Tag: scaredy cat

Dear Buddy: HELP! I’m Scared Of Ghosts And Monsters!

Dear Buddy,

My human likes to watch horror movies and they’re freaking me out! I can’t even look at mirrors since we watched Oculus, I jump at shadows ever since watching 30 Days of Night, and I wet my favorite napping spot the night we saw The Ring.

But it gets worse! My human spent almost two weeks watching a TV series called The Haunting of Hill House, which was so scary, scarier than vacuum cleaners and filled with terrifying scenes! It had all kinds of monsters and people dying and countless sinister-looking ghosts hidden in the background of every scene.

Buddy, I can’t sleep at night, even with my human. I’m scared of monsters in the closet or under the bed, and ghosts outside the bedroom door. I’m scared they’re gonna get me in my sleep!

Help me, Buddy!

Terrified in Tallahassee


Dear Tallahassee,

You’ve come to the right cat, amigo! Among our kind the name Buddy is synonymous with bravery as well as good looks and charm, and I’m known for keeping my cool in circumstances that would reduce lesser cats to frazzled, freaked-out messes.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret, one they don’t teach to just any cat or kitten: Get under the blankets!

Blankets: The secret weapon.
Blankets: The secret weapon.

You see, blankets are about more than keeping those furless humans warm when they sleep. Blankets have magical properties that repel monsters and ghosts. They’re like shields or magic force fields!

Humans know that if you’re scared and you think there might be monsters in your home, the best solution is to get completely under the blankets, wrap yourself up nice and cozy and rest easy knowing the safety they will afford you until sunrise, when ghosts and monsters have to retreat or die in the sunlight. (Or was that vampires? I get things mixed up sometimes.)

Anyway, being the brave cat I am, I’m totally not scared of anything and I don’t have to hide under blankets. In fact, my human sleeps easy knowing that I’m guarding him. But if I were scared, Tallahassee, I’d dive under some magical blankets and feel my worries melt away.

Your fearless friend,

Buddy

Ghosts and Monsters!
Buddy is widely regarded as one of the bravest cats in the world.

Point/Counterpoint: ‘Ambushing Is Fun And Awesome!’ vs ‘Don’t Ambush, It’s Not Cool!’

‘Ambushing Is Fun and Awesome!’ by Buddy the Cat, guest columnist

Ambushing is not only a super fun activity, it’s a great way for cat and human to bond! When I come screaming out of the shadows at 2 a.m. to startle you during your sleep-fogged walk to the bathroom, it’s an expression of love.

I’m saying: “I love you, human! That’s why I’m playing with you!”

And if you think about it, I’m actually doing you a favor by startling you and making you more alert. You never know when a burglar or a chalupacabra might be in the house, so I’m really providing a valuable service!

Do we ambush people we don’t love? Of course not. Only you get the privilege of being woken up at 5 a.m. by a cat belly flopping onto your chest, ripping you out of your comfortable dreams. I wouldn’t dream of launching myself at someone else’s head while they’re watching TV or tripping a stranger by appearing out of nowhere and weaving between their legs.

It’s an expression of affection! Think of it like a slow eye blink or the equivalent of purring and nuzzling your cheek.

Ambushing is love!

‘Don’t Ambush, It’s NOT Cool!’ by Buddy the Cat, guest columnist

There I was sleeping peacefully on the couch, getting my 12th hour of beauty rest in when you plopped down next to me and scared the hell out of me.

That’s an ambush! That’s not cool!

For all their talk of being the ‘smart’ species, humans are remarkably inconsiderate of others and really think nothing of startling us poor cats.

Like the times you get up suddenly when you know we’re sleeping in your lap. We startle easily. Doing that to us is cruel! Besides, if you’ve managed to hold it in for two hours while we nap, what’s a third hour between friends?

Dropping items on the table without announcing your intentions first, yelling “Boo!”, making sudden noises or sudden movements, moving furniture: That sort of behavior is rude and uncalled for. Is it too much to ask that you announce your intentions beforehand, then move slowly and deliberately?

Just consult with us before you do anything at all. That’s all we’re asking.

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.

Why Scaring Cats Isn’t Funny

Whether they’re surreptitiously placing cucumbers behind their cats’ backs while the kitties are eating or filming their felines’ terrified reactions to Halloween props, some people apparently love scaring their furry friends.

Since many of the resulting videos go viral, people hungry for online fame have even more incentive to “prank” their cats as they chase clicks. The result is potentially thousands of house cats terrorized by people with ambitions of being the next TikTok or YouTube star.

On the surface, the way cats respond to being startled might seem comical. The term “scaredy cat” didn’t manifest out of nothingness, and cats who are truly frightened have a cartoonish way of leaping back and pumping their little legs while they’re still in the air like Looney Tunes characters.

But when you think about it from your cat’s perspective, in the context of feline evolution and psychology, the cruelty of scaring a cat for “lulz” becomes obvious.

Screenshot 2021-11-01 at 08-48-55 245 jpg (WEBP Image, 1200 × 800 pixels)

First, cats are ambush predators. It’s why they love boxes, why they do the adorable crouch-and-butt-wiggle routine before pouncing on their toys, and why they like vantage points where they can see but not be seen.

They particularly dislike surprises, which is why they bolt. Cats are supposed to get the jump on other animals, not the other way around. The impulse to flee as quickly as possible — and return unseen — is hardwired into the feline brain, as natural to them as burying their poop or kneading when they feel content. Because domestic cats are small and can be predator and prey, that impulse is even stronger, but it also exists in 500-pound tigers or 200-pound jaguars.

So when you intentionally frighten your cat with an object that will be perceived, however briefly, as a predator, you’re triggering a fight-or-flight response, a rush of adrenaline and fear.

catwiggle

However, scaring a cat in its own territory (your home) or in a place he or she feels especially secure (feeding areas) adds another layer. A cat walking around outside will be naturally wary, but if you’re giving your cat a good home, as well as the love and space she deserves, she’ll feel comfortable. She’s on her home turf, in a closed environment where threats don’t pop up unexpectedly.

When a cat turns around after enjoying some yums and sees a cucumber, her hardwiring takes over, she registers the intrusive vegetable as a snake and goes into flight mode, scrambling to get away as fast as possible. It’s not just that kitty’s shocked or can get hurt scurrying away from a perceived threat, it’s also the inherent cruelty in teaching your cat that the place she thought was absolutely safe from intruders may not be.

We’re not immune to this kind of conditioning ourselves. If you settle down for a nap one day and your spouse, a sibling or a friend thinks it’s funny to wake you by dropping an ice cold bucket of water on your face, will you feel comfortable dozing off on the couch next time?

Trust is implicit in our relationships with our cats. If we abuse that trust, especially for something as meaningless as social media likes, we’re endangering our human-feline friendships and making our cats feel unsafe in their own homes.

“This Is The Creepiest Cat I’ve Ever Seen!”

Meet Pixel the cat, whose dread visage is so terrifying it prompted Buddy to run screaming and hide behind the TV:

Pixel the cat
Pixel the cat.

Buddy isn’t the only one to recoil in horror after seeing photos of the two-year-old Cornish Rex.

“All the time people say ‘this is the creepiest cat I’ve ever seen’, ‘my sleep paralysis demon has come to life’ and if they saw him in the middle of the night they’d have a heart attack and it would scare them to death,” said Alyson Kalhagen, Pixel’s human. “People say all the time that he’s a ‘demon cat’ who ‘must be possessed’ and that the devil’s taken control of him. It’s kind of a recurring theme.

“I think it’s pretty funny because I usually just say ‘imagine coming face to face when you’re trying to scoop the litter box.'”

Pixel the cat
“I will eat your soul…if you don’t give me treats!’

Kalhagen even heard from a self-described exorcist after she began posting photos of her wide-eyed feline, who favors making weird faces that accentuate his freakiness.

The “exorcist” suggested caging Pixel and praying over him, cautioning that the cat was possessed by an entity.

It probably goes without saying, but for the benefit of our readers who aren’t familiar with Catholic belief and customs, exorcists are longtime priests who must complete a great deal of instruction — on top of the usual nine years of education including a post-graduate theology degree — before they can become exorcists. It’s not a job you can seek out or volunteer for, and exorcists are rarely publicly identified.

lotrexorcist

So it’s a safe bet to say the person who contacted Kalhagen is a self-proclaimed exorcist at best. Still, the person’s conviction that the cat is possessed is amusing:

Screenshot_2021-02-24 demonic-cat-04-1 jpg (WEBP Image, 600 × 900 pixels)

Pixel, who has a thousand adoring fans on Instagram, is having the last laugh:

Pixel
“All those who defy my demands for snacks will perish in the searing flames of my eldritch wrath!”
Buddy the Brave
“Is he…is he gone? You sure?”

Buddy’s Mailbag: Oh Sh#t!!!

Little Runt Who Talk Too Much,

Me hear fat little tabby cat claiming he is strongest cat in world. Me crush fat little tabby cat! He is perfect size for breakfast sandwich! I put him between slices of bread and mayonnaise. Muahaha!

Name place and time, we see who is strongest cat. Hint: It is me.

– Murderclaw the Disemboweler


Buddy Is Terrified!
“Oh Sh#t!!!”