An Observation: Soft Kitty, Smart Kitty

I’ve had some time on my hands lately; therefore, I have overthought.

Oh, who am I kidding? I would have overthought of this eventually, regardless of whether or not social gatherings were taking place…largely due to the fact that I didn’t take part in tons of social activities in the first place. Throw in a few germs of ANY KIND during your run-of-the-mill cold and flu season and I was going to avoid the plague like, well, the PLAGUE, finding my own socially-distant activities to pass the time.

Streaming The Office GIF

So, in the course of my regularly-scheduled overthinking, I came upon something that has been mildly annoying to me for years–but fun for lots of other people, apparently–and decided to analyze it until it wasn’t fun anymore. (That’s how it works. I don’t make the rules. Sorry.)

I have always liked cats. I was around cats in my home until an unfortunate allergy that surfaced in college left me in tears (and hives) every time I found myself within a mile of a cat.

Animated GIF
Kind of like this, only with a lot more sneezing.

While I can’t help but think that some of them are out to get me (knowing that their dander and my weakness for their cute little faces are my kryptonite), I know they aren’t devoid of intelligence. They’re very smart creatures, in fact, even if they choose not to listen to people most of the time.

Which…brings me to my current overthought:

Hooman.

Somewhere along the way, someone else on the planet who thought cats were as cute as I do began to create memes about them. For some reason that I can’t quite determine, the word “hooman” began to emerge as part of the central tenet of cat vocabulary/language theory. It’s a theory that contends that if cats could speak, they would speak in terms…like that.

And it bugs me.

I’ve finally figured out why.

Sure, I’ll explain!

  1. One would assume that if a cat picked up the English language, they would do so by listening primarily to their owners, right? Okay, then. How many times a day–in normal conversation–do you refer to another person as a “human”? You’re more likely to call them by name, or perhaps refer to “people” or “a person.” You might even say “you” relatively frequently. But I can’t think of the last time I called the person sitting next to me “human” as a way of getting their attention. Therefore, they would be far more likely to pick up on the other terms before anything would have the opportunity to morph itself into “hooman” form.
  2. I know we’re living in a meme land where we assume cats can speak, but cats, in general, would probably say “meow” anyway. Why? Well, it appears to be easy for them, and it’s part of what makes a cat a cat. Plus, they’re stubborn. They’ll revert to what they know. “Meow” is familiar, and it’s succeeded in keeping cats fed and warm for many years now.
  3. As for the other grammatical errors that generally appear as part of these memes, sure, not every person speaks in grammatically-accurate language all the time. However, I’m doubtful that cats listen exclusively to conversations that mangle subject-verb agreements. Remember, they’re putting this language together based on what they hear, and conversations not directed towards the cat will likely be taking place in their presence. And, finally…
  4. Well, I didn’t quite think this far ahead. So…yeah. Overthought complete-ish.

I don’t know about you, but based on my observations of cats, they would probably place themselves more in a “cat”egory of perceived intellectual superiority above all other creatures, including their “hoomans.”

That is, until they fall off a ledge or something during a cat nap.

An Observation: Catnip-It-In-The-Bud

Apparently, word has gotten out about the lady living in the neighborhood who doesn’t have a cat but really, really loves cats.

I came home yesterday to TWO cats near my front door. After I parked my car, one of them scampered away from me like a typical skittish feline. He didn’t go far, and my guess is that he wanted a front row seat to listen to the other cat…who would shortly establish himself as the grouchy, whiny old man of the neighborhood.

All I wanted to do was pet at least one of the cats. That’s all. I love listening to a sweet little kitten purr for as long as I possibly can…well, before the eye-swelling allergens kick in.

You see, I’ve had lots of cats in my life. I had one of them for fifteen years. He was quite handsome and he knew it, going through life relying on his looks instead of developing his personality. (He was lazy and he didn’t play. Not even with catnip. What kind of cat doesn’t play? He just sort of sat around with a permanent expression on his face that said, “Look at me. I’m beautiful. Now, feed me and leave me alone so that I can clean my paws for three hours and grace the end of the sofa with my stunning good looks.”)

However, it was during my college years that I developed a severe allergy to cats, and he lived out his retirement years in my mother’s garage.

My old cat. Gorgeous…purred a lot…didn’t do much else.

Anyway, I approached the yellow tabby standing near my doorstep, trying out my best “here-kitty-kitty” voice and making cutesy little noises that people always make when they want to be friends with a small animal.

This cat didn’t want any friends. This cat pranced over and parked himself under my parked car and HOWLED. I tried to coax him out, but he wasn’t having it. He was treating me like I had invaded his space.

All I wanted to do was PET THE CAT. Oh, and perhaps offer to FEED THE CAT. How ungrateful could one cat be?

Finally, after listening to what sounded like the equivalent of a dying moose (seriously, I was just TRYING TO PET THE CAT), I decided enough was enough. It was time to shoo him away. I needed to get back in the car and I didn’t want to run over the little guy. I couldn’t reach him (and I didn’t feel like trying to reach that far, thus spending my evening cleaning up cat scratch wounds), so I gingerly took my umbrella and eased it under the car, slowly reaching towards him as a gesture of “okay, game’s over.” I figured the mere sight of it would startle him out of his hiding place.

Nope, he wasn’t budging. He was a ROCK. A rock that batted back, hissing and fighting with the end of my umbrella as it sat lifelessly in front of him.

For a second it seemed a little bit like trying to catch a cat……..fish.

The other one, meanwhile, was sitting a few feet away, staring at me like, “Whaddya expect me to do?” 

Lazy Cat GIF
I appreciated his support. No…really, cat. Just go on and sit there and do nothing. Thanks.

He went home shortly thereafter, leaving me with the lone holdout.

Speaking of fish, if they’d been paying attention, those cats might have picked up on the scent of tuna fish. Cats love stinky food, after all. I eat LOTS of tuna fish. (I need to stop saying that. “Tuna fish” is overly redundantly redundant. Tuna is fish. I can’t remember the last time I told someone I was going to eat a salmon fish. Anyway…) I practically hoard tuna. I take it with me to work nearly every day. I was more than willing to share my tuna and/or go out and buy more stinky cat food for the little guy, but…man. He just wouldn’t shut up. OR move.

He finally sauntered out of his hiding spot and went home so that I could leave.

I’ve decided I’m not approaching that one again (should he make his way back to my doorstep)…and it might also be time to invest in stockpiling more vegetables around here. (Why are they so terrified of cucumbers?)