Category: Feline Ingenuity

Buddy Successfully Completes 412,377th Gravity Experiment After Swatting Phone Off Table

NEW YORK — Buddy the Cat recorded the results of his 412,377th gravity experiment on Tuesday after successfully swatting his human’s smartphone off of a nightstand.

The silver tabby, who is a longtime enthusiast of experimentation with gravitational forces, said his most recent experiments were opportunistic.

“Usually my human secures his phone and his glasses before going to sleep, because he’s jealous of my scientific exploits and seeks to impede my progress,” Buddy explained. “But he must have been really tired the night before, because I noticed the glasses and phone were just sitting there unattended. They were calling out for me to swipe them onto the floor.”

It would have been rude not to take advantage, Buddy said.

buddyportrait_saturated2
The scientist: Buddy is committed to unlocking the mysteries of gravity.

Gravity experiment #412,377 went as predicted with the smartphone landing on the floor with a satisfying slap, the scholarly feline reported.

Gravity experiment #412,376 was equally successful, with an added bonus — the glasses ricocheted off the nearby wall and became wedged between the mattress and the wall.

“My human, Big Buddy, was very angry when he woke up and couldn’t find his glasses,” Buddy admitted. “It was fun watching him fumble around like he was blind. He came close a couple of times and I considered meowing to let him know he was getting warm, but decided it was crucial to the experiment to see how long it would take him to find them. After all, what is a scientist without his integrity?”

Buddy the Cat said he expects a Nobel Prize at some point in the future for his groundbreaking work.

“Gravity is remarkably consistent,” the feline scientist noted. “No matter how many times I swipe things off of flat surfaces, they always fall to the floor. But I haven’t even tried 500,000 times yet. I feel I need at least a million attempts to have a really robust dataset, and my experiment could benefit from more variety as well. Maybe I’ll try the TV next, or maybe the dishes in the kitchen cabinet. The possibilities are endless!”

10 Signs That Your Kitty Tolerates You

“Does my cat love me?”

If you’re like most cat servants, you’ve wondered about that at least a few times, laboring under the misconception that we can’t communicate our feelings. (We can, but you humans are not smart enough to see what’s in front of your faces!)

The internet is peppered with absurd listicles that supposedly answer the question of whether your cat loves you. They claim proximity, purring, slow-blinking and grooming are signs of affection, again because most humans are incapable of complex thought and simply cannot fathom the motivations of a superior species.

Because I am a benevolent feline, and one who is burdened with a particularly dense human, I present to you an authentic list of signs that your kitty … well, love is a strong word, isn’t it? Let’s call it a list of 10 Signs That Your Kitty Tolerates You:qhNcGV4HohM62hbuhZj6MJ-970-80

  1. We don’t eat you. You might think that we can’t eat you because we’re not as big as tigers, lions, jaguars and leopards. You would be wrong, as humans frequently are. We have no qualms about eating humans when there are no other options, although if we’re being completely honest we’d eat just about anything before resigning ourselves to that.
  2. We tolerate your proximity. Did you know that for many thousands of years, humans thought the Earth was the center of the universe, and that the sun, other planets and star systems all revolved around the terrestrial home of homo sapiens? It’s that kind of hubris that leads humans to believe we cats love them because we supposedly prefer to be near them. The truth is, we merely tolerate humans and we often don’t have a choice when it comes to proximity unless we’re living in 50-room mansions. Where else are we supposed to go in a four-room apartment?
  3. We don’t murder you. You humans have convinced yourselves that our warnings are “love bites.” We are happy to correct you by increasing our bite force.
  4. We allow you to scoop our poop. Do not kid yourself, human. If you are trusted to clean our turds, it means you occupy a lofty position in life. Consider yourself lucky.
  5. We bring you gifts. Again, humans misinterpret this behavior as “cute.” They think we’re sharing our kills. What we’re really doing is showing you what we’re capable of. Think of it as motivation: Continue serving my meals on schedule and dispensing treats, and you won’t end up like this mouse.
  6. We show you our bellies. “It’s a sign of trust!” imbecilic humans coo. “Kitty is showing you she feels comfortable and safe in your presence!” If there were an Olympics for getting things tragically wrong, humans would sweep gold. We show you our bellies not because we trust you, but because we want you to know that even when we’re laying in vulnerable positions, we aren’t worried about what you can do to us. You’re slow of wit and limb.

    short coated gray cat
    Credit: Krysten Merriman/Pexels
  7. We rub ourselves against you. “Mr. Snuggles rubs up against me all the time to tell me he loves me!” a tragically misinformed person might say. Nope. You’re right about the scent-marking glands. We have them on our cheeks, paws and our forehead, but we’re simply marking ownership by rubbing against you. When you write your name on your lunch bag before you toss it into the work fridge, does that mean you love the bag? No. It just means “Don’t eat my lunch!” Same thing here. We are telling other cats to look elsewhere for servants, because we own you.
  8. We groom you. You’re disgusting. We groom you because we can’t stand your stink. End of.
  9. We knead you. Yet again, humans misinterpret a malicious activity as “cute” and endearing. It’s a marvel that your species has survived as long as it has. What do you do with a piece of steak before you cook it? Tenderize it, of course! Kneading is just a long tenderizing process carried out over years, so when you die and no one notices because you have no friends, and the cat food runs out, we can eat you without major difficulties. That still doesn’t mean you taste good.
  10. We meow at you. Long ago we felines realized that humans are not smart enough to speak tail or whisker, so we endeavored to speak your “language,” a series of grunts and guttural vocalizations that supposedly carry meaning. But when we stoop to “speaking” your tongue, you respond with gibberish. Tell us, which species is supposed to be the intelligent one?

So there you have it, humans. Ten signs your beloved feline tolerates your presence, as long as you conduct your basic duties as a cat servant competently. Let no one claim Buddy the Cat isn’t a friend to the human race, revealing the mysteries of catdom so that you might serve us more competently.

Okay, fine! I love my human. But he’s perpetually on thin ice, and he knows it.

Top image: Buddy the Cat looks approvingly at his human, Big Buddy. That may seem like a scowl, but rest assured it is the kindest facial expression Buddy directs at his loyal servant. All other photos allegedly depicting a loving Buddy are in fact fake news, and should be ruthlessly censored.

Does Your Cat Know Your Name? Study Says Maybe

I’m pretty sure Buddy does not know my name, and why should he?

He doesn’t hear my name spoken often, and in his mind I’m probably “Big Dumb Benevolent Human And Butler,” or BDBHAB. That’s a mouthful, even in meow, thus the much easier-to-say “Big Buddy.”

But a new study from Japan claims cats “possibly” know the names of their humans.

First, the parameters of the study would have eliminated the Buddies from the start: the research team from Kyoto University enlisted only cats who lived with at least two other felines. This is because they also wanted to find out if cats knew the names of their furry roommates as well.

The 48 cats who participated in the study lived in regular homes or cat cafes. The team played a recording of their human calling the name of one of their buddies, while a monitor showed an image of a cat. Sometimes the names and the images matched, and sometimes they didn’t.

The cats took longer looks at the images when the feline image shown didn’t match the name they heard, which the researchers said was indicative of surprise.

Separately, 26 cats were run through a similar experiment. In that scenario, the researchers played an audio clip of the cat’s human’s name and showed an image of either the human caretaker, or a cat. Like they did with the first experiment, cats looked longer when the images didn’t match the names, expressing apparent puzzlement.

What's your name, dude?
“I’m a Buddy, you’re a Buddy. We’re all Buddies.”

In case you’re wondering, it does seem to matter if a cat grows up in a home rather than a cat cafe. When the name and face matched, researchers called that a “congruent condition.”

“Half of the trials were in a congruent condition where the name and face matched, and half were in an incongruent (mismatch) condition,” they wrote. “Results of Exp.1 showed that household cats paid attention to the monitor for longer in the incongruent condition, suggesting an expectancy violation effect; however, café cats did not.”

The reasons are fairly straightforward. In a home setting, cats almost always interact with their human family members, while felines in cafes interact with different employees on different shifts, and with customers, who might be regulars or strangers. Either way, the cats living in homes are much more likely to hear their own names and the names of their feline roommates.

“The latter probably have more opportunities to observe interactions between the owner and each of the other cohabitating cats, which might facilitate learning of the face–name relationship,” the team wrote.

The Kyoto team pointed out that many wild animals, particularly mammals and birds, make sounds that correspond to animals, objects or abstract ideas. Monkeys and birds, for example, use a range of different calls to communicate to each other when they’ve found food or spotted a predator heading their way.

The stakes are much lower in a home setting, but evolutionary traits can still serve cats and dogs well. One reason pets may be keen to recognize the names of their furry roommates, the research team speculated, is competition. After all, Socks would want to know if Oreo is getting more treats or head scritches.

Titanic With A Cat!?

The last time I saw Titanic was in a movie theater 25 years ago when the film was just released, its theme song was befouling airwaves and its director, James Cameron, was playing at deep sea explorer in the Mariana Trench. (Cameron would return for an expedition more than a decade later, matching the depth of a science team who made the dive decades earlier, but doing it solo. His interest had been sparked by the work he did on Titanic.)

I remember feeling restless as the movie dragged out, then incredulous as women and girls all around me sniffled, dabbed at their eyes with tissues and even sobbed! Teenage Big Buddy could not comprehend it.

But this version of Titanic? It’s more my speed, coming in at an economical 1:07 running time and featuringOwlKitty in place of Kate Winslet:

As you can see, Winslet isn’t entirely gone from this cut. She just plays second fiddle to OwlKitty, Leonardo DiCaprio’s first love.

Who’s the Queen of the World now?

Want more OwlKitty? Check out her star turn in Jurassic Park, where she replaced the T-Rex and rampaged around the doomed island looking got catnip and treats.

Point/Counterpoint: ‘Get Away From My Litterbox, I Need Privacy!’ vs ‘How Dare You Use The Bathroom Without Me?’

Get Away From My Litterbox, I Need Privacy!

buddycolumnDude. Put the top back on my litterbox and go away! I have some excrementory functions to attend to and you know I don’t like you hovering in the vicinity while I’m taking care of business.

I’m serious! Get out!

How would you like it if I could hear you straining over the sand or burying your biz? I can’t even go number one unless I know I’m by myself! You need to make like a tree and go into another room or I’m gonna make this whole place my personal litter box. Go on! Shoo!

Do they not teach basic manners to humans anymore?

How Dare You Use The Bathroom Without Me?

buddycolumnDude. I’m hurt. Betrayed. I can’t believe you went to the bathroom without me and I had to stand outside, crying and scratching the door for 30 seconds until you let me in.

You know this is a group activity. It always has been. You sit on the throne and I watch you, occasionally interjecting with a meow.

Oh, privacy schmivacy! You poop, I poop, we all poop. What’s a little poop between friends?

No! Put down the newspaper! Put down the phone! You’re being rude. Hasn’t anyone ever told you not to bury your face in your phone while you’re at the dinner table or on the toilet? It’s antisocial. Now I have yet to hear a good explanation for why you went in here without me in the first place … Do we need to have another talk about closed doors again?

Point-Counterpoint presents two essays taking opposing positions on a topic. Join us next week, when Buddy the Cat will debate Buddy the Cat on another important topic.