats who lived to at least 30 years old. Domestic cats who live indoors, are fed healthy diets and are well taken care of live 16 years on average.

Happy Thanksgiving From The Buddies At PITB!

Happy Thanksgiving 2022!

With war, inflation and even resurgent Coronavirus strains in our stressful world, we’re grateful for this holiday because it reminds us of what really matters — juicy, delicious, slow-roasted turkey.

Our national day of gratitude traces its origins back to 1621, when the cats of the Plymouth colony and the cats of the Wampanoag tribe gathered together for a harvest feast. The Plymouth cats, just a few months removed from their lives in Europe, were intrigued when the Wampanoag cats brought a strange and fascinating new kind of yums to the feast.

They called it turkey.

From that first bite, the kitty settlers knew they’d found the stuff of life, the essence of deliciousness, the thing they’d been missing all those dreary years in Europe. Here was a land of new opportunity, new napping spots and things to scratch, but never in their wildest dreams did they imagine tasting such a delicious bird.

Just when they thought they’d had their fill of wonders for the day, the Plymouth kitties were delighted when the Wampanoag cats told them that aside from being incredibly yummy, turkey also has a magical quality: It induces long, restful naps within an hour of eating it.

The feast was so much fun and the turkey was so delicious, the Plymouth and Wampanoag cats promised they’d do it again the next year, and the next, and the year after that…

And that, my friends, is history.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Your friend,
Buddy the Cat

catprint

Buddy Turksgiving

TSA Baggage Scan Reveals Kitty Stowaway In Luggage

It was a tuft of orange hair poking out from the zipper of a carry-on suitcase that first alerted a TSA agent that something weird was going on.

The agent, who was processing a traveler departing from New York’s JFK airport on Tuesday morning, then consulted an x-ray scan, confirming the suitcase contained some unusual cargo — a ginger tabby cat tucked in among toiletries, snug and napping comfortably in the enclosed space.

X-Ray TSA scan
An x-ray scan revealed Smells tucked snugly into the suitcase. Credit: TSA
tsasmellycat
The incriminatory tuft of orange hair that gave away Smells’ hiding spot. Credit: TSA

As for the traveler, the cat didn’t belong to him, nor was he aware kitty had climbed inside. It turned out he had been a house guest of friends living in Brooklyn, and the cat named Smells had slipped into the luggage before he left for home, for what is a suitcase if not just another box?

The TSA confirmed the story with the cat’s owner before letting the traveler board his Florida-bound flight.

“An officer called and asked if I wanted to press charges” said Alix, Smells’ 37-year-old human. “He wanted to know if there was any reason [the passenger] was trying to steal my cat and go to Florida.”

Smells the Cat
A TSA security agent opens the suitcase to reveal its unauthorized would-be stowaway. Credit: TSA

After Alix assured the TSA agent that Smells “really likes to check out boxes” and definitely would have climbed in on his own, she hired a driver to retrieve the kitty, who was unperturbed by the adventure.

“I was worried he’d be freaked out but he wasn’t even meowing on the way back,” Alix told the New York Post. “I went to give him some extra treats and he acted like nothing had happened.”

As for the TSA — which often deals with more serious finds like guns and drugs secreted into passengers’ luggage — the saga of Smells was a welcome change that gave them a good story and some laughs.

“On the bright side,” TSA spokesman Lisa Farbstein wrote on Twitter, “the cat’s out of the bag and safely back home.”

Smells the Cat
Smells the cat. Credit: His humans
“I was worried he’d be freaked out but he wasn’t even meowing on the way back,” she said. “I went to give him some extra treats and he acted like nothing had happened.”