Tag: lazy

Study Confirms What We All Know: Cats Are Remarkably Lazy

My cat has a morning ritual: He’ll meow in front of the treat cabinet, which now contains healthy snacks, then gobble down his first yums of the day before padding over to the carpet or the couch to lay down.

Ya know, because he worked so hard. After a long and tiring night of sleep and the grueling physical exertion of working his jaw muscles to eat, he needs a respite. A cat nap, if you will.

He’s not unique in this respect, and his morning siesta is just the first of many. Cats need their beauty rest after an exhausting day of lounging, sleeping and having their food literally placed before them.

A new study confirms what we already know — that cats are lazy little bastards — and even hints at new levels of laziness unbeknownst to us thus far.

Working hard or hardly working?

“Get a puzzle feeder,” they say. “Make ’em work a little for their food,” they say. “It’ll stimulate their instincts.”

Animal behaviorists have recommended toys like puzzle feeders and treat balls for years, prompted by research that shows animals enjoy “contrafreeloading,” a fancy way of saying when given a choice between free food and food in a puzzle feeder, animals will opt for the latter.

The behavior is consistent across many species of domestic and wild animals, from dogs and rats to chimpanzees and birds. Maybe it stimulates their urge to forage. Maybe it gives them something fun to do. Or maybe food just tastes better to animals when they’ve earned it.

Cats, however, aren’t contrafreeloaders. They want the easy yums.

That’s according to a new study by a University of California at Davis research team. Cats didn’t ignore the food puzzles entirely, but they showed a clear preference for the low-hanging fruit, so to speak.

“It wasn’t that the cats never used the food puzzle, they just used it less, ate less food from it, and typically would eat from the freely available food first,” said UC Davis’ Mikel Delgado, a co-author of the study.

puzzle-feeder
“I’m tellin’ ya, Horace, they do this just to piss us off. How are we supposed to gobble it all down if we have to fish every little kibble out one by one? I hate humans!”

As for why cats aren’t taken with puzzle feeders — besides their inherent laziness, of course — that question will take more studies to answer.

“There are different theories about why animals might contrafreeload, including boredom in captive environments, stimulating natural foraging behaviors, and creating a sense of control over the environment and outcomes,” Delgado said.

When it comes to cats, Delgado’s best guess is that puzzle feeders might just be the wrong game since it doesn’t stimulate their hunting instincts. Maybe the next study should involve small pieces of chicken and turkey tied to the ends of wand toys, so our mighty little hunters can catch their “prey” and dine like proper tigers.

Dear Buddy: What’s a cat got to do to get some decent sleep?!

Dear Buddy,

You’ve gotta help me out, hermano. I’ve got a real crisis on my paws here.

I can’t get any decent sleep.

I own a pair of humans who decided a noisy neighborhood was a good spot to live. Buddy, you wouldn’t believe the racket around here: Blaring car horns, subwoofers that rattle the windows, construction a few houses away, infernal dogs barking.

The neighbor kids next door are always playing outside at ungodly hours, like during my 1 pm post-lunch siesta, my 3:30 pm nap and my post-dinner snooze. I can’t even get in a few hours before it’s bedtime and I hop under the covers with my humans.

Buddy, I haven’t had a decent 16-hour day’s sleep in ages. What do I do!?

Dead Tired in Detroit

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Dear Dead Tired in Detroit,

Ugh, that sounds awful! I get cranky if I don’t get my usual 16 to 18 hours in, so I can’t imagine what you’re going through.

This is gonna be tough, Detroit. I can’t help you with the construction or the cars, but we can get those kids and dogs sorted.

Deal with the neighbor brats the old school way by marking your territory. Poop in their yard and garden. Spray the side of their house. Scratch all the trees as high as you can so they think a huge tiger is on the loose. Let them know this is YOUR realm, and if the brats want to play they can sit inside and play X Boxes. (Where are these boxes? I have never seen them.)

The dogs are a little easier. Approach them carefully. When they bark, you say:

“Wow, I’ve never met a dog who doesn’t like bacon!”

They’re gonna get that stupid look on their faces, the one where their tongues hang out and their eyes go blank.

“What do you mean?” they’ll ask.

Here’s where you butter them up.

“The Bacon Faerie!” you’ll say matter-of-factly. “She leaves slices of thick, crispy bacon for good boys who don’t bark. But you already knew that, because you’re a smart dog!”

Try not to speak too fast and don’t call them stupid. Just wait for them to slobber while thinking about that delicious bacon, and your job is done.

“Yes, I…uh, I forgot about the Bacon Faerie,” the dumb dog will say.

Spread the rumor to a few other pups and you’ve got a quiet neighborhood with no barking. Steal some bacon once in a while and zoom around the neighborhood tossing slices into yards like a paperboy to keep the dumb dogs from wising up.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s been an hour since my last nap and my favorite spot on the couch is calling me.

Buddy

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Sure, the Bacon Faerie may not exist, but dogs don’t have to know that!