Cats: the original honey badgers
November 27, 2013 10:38 AM   Subscribe

 
It's really the secret to any good relationship.
posted by planetesimal at 10:40 AM on November 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


The study concludes by observing that “the behavioural aspect of cats that cause their owners to become attached to them are still undetermined.”

BECAUSE HE'S A GOOD KITTY YES HE IS A GOOD KITTY WHO WANTS A BELLY RUB OH YOU GOOD KITTY
posted by Curious Artificer at 10:41 AM on November 27, 2013 [48 favorites]


My favourite are cats who actively avoid you once you call their name, because this is precisely how I behave in public.
posted by elizardbits at 10:43 AM on November 27, 2013 [26 favorites]


FTFA: " the study tested twenty housecats in their own homes"

That's not a scientific study; that's a large-scale collection of anecdotes.

Every one of my cats would come running if I called their names - and since I don't train with food, it wasn't the "can opener" effect. (That's also anecdotal evidence, and the metastudy now says only 87% of cats don't respond.)
posted by IAmBroom at 10:43 AM on November 27, 2013 [14 favorites]


Honestly, pop-science journalism is complete shit. This one even has musings about the evolutionary path of a species... based on a single behavioral test of 20 individuals. With that kind of evidence, I can "prove" that humans evolved to prefer raw fish to cooked meat, based on a study done at a sushi bar.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:45 AM on November 27, 2013 [30 favorites]


The 2 year old will now clumsily pet the kitty saying "Yes you are! Yes you are! Yes you are!" - I do not know where she gets this from.

(He is a good kitty. Yes he is.)
posted by Artw at 10:46 AM on November 27, 2013 [32 favorites]


My cat will come to me when called, when he feels like it. Often enough, when I call him there is no response--I do a cursory search for him, and he's been sitting like 15 feet away from me, out of sight, not giving a shit.

So: yes.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 10:46 AM on November 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


That's not a scientific study; that's a large-scale collection of anecdotes.

PREACH IT! TESTIFY!

*ahem* sorry, but it needed to be said.
posted by aramaic at 10:47 AM on November 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


My cat will come to me when called, when he feels like it.

Same here. Intriguingly, when my cat feels like it, he will come to me even when I don't call him.
posted by jeather at 10:47 AM on November 27, 2013 [29 favorites]


A proper study that sets out to detect cats giving a shit would really need one of those huge underground neutrino detector things.
posted by Artw at 10:48 AM on November 27, 2013 [62 favorites]


One of my favourite ways to mess with my cats is to repeatedly make that "kissy" noise most cats seem to respond to while one of them is trying to sleep or concentrate on something else, to see how many times they'll open their eyes and/or swivel one ear in your direction before they choose to ignore you. It's usually about half a dozen.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:49 AM on November 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


One of our cats, Cosette, will come when asked to come, or follow, etc. when she is in a good mood. If she's been naughty, "Come here, Cosette" means run the hell away.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:50 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sometimes my cat comes when I snap my fingers, the rest of the time she's an asshole. The other cat is always an asshole.

But oh man KITTIES!
posted by bondcliff at 10:52 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


This one even has musings about the evolutionary path of a species... based on a single behavioral test of 20 individuals.

I read the same thing about cats years ago. Self-domestication is the primary theory, afaik.
posted by empath at 10:53 AM on November 27, 2013


But can your cat ignore... An outstretched finger that could be touched with its nose?

Next test: the small piece of paper on an otherwise empty bed.
posted by Artw at 10:53 AM on November 27, 2013 [35 favorites]


But can your cat ignore... An outstretched finger that could be touched with its nose?

No, that must be smelled and sometimes licked
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:54 AM on November 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Sometimes my cat comes when I snap my fingers, the rest of the time she's an asshole.

A finger snap is the designated "stop that!" noise with my cats, and one of them always responds with increasingly pathetic meows like he's negotiating with me. *snap!* "MEOW!" *snap!* "Meow?" *snap!* "mrow...?" *snap!* "...meh." (finally gets off the counter)
posted by jason_steakums at 10:56 AM on November 27, 2013 [10 favorites]


If science would take a crack at explaining why my cat is obsessed with water to the point of spending most of his day in the bathroom meowing at passersby (or, if someone sits on the toilet, pawing at their shoulder) to request a sink drink DESPITE THE MANY GODDAMNED BOWLS OF WATER ALL AROUND THE HOUSE, I'd really appreciate it.
posted by COBRA! at 10:56 AM on November 27, 2013 [21 favorites]


Yeah, COBRA!, I have uh reproduced that result at my house, daily.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 10:59 AM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Case Study: Cats of the Michaels Household vis a vis Voice Response

Methodology: We tested whether the three cats of the Michaels household would respond to their human's voice. We tested under four conditions involving food and name use. First, we called the cats and offered no food. Second, we called the cats and had food. Third, We did not call the cats and we had food. Fourth, we did not call the cats and we did not call for food.

Results:

When the cats were called and no food was offered, 33% of the cats responded by immediately running over and seeking out the source of the call, 33% perked up and showed heightened focus, and 33% continued doing cat stuff.

When the cats were called and food was offered, our researcher reports that over 200% of the cats replied. This discrepancy was attributed to the difficulty in counting the felines while the "weaving effect" was in play.

When the cats were not called and food was offered, 100% of the cats gradually arrived.

When the cats were not call and food was not offered, 66% of the cats came over anyways and 33% of the cats continued doing cat stuff.

Conclusion:

Calling for the cats is less effective at summoning the cats then not calling for the cats. In fact, your success rate is significantly improved if you are actively not calling for them.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:00 AM on November 27, 2013 [97 favorites]


If science would take a crack at explaining why my cat is obsessed with water to the point of spending most of his day in the bathroom meowing at passersby (or, if someone sits on the toilet, pawing at their shoulder) to request a sink drink DESPITE THE MANY GODDAMNED BOWLS OF WATER ALL AROUND THE HOUSE, I'd really appreciate it.

Cats don't like still water, and they don't like water near their food. Try and buy a little kitty fountain and keep it away from food dishes.
posted by empath at 11:02 AM on November 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


If I may make a recommendation COBRA! -- have you tried a fountain water dish? Cats are perverse so maybe you have and it didn't decrease your cat's whiny demands, but if not it's something to consider. Lots of cats like drinking from running water best, and many cats don't drink enough water, especially those that are being fed mostly dry food. In the long run that can lead to kidney troubles and whatnot. I'd recommend ceramic or metal over the plastic, they seem to build up biofilm gunk much slower and are easier to clean.

Of course, one of my kibble eating cats, despite having two bowls of daily changed water AND a water fountain, still routinely drinks out of the toilet, so.
posted by foxfirefey at 11:03 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


empath: I read the same thing about cats years ago. Self-domestication is the primary theory, afaik.

That's not the part of the article that is based on the "experiment", so that's not the part of the article I was talking about.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:03 AM on November 27, 2013


Of course, one of my kibble eating cats, despite having two bowls of daily changed water AND a water fountain, still routinely drinks out of the toilet, so.

You are not the boss of cat.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:05 AM on November 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


Calling for the cats is less effective at summoning the cats then not calling for the cats. In fact, your success rate is significantly improved if you are actively not calling for them.

My gf gets mad because the cat always crawls on my lap despite the fact that I never call her, look at her, pet her, or pick her up and tell her I love her.

I have been explaining that it's 'because', not 'despite', but she still insists on picking the cat up every time she walks on the house.
posted by empath at 11:05 AM on November 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


I knew a lady whose father would pull out a paper lunch sack and say aloud "If I had a kitty I'd put it in a sack!" Whereupon the family cat would come from any corner of the house at full speed and run up his leg and into the paper sack.

This probably qualifies as outlier behavior, mind you, but I think 'normal' is mostly defined as what our biases will accept.
posted by Mooski at 11:06 AM on November 27, 2013 [69 favorites]


The only things cats truely love are plastic bags.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:06 AM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


If I may make a recommendation COBRA! -- have you tried a fountain water dish?

We did, and he wasn't into it. It's all sinks and condensation (that's his other freaky vice, licking condensation off of windows or toilet tanks or the glass you happen to be drinking a cold drink out of) for him.

Oh wait, I'm sorry- it's sinks, condensation, and trying to sneak drinks out of a particular glass of ours that he's figured out he can fit his head in.
posted by COBRA! at 11:06 AM on November 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, bean juice?
posted by nathancaswell at 11:07 AM on November 27, 2013


Oh wait, I'm sorry- it's sinks, condensation, and trying to sneak drinks out of a particular glass of ours that he's figured out he can fit his head in.

Oh, my cats don't really care if they can fit their head in the glass. They will try anyhow.
posted by jeather at 11:09 AM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


The only things cats truely love are plastic bags.

Until they get their head caught in the handle. And then it is A SCARY NOISY MONSTER THAT I CAN'T GET AWAY FROM AAAH IT KEEPS UP NO MATTER HOW FAST I RUN OR HOW HIGH I JUMP
posted by jason_steakums at 11:09 AM on November 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


Cat The Cat would come when called, if you where outside that meant she'd follow you around for a while cause she didn't like walking around the woods by herself. When she wanted to go home she's start tapping your leg and making little distress noises, which meant it was now time to pick her up and carry her back.

Maine Coons are awesome.
posted by The Whelk at 11:09 AM on November 27, 2013 [21 favorites]


Ah, see, mine sticks his god-damned paw INTO the glass, and then licks that.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 11:10 AM on November 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


I have a cat call that always works. It's the broken-off stub of a plastic recorder, left over from my kids' grammar school days. The mouthpiece end plus about an inch of beige plastic pipe is all that's there. It is now a VERY loud, shrill whistle that carries a good distance. Blowing it out the back door means THERE IS FRESH FOOD. It brings both of my current two critters running in such a gotta-get-home panic that I'm actually nervous about blowing it when they might be across the street because they will come back across to the home side running flat out without the least sign of checking for cars.
posted by jfuller at 11:12 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


my cat applied for multiple bank cards in my name and destroyed my credit, but he has SUCH a fluffy tummy, who is the best cat, YOU are
posted by theodolite at 11:13 AM on November 27, 2013 [37 favorites]




Actually wait the one call that worked even better than " cat! Caaaaaaaat!?" was "Mousey!" cause it meant I had released the stuffed catnip mouse toy from its hiding place and thus, was willing to throw it and move it around in the BEST GAME EVER.
posted by The Whelk at 11:16 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, I'm perfectly happy to let him drink from the toilet, though my boyfriend makes a face.
posted by foxfirefey at 11:17 AM on November 27, 2013


People call to their cats? Whatever for? My cat probably wouldn't come if I called her, and in fact I almost never use her name. I call her monster or assorted other nicknames on the scale of rude to downright disgusting when conversing with her. She hangs out when she feels like it which is mostly fine by me, except when she sees me working on the keyboard and feels the need to fuck up whatever I'm working on.
posted by evilDoug at 11:18 AM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am so very glad my keyboard has an off switch.
posted by evilDoug at 11:23 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


This explains a lot about Fiona T. Cattington and her relationship with the slkinsey family. On the other hand, she is continually frustrated by our complete ineptitude in speaking Meowish when she is trying to communicate something important, such as her desire that I vacate the bathroom forthwith so she can lick up the bathtub water while it's still warm without being judged.
posted by slkinsey at 11:25 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've had 5 cats throughout my near 40 years, and all of them have come when called. As to "why would you call a cat", it's practical when you let them outside (I have an enclosed patio) and are too lazy to go out and chase them to put them back inside when it's time to go to work.

Miss Pitchounette has been my funniest cat when called – she'll "prrrroOOOOOOOWWW!" while rushing inside and then stop on a dime by my nearest foot, then "prrrow!" as if to say "I have come!" and head-butt my calf. Other cats pretty much just saunter inside with a "yeah yeah I know my name, human" demeanor.
posted by fraula at 11:26 AM on November 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


*begins work on future viral video titled "Cat Don't Give a Shit."*
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:26 AM on November 27, 2013


However, it's unlikely that this will dismay cat owners

If you are easily dismayed, you do not host cats. That's just common sense.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:35 AM on November 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


Around our place, voice calls aren't very effective at all, but rattling the treat bag elicits the afore-mentioned 200% repsonse rate. In fact, we can't experientially verify if the cats enter the room or simply access space in the kitchen by quantum tunneling.
posted by bonehead at 11:36 AM on November 27, 2013 [13 favorites]


Also, did anone else notice the sidebarred story "So you thought you had a really grim job? Watch what happened with this whale dissection (video)?" Have you ever seen a link you were less inclined to click?
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:36 AM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Apparently we need to fund more cat behavior research since n=20 isn't good enough for some people. Hmmm, maybe a Kickstarter
posted by exogenous at 11:39 AM on November 27, 2013


Oh, my cats don't really care if they can fit their head in the glass. They will try anyhow.

One of the times in which I came the closest to dying in a really undignified manner was many years ago in Spain during semana santa when a group of incredibly high friends and I watched, with great hilarity and eventual deep concern, a small feral kitteh across the street atop a closed-for-the-holidays construction site with its head stuck inside a milk jug. It was bonking around amusingly for about 10 minutes before we realized that it was not, in fact, doing it specifically to be hilarious, and the evening culminated in half a dozen very very very high people clambering about in the dark on very rickety scaffolding and to this day I am not sure how we didn't all die of stabby rebar chest wounds.

anyway the cat heard us coming, got scared, whipped its head around in a panic allowing the milk jug to fly off, and ran off into the night leaving us stranded and confused for about 90 minutes, unsure of how to get back down.

also i got my hand stuck in the milk jug while attempting to demonstrate how easily the cat should have been able to get its head out of the milk jug

posted by elizardbits at 11:39 AM on November 27, 2013 [98 favorites]


One of my cat's names is always either preceded by "dammit" and/or followed with "you little shit." I'm really not surprised he doesn't come when I call.
posted by Foosnark at 11:42 AM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nosy will absolutely come when called unless he's deliberately snubbing me for leaving the house, pissed at me for moving the delicious painting out of his reach, or required at the vet.

Of course, this is the same cat who recently learned to play doctor. My boyfriend has to have eyedrops four times a day to clear an infection, and Nosy will straight up yell at me if he doesn't get an eyedropper boop on the nose after papa gets his meds.

Nobody can explain cats.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:44 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Cats don't like still water, and they don't like water near their food. Try and buy a little kitty fountain and keep it away from food dishes.

This (like everything else you can say about cats) is true of some cats but not all. We have two cats; one loves the fountain and won't drink from the regular bowl, the other ignores the fountain and drinks only from the bowl. Neither cares whether it's close to the food. (I once read that cats don't like their water near the food and passed this on to my wife, who pointed out that the cats had just pushed the water bowl nearer the food dish. THUS I REFUTE THEE!)

Also, of our two cats, one knows his name but does not come when called, the other gives no sign of knowing her name (but tends to keep her own counsel anyway, so who knows?).
posted by languagehat at 11:46 AM on November 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


But can your cat ignore... An outstretched finger that could be touched with its nose?


No cat can resist this.


I SUMMON THEE FOR BOOPS
posted by louche mustachio at 11:56 AM on November 27, 2013 [22 favorites]


Why do cats do anything? It's a mystery no one will ever know. Like staring into infinity.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:58 AM on November 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Cats also recognize the particular cadence of their owner's* footsteps.

When I come home, Pie, my cat, comes running to the door, and then runs to the nearest rug, flops over on her side, and writhes around in the cutest way possible, covering her face with her paws and peeking out from under them, and purrs. Norma could give a shit.

When Mr. Mustachio comes home, Norma starts mewing and trots out to greet him. Unless she's dead asleep and doesn't realize he's home until he's right next to her, which results in her mouth going before she wakes up .. "Meeh? Meeh?" Meeh?" while she still has her eyes closed.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:02 PM on November 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


I've been told that our orange cat Oscar knows the sound of my motorcycle, and when he hears me pull up goes to wait by the door. He does not do this for other bikes that sometimes pull up in the street, just mine.
posted by Wulfhere at 12:08 PM on November 27, 2013


This study was done with recorded voices. Cats know better.
posted by girlhacker at 12:10 PM on November 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


So, cats are dicks. What a revelation.
posted by sharpener at 12:13 PM on November 27, 2013


When my old man cat, Fizgig, first started having to get pills to make him feel better, I would follow the pills with wet cat food. Because the indignity of having a pill shoved down his throat needed soothing with wet cat food. So every night, I'd pick up the pills, shake the bottle, and call for him. He'd get a pill, then some wet cat food. Young boy cat, Buckley, who didn't need pills, would also get wet cat food because it's cruel and unusual kitty torture to give one cat wet food and not the other.

Eventually, Fiz would come running to any shaking of a pill bottle, but would never come to his name. Buckley, on the other hand, would not only answer the shaking pill bottle but also come running like his tail was on fire if I said the word, "Fizgig."

It's been 4 years since the old man passed on. Buckley doesn't get pills, but he still gets his wet cat food at night. And he still comes running when you shake a pill bottle or say "Fizgig".

He's never once answered to "Buckley", though.
posted by teleri025 at 12:17 PM on November 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


My cats always came to me whenever they goddamned well pleased, whether I'd called them or not.
posted by Pudhoho at 12:18 PM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cats need reasons to do things - there's no genetic obedience that would make them respond just because they ought to. When they have reasons, they're pretty good at responding with a dizzying degree of speed and precision.

Unless it's dark and they've recently been fed (and hence they're all fast asleep), at least one cat will always greet me at the door when I come home, just for pets and affection. If it's been a long time since they've been fed, every cat in the house is at the front door - and I have never caught one just sauntering up, in spite of the short time they have to respond.

I'm sure that if my cats and I were in a world where we needed to find each other in a hurry, we'd get good at it. But since they're rarely out of plain sight in one of a series of open, smallish apartments, what's the point?
posted by wotsac at 12:20 PM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Like staring into infinity.
posted by Artw at 12:37 PM on November 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


So, cats are dicks. What a revelation.

I'm sure the cat that was mean to you is now very sorry.
posted by elizardbits at 12:39 PM on November 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


That's not true at ALL. Cosgrove knows her name, don't you Cosgrove? Cosgrove, come on, quit it, people are watching. Come on Cosgrove. COSGROVE DON'T RUN AWAY.

Little Kiwi comes when I call her by her nickname, "who wants treats" but only when I'm in the kitchen.

My boyfriend thinks that my cats get up on my lap when I ask them to, and that's true, but I only ask them to when I know they're already giving it serious consideration.
posted by janey47 at 12:40 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Naming cats is a waste of time.

Every cat I've ever owned came (or not) to tan annoying, high-pitched, "Kitty, kitty, kitty!"
posted by BlueHorse at 12:47 PM on November 27, 2013


A proper study that sets out to detect cats giving a shit would really need one of those huge underground neutrino detector things.

I have a remarkably simple device sitting on the floor in my house *right now* that detects with nearly 100% accuracy the exact number of shits my cat gives.
posted by Random Person at 12:54 PM on November 27, 2013 [13 favorites]




One of my cats has recently developed an affection for socks, sniffing them out and bringing them downstairs to us as presents.

Where's the study on that?
posted by item at 1:11 PM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love how cat threads are always just a collection of people bitching about their cats. And I especially love that for about every one of these posts I'm all MINE TOO DAMMIT.
posted by bibbit at 1:13 PM on November 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


My cat will come long distances if he hears the sound of a knife on a steel, because this probably means I am cutting up meat and there might be a scraplet for a good cat who can rear up on his hind legs.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:16 PM on November 27, 2013


My Fergus ALWAYS showed up when I called him. Even if I was angry with him, and my tone of voice showed it, he would still walk over to me, although he would be muttering and looking resentful all the way. He was a good bad cat.
posted by maudlin at 1:19 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Housemate cat always comes when called by name. Even out of a sound sleep. She also waits for her owner by the front door, head poked through the curtains, from about 5pm onwards. Since roommate has an irregular schedule, the cat also responds to the sound of the owner's car or motorcycle engine - will bolt to front door window from sound sleep or eating favorite treat. Howling until roommate comes in. If roommate sits in the car for a while (NPR story or texting), the cat will dash out the back of the house cat flap, run around the house, squeeze through the chainlink fence and a very prickly holly bush, and jump onto the hood of the car, yelling for roommate to pet her now now now.
Cat has an automatic feeder, so is dependent on no human directly for meals.
Cat just wants MOM NOW. Will respond to any person who calls cat by name unless being touched by mom.
Neoteny plus intermittent reward is an amazing thing.
posted by Dreidl at 1:33 PM on November 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm sure the cat that was mean to you is now very sorry.

You are erroneously reading personal opinion into my statement. Cats are dicks AND I LOVE THAT.
posted by sharpener at 1:38 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


My orange cat will wait by the window for me to come home. I always see two ears and eyes poking above the window when I'm walking up to the house, and he will happily trill constantly when I'm around. I don't know if he'll come when I call him because he is always in the same room as me, unless he's eating or using the litter box. The grey cat? He's known me long enough that there's no real benefit to showing up when I call his name. I'm OK with this.
posted by TrialByMedia at 1:47 PM on November 27, 2013


Sammy Katz not only comes when called, but also tears ass across the apartment if my husband and I start snuggling on the couch or in bed together. Maybe it's just because we're deliciously warm, but he seems to present himself for snuggles, and hates to be left out. He is incredibly people oriented, and I have also taught him how to hi-five.

I love my kitty.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:50 PM on November 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


We have one cat that comes when his name is called because there's no time that isn't time for lovin', one cat that probably would come if we didn't have around thirty nicknames for her in active rotation, one cat that just isn't smart enough, and one (most amusingly) who knows her name and will merely tilt her ear disinterestedly in your direction while looking away from you. She is truly a cat's cat.
posted by invitapriore at 1:52 PM on November 27, 2013


I like cats.
posted by Caskeum at 2:05 PM on November 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Some friends have done casual experiments seeing what the cats react to:

1) Teach cats to come when specific people say "Who's a hungry kitty?"
- Cats show up, eat

2) Have a visitor say "Who's a hungry kitty?"
- No reaction

3) I suggest to my friends, have you tried "Booze and Conway Twitty?"

4) They say it the same way they say the original phrase.
- After a presumably brief period of puzzlement and confusion, their cats start showing up when either is said. There's probably a few steps missing here, but they don't seem to react to words exactly.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:18 PM on November 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


> Eventually, Fiz would come running to any shaking of a pill bottle, but would never come to
> his name. Buckley, on the other hand, would not only answer the shaking pill bottle but also
> come running like his tail was on fire if I said the word, "Fizgig."

cats vs. Pavlov, Pavlov wins.
posted by jfuller at 2:20 PM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


BECAUSE HE'S A GOOD KITTY YES HE IS A GOOD KITTY WHO WANTS A BELLY RUB OH YOU GOOD KITTY

My experience has been the belly is a "fuck you, allow me to show you my claws" zone...you people's anecdotes about belly rubs are met with disbelief by this researcher.
posted by maxwelton at 2:21 PM on November 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


There are many fine gradations between PLEASE RUB MY BELLY and So that's what the inside of my hands looks like. Suffice that while you can give many cats a belly rub and have them enjoy it, one should never attempt it on a strange cat unless one is fond of bloodshed.
posted by wotsac at 2:37 PM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's not a scientific study; that's a large-scale collection of anecdotes.

You surely know better than making this undergraduate criticism without mentioning the effect size or methodology. 20 subjects is plenty large enough for many different kinds of studies. If you are going to play then at least bring the best you got.
posted by srboisvert at 2:42 PM on November 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Cats are the Libertarians of the domesticated animal world: they love their offspring (sometimes), but everything else is quid pro quo.
posted by jamjam at 2:50 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


If we chose names for cats by what they respond to, Abbie would have been called Opening Can or Someone Brought Home Pizza.
posted by Spatch at 2:58 PM on November 27, 2013


Finnegan loves belly rubs. LOVES them. Molly's floofy belly is usually offered up as a trap. On rare occasions she'll allow a quick belly-scritch before showing just how sharp her claws are.

Finn is also more likely to come when called... not VERY likely, but more likely than Miss Molly Sassypants, who does not give a fuck.
posted by sarcasticah at 3:26 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


However, it's unlikely that this will dismay cat owners (or indeed, be of any surprise) and the paper notes that although “dogs are perceived by their owners as being more affectionate than cats […] dog owners and cat owners do not differ significantly in their reported attachment level to their pets”

What people report and what people do are two different things. People are less likely to take adequate care of their cats than they are their dogs. Dogs are given more and better medical maintainence, and pet cats are more likely to be abandoned or taken to an animal shelter (despite the fact that they are smaller and less expensive to own).

So that feline aloofness is not without consequence in how people respond to cats.
posted by dgaicun at 4:32 PM on November 27, 2013


Milo does not need to be called to his meals. He is outside the bedroom at 6 am chattering and yipping. "Good lord, woman, it's 6 am and I have a half a dish of last night's dinner and I can't eat THAT! Let's go, lady, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon!"
He WILL respond, however, if after dinner you take the treat bag out if the pantry and ask him in the most lunatic way "do you want a party in your mouth?"
He is also a water cat, who likes it wait outside the shower for you so he can run in and lap at the dirty water you leave behind.
Cats, right?
posted by Biblio at 4:42 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cats are the Libertarians of the domesticated animal world

Some are. But then there are cats like my Estrella. I'd come home after a long day of growing turnips at the cubicle farm, open up a can of wet food and feed the cat. Almost daily, the cat would jump on my lap and crawl on my chest for her belly rub before jumping down to eat.

This cat absolutely adored her cans of tuna. Was well beyond favorite food territory and more like an obsession. She'd always meow viciously while the can was being opened and scooped out into a bowl. And then she'd walk right by the food to jump on me for a long and extended cuddle. I've never had an animal before, cat or dog, who would pass up a favorite treat for affection, especially when such affection was just as easy to get after eating as it was before.

I really loved that cat. She was mean and cruel to everyone else but she seemed very fond of me.
posted by honestcoyote at 4:43 PM on November 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


I have a remarkably simple device sitting on the floor in my house *right now* that detects with nearly 100% accuracy the exact number of shits my cat gives.

Your dog?
posted by nathancaswell at 4:52 PM on November 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


YOU GUYS CAUSE HE EATS THE POOPS
posted by nathancaswell at 4:53 PM on November 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: "But can your cat ignore... An outstretched finger that could be touched with its nose?

No, that must be smelled and sometimes licked.
"

Or in the case of Monstruo, it must be savaged, bitten and clawed. He's a good cat, I promise, you just have to have a high tolerance for pain.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:19 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]



Two of my cats will regularly come when I call them. It's common enough that if they don't come I get concerned. Then I get mad when I find them snoozing somewhere.
If I really want all three to come I just start to sing. Don't even have to say any words. I can just do a really bad disney princess calling the birds imitation 'ah aha oh oh ah ah' and they patter in to see whats up.
Right now I'm at my parents house with my cats and their three cats. I tried the singing thing and lo and behold I soon had six cats jumping up on the bed. They probably thought I was insane when I stopped singing because I was laughing so hard. I lurv kitties.
posted by Jalliah at 8:22 PM on November 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Okay I just tried it again, right now. One by one they came into the room. lmao.
posted by Jalliah at 8:24 PM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mr. J. (yes, it's a Joker/Harley reference due to a pound employee both having no idea how to spell Gibberish and having TERRIBLY DOCTORISH handwriting coupled with a semi-reformed comic/cartoon geek potential owner being concerned with keeping the J sound in the name) will not only meet me at the door, but will linger right by the door when I step out for a smoke, AND will acknowledge/answer to (by no means a complete list), Mr. J, stinker, troublemaker, little buddy, and Kapitan Von Stinkypants.
posted by Samizdata at 8:37 PM on November 27, 2013


Lots of personality going on there, Samizdata.
posted by wotsac at 9:34 PM on November 27, 2013


Muki comes when I call her name, except for when she knows I'm making sure she's in the house before I leave and lock up. Then I have to search the dozen or so known spots. Oh, she can hear me.

All meals are called "dinner" and she has, in the five years she's been with me, learned a mimic sound* to verify (sounds like "eh-er"). I haven't taxed her mind too much teaching her a limited vocabulary - she knows "Muki", "dinner", "outside", "pats", "ball", "brush", and "where's my kitty?", which is only used for bedtime.

* Muki doesn't do a lot of "meow" type sounds; she trills and chirps and squeaks and mews. Since this is a cat-thread, I'll just put my Little Miss Fluffy Pants' picture here.
posted by _paegan_ at 10:03 PM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


[One comment removed. Troll people are deleted. Stop it.]
posted by taz (staff) at 10:27 PM on November 27, 2013


An outstretched finger that could be touched with its nose?

Why do they always swing their ears back when they do that as well? Are they closing down the hearing sense in order to put maximum power into the sniff centre?
posted by colie at 11:50 PM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, catses. Schiller would come when called, it always meant scritchinz. We're pretty sure Sydney was too dumb to figure out his name. Lulu came most of the time - she would demand to go outside with the dogs, but wouldn't come in unless I stuck my head out the door and hollered. "Luuuuuuuluuuuuuuuuuuu!"... and beautiful Lulu, a vain doll-faced Persian, would bound across the yard, leap up to pose atop the woodpile, then STRUT to the door.

We only have Bailey now. At 14, he not only doesn't come when you call him, he ostentatiously ignores you. Forcing the issue is met with the feline equivalent of "You have GOT to be fucking KIDDING."

I love my grouchy old cat. So do my dogs, even though he treats them with disdain. Bailey just does not tolerate derp.
posted by MissySedai at 12:25 AM on November 28, 2013


a friend gave me this laser tower thing for the cats. it is the BEST CAT THING EVAARRRR. it spins around and they chase the red dot. and it has a timer so i can turn it in and it will turn itself off.

Other Kitty lurrvvvssss the tower. she will come up to me and meowmeowmewow and run towards it. sometimes i like to torture her and be all like what do you want? what is it lassie? do you need food? and go check her food dish.

but she will keep running to the tower and making little demanding mew noises and rubbing her face in the tower until i turn it on. then Hidey Cat comes out of hiding and they have laser tower time.

i keep trying to get a video of Other Kitty doing the whole lassie thing. it's pretty funny.

she will also meow in a similar way if she feels it's time for bed for me. she'll keep meowing and walking toward the bedroom and coming back and meowing more and walking back. sometimes i placate her and go lay on the bed for a sec. she'll get all happy and trill and jump on the bed, but she just lays at the foot of the bed, she's not even trying to snuggle, she's just being bossy.

cats are awesome.
posted by sio42 at 7:11 AM on November 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Our Maine Coon Sam certainly knew his name, but more oddly, if he had wandered out onto the front porch as we were leaving the house, he would respond to the command "Ungawa!" by sauntering back into the house. Perhaps he learned it from the Corgi, his best friend.
posted by ancientgower at 9:37 AM on November 28, 2013


IIRC Maine Coons were the true masters of the French aristocracy and, seeing the writing on the wall, abandoned their humans to take the rap during the revolution and emigrated to America.
posted by Artw at 9:42 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


How is it possible that Greg Nog has not posted in here yet?
posted by Aizkolari at 6:07 PM on November 28, 2013


Is he okay? Could the cats... Could they be eating his eyeballs? Like, right now? Concerned.
posted by Artw at 6:54 PM on November 28, 2013


he ate all the things and then fell down presumably
posted by elizardbits at 8:31 PM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


he is training his unholy army of the night

go forth my pretties, kill, kill!
posted by The Whelk at 9:13 PM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I realized my cats probably don't recognize their names, only the intonation I use when I call them. Truffle repeatedly comes when I call for Comet, and vice versa. They don't really register my voice when I'm not there in person though. On a recent business trip, I noticed when checking the webcam that the kitten was lounging on the kitchen table, which he is never allowed on and routinely chased off of. My webcam has a microphone so I kept yelling "Truffle, off!!" into it. He looked vaguely towards the cam but didn't move a muscle. When I'm at home and do the same thing, he can't run fast enough.

When I was still a one-cat household, once I also Facetimed with my cat while away for a long trip to Taiwan, like a crazy person. The friend who was watching him said he just kept walking circles around the iPad, meowing in confusion.
posted by raw sugar at 6:27 PM on November 29, 2013


KITTIES! DO NOT EAT EYES IF BREATHING! OK, KITTIES?
posted by Artw at 6:37 PM on November 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


colie: An outstretched finger that could be touched with its nose?

Why do they always swing their ears back when they do that as well? Are they closing down the hearing sense in order to put maximum power into the sniff centre?


You may have been joking, but you're not far off. I think that their Flehmen response has been engaged:

a behaviour whereby an animal curls back its upper lips exposing its front teeth, inhales with the nostrils usually closed and then often holds this position for several seconds... The behaviour facilitates the transfer of pheromones and other scents into the vomeronasal organ located above the roof of the mouth via a duct which exits just behind the front teeth of the animal.

Look at the picture of the tiger flehmening. It's a big kitty!
posted by dhens at 9:52 PM on November 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


IMPORTANT KITTY UPDATE: KITTIES ARE LOVE
posted by Artw at 6:30 PM on November 30, 2013


Thank you Artw - the one middle row right looks almost like one I dug out from under a friend's porch - really wish I could have kept him, he seemed to immediately grasp the idea that he had become a house cat, and that people were fine and trustworthy. Somebody got a fine cat when his foster finally brought him back to the shelter... A year later.
posted by wotsac at 8:24 PM on December 2, 2013


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