Tag: cat behavior

The Cat Who Ate The Turkey

Buddy has a new hero.

Heather Ziegler, a columnist for a local newspaper in West Virginia, recalls a Thanksgiving from her teenage years made memorable by her cat helping himself to the turkey:

My mother had taken the huge frozen turkey and placed it on top of the [freezer] to begin the thawing process several days before Thanksgiving. By the grace of God, we all survived this process over the years.

However, this particular year was a first for our family. A day or so before Thanksgiving, my mother went to retrieve the turkey. A scream was heard, peppered with a few harmless curse words. At some point, the family cat had discovered the turkey and had begun to enjoy a pre-Thanksgiving meal. The turkey was ruined and it was too late to thaw another bird.

The story has a happy ending of sorts: Heather’s mom and dad took all twelve (!) of their children out to dinner, where they were joined by their young cousins, whose police officer father had been shot a few days earlier and remained hospitalized. Thanks to the crafty cat, those kids had the comfort of their extended family on a difficult holiday.

Since then, Ziegler writes, The Turkey Incident has become a fondly-remembered bit of family lore.

As regular readers of Pain In The Bud know, turkey is Buddy’s favorite food in the universe.

Why turkey, and why not chicken, beef, salmon, duck or tuna? Who knows? He’s loved it since kittenhood and would eat turkey all the time if he could.

Thankfully he won’t be putting a damper on Thanksgiving: I don’t eat meat, and my aunt hosts Thanksgiving in her house. But maybe it’s time for a special turkey treat for the good boy in the form of Thanksgiving leftovers.

Cat and Turkey!
This silver tabby (not Buddy) can’t wait to get his paws on leftover turkey. Photo credit: Nick Strate

One of My Favorite Kitten Memories

Whenever I look at photos of Baby Buddy, I try to remind myself there was a whole lot of crazy that came with the cute.

The surreptitious pooping underneath my bed. The relentless nightly war waged against my ankles and feet. The incessant meowing as if he’d reconciled classical and quantum physics and needed to tell me all about it right this very instant.

Actually he hasn’t quite given up that last hobby. He still tackles weighty subjects in minutes-long soliloquies delivered in meow, but he’s generally less insistent unless the topic involves food.

Buddy the Baby

One of my fondest memories of Baby Bud involves that hyper talkativeness combined with boundless kitten energy and Buddy’s unique brand of crazy.

It started with bedtime. I was settling in for sleep and Bud was making it clear he would have none of it. So I sighed, making sure my feet were fully wrapped in the armor of a blanket to render kitten claws and teeth ineffective.

One of his favorite moves as a kitten was to wait until I was falling asleep, my heart rate slowing, before going kamikaze on my feet. He’d listen for the first snore, chomp down on my toes and gleefully flee before I realized what was happening, happily trilling and chirping after another successful ambush.

This time Buddy had something else in mind. As soon as the lights were off and I was settled in bed, he took off like the Roadrunner, ricocheting off the walls and yelling out “BRRRRRRUUUPPP!!!! BRRRRRRUUUPPP!!!” as he pinballed around the room.

This went on for several minutes until, without warning, Buddy skidded to a halt on my back, meowed the kitten equivalent of “OH YEAH!” and collapsed on top of me with an epic sigh of contentment. He was asleep within seconds.

I can’t do justice in words to how funny it was, except to say I was laying there belly-laughing with my kitten on top of me, afraid I was going to wake him up.

At the time it was also validation. This kitten was my first-ever pet, and he was clearly a happy little dude. That made me happy too.

I miss Baby Buddy, but I love adult Buddy even more precisely because I have more memories like this one to fondly look back on…and because adult Buddy mercifully doesn’t treat my feet like scratching posts when I’m asleep!

Baby Buddy

This Might Be The Weirdest Cat Behavior Of All

Are cats the most religious animals?

I’m not asking because I think cats are locked in an eternal good-vs-evil struggle between their deity, the God of Napping, and the evil forces of the Red Dot. We’re all well aware of that.

I’m asking because, well, my cat prays. He eases onto his hind legs, sits straight up, puts his paws together and gestures as if in fervent prayer, just like this guy:

Or this marbled tabby apparently in the middle of her evening vespers to the God of Yums, that from which all sustenance seems to come. The fridge.

And finally this kitty, who baffles his owners as he stands up, presses his paws together and shows excellent prayer form:

Buddy has some bizarre and amusing moves in his repertoire of feline quirks, but the “praying” thing is the one behavior I haven’t come close to decoding. I hadn’t even heard of it until I saw the little guy doing it one day when he was just a few months old.

First thing’s first: No one seriously believes cats are praying or know what prayer is, so I just wanted to get that disclaimer out of the way before my inbox gets flooded with variations of “HAHA U MORAN CAT’S CANT PRAY LOLZ”

Some people think the motion looks more like a begging gesture. Cats are asking for something when they do it, proponents of the begging theory argue.

I think we can rule that out. I’ve heard owners of other “praying” cats say their furry lieges wave their paws like that in various situations, and that’s been my observation as well. Bud does it randomly, and I’ve seen him do it while he was unaware of my presence. He couldn’t have been asking for anything.

There’s no research on this behavior and there’s virtually nothing about it on the web aside from a handful of Youtube videos.

Maybe it feels like stretching or provides some other form of muscle relief. Maybe it’s a cat’s way of limbering up. Maybe it’s an indication of a cat’s mind state, the same way relaxed ears and an upright tail indicate kitty’s happy and relaxed. Or maybe it’s a form of self-soothing for anxiety.

Those are all guesses, and none of them feel quite right. So help a dedicated cat servant out: What’s your take on this behavior, and what prompts cats to do it?

How Do These Nice Russian Ladies Know My Cat?

Dear readers, I think we’re close to proving what we’ve long suspected, that cats can indeed teleport!

I used to think Buddy could only teleport short distances. One time, for example, I stepped over the little guy while chastising him for lounging in the middle of a doorway. I raised my foot, careful not to step on him, took another step…and looked up to find him sitting on a table 10 feet ahead of me, his head cocked at an angle, staring back at me with an amused expression on his face.

IMG_2676
“How do I teleport? Easy. I use a retaining magnetic field to focus a narrow beam of gravitons. These in turn fold space-time consistent with Weyl tensor dynamics until the space-time curvature becomes infinitely large and you produce a singularity. Now, a singularity…”

I did a double take, looking back at the spot on the floor where he had just been, absolutely sure there must be a second gray tabby, a Buddy imposter helping my cat play a joke on me. How can anything move that fast?! He must have teleported!

Now it seems Buddy’s powers of space-time manipulation are greater than I ever imagined.

Enter Lingvistov, a creative team comprised of artist Landysh and writer Asia, who became friends while studying English at a Russian university. After they graduated they decided to put their skills to good use by penning short comic strips and illustrations about cats and their many weird and wonderful habits.

Somewhere along the way, Buddy must have used his powers of teleportation to meet them and serve as a muse, because they’ve got him down to a tee:

Play With Me!
Although we’ve been working hard on correcting the behavior, biting to get what he wants is a classic Buddy move. Credit: Lingvistov

The sneaky little bastard has been fluent in Russian this whole time and hid it from me! That, and his ability to manipulate space-time and teleport at will.

Food O’Clock
”Wakey, wakey, human! Up, before I slappeth you with my paw!” Credit: Lingvistov

Buddy must have napped with them as well. He loves sleeping between my legs, in the “valley” formed by the blanket, and he uses me as his human mattress. He must have demonstrated his preferred sleeping positions for his Russian friends:

Human Mattress
A human mattress. Credit: Lingvistov

Of course there will be skeptics. The teleportation thing doesn’t quite stand up to Occam’s razor, after all. What’s more likely, that Buddy can teleport, or that a woman in Russia has a gray tabby who is just as uniquely obnoxious as my little dude?

Still, I choose to believe he can indeed teleport and one day, when I finally train him to do my bidding, he can put his powers to good use by teleporting to the store to get me a six-pack of beer.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a gift for the cat servant in your life, you can’t go wrong with a Lingvistov print or stationery reminding them of their allegiance to our furry overlords.

Cats love boxes
Ah, the eternally unused cat bed. Credit: Lingvistov

Brave Kitty Saves Her Human From Venomous Snake

His Grace Buddy, King of All Cats, First of His Name, the Most Handsome and Totally Not Scared of Anything, is pleased to issue a Commendation of Bravery to Shelly, a rescue cat who saved her human from a venomous snake.

Shelly’s human, Jimmie Nelson, heard strange noises one night last week and chalked it up to Shelly burning off some energy with a late play session. Nelson went to sleep, oblivious to the danger he was in until the next day when he saw a dead copperhead under his kitchen table.

“On the side of the snake’s neck and head there were claw marks and one big slash, so we knew right then that the cat had definitely killed the snake and then brought it out a few days later to show it to her little dad,” Nelson’s daughter, Teresa Seals, told NBC affiliate WBIR in Tennessee.

D6F359FC-9ED3-46F6-9445-79747A4425B5
Like all great cats, Shelly is a grey tabby.

Copperhead snakes are pit vipers, ambush predators that rely on hemotoxic venom to paralyze and injure their prey. They’re common in the southeastern U.S., though it’s unusual for the snakes to seek out humans or enter homes.

Copperheads don’t provide warnings before they bite and “strike almost immediately when they feel threatened,” according to LiveScience. Although their venom is not as potent as their deadlier cousins in the pit viper family, children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. Copperhead bite victims are usually treated with antivenin and painkillers, and recovery can take months.

Nelson, who is 81 and a stroke victim, doesn’t like admitting his affection for his feline master, but Seals knows it’s just an act.

“He loves her, he doesn’t wanna act like he pays attention but I’ve caught him actually petting and loving on her,” she said.

She doesn’t think it’s an accident that Shelly ended up with her father.

“I think the Lord sent the cat to us to save my dad,” she told WBIR.

His Grace King Buddy said he’s honored to award Shelly with the King Buddy Commendation for Feline Bravery, an honor created in 2014 after His Grace defeated a vicious mosquito in single combat. The award itself is a bronze statue of Buddy striking a heroic pose at the moment of victory, paw raised after slaying the insect, muscles rippling from the effort of delivering the death blow.

Jimmie Nelson and Shelly the Cat
Shelly with her servant, Jimmie Nelson of Tennessee.