What's the most creepily intelligent thing your pet has ever done?
July 3, 2018 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Reddit, I know, right? But wait! The most upvoted story--and my favorite--so far: "My cat, Tuffy stole a piece of bread off of the stove and put it in the floor next to the cabinet. She then stared at it intensely, and motionlessly for an hour. We thought that was creepy. Then a mouse came out from behind the cabinet to get the bread and she pounced it! She was using the bread as motherfucking bait! This is the same cat who routinely burns her tongue licking lightbulbs, hisses at them, and keeps licking."

And my favorite comment on that story:

my name is Cat,
an wen is dark,
or wen i sit
and see the spark
that lytes the space
i lyke to crouch -
i leen in close.
i lik the ouch.
posted by QuakerMel (127 comments total) 115 users marked this as a favorite
cat tongue is lit
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:04 AM on July 3, 2018 [5 favorites]

I'm afraid that cat is dangerously low on vitamin light bulb.
posted by NoMich at 10:06 AM on July 3, 2018 [25 favorites]

Where else would you like this cat to get its ideas?
posted by stevis23 at 10:14 AM on July 3, 2018 [20 favorites]

Our cat pulls down bath towels off the rail in order to have a nice soft bed to lie on.
posted by heatherlogan at 10:14 AM on July 3, 2018 [10 favorites]

Cat #1 learned how to hang from various doorknobs and latches open them, primarily to let himself into the bathroom when you were busy in there and he wanted to help.

Cat #2 learned he could stand at a door and meow, and Cat #1 would come open the door for him to get Cat #2 to shut up.

I think Cat #2 may have been smarter.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:18 AM on July 3, 2018 [99 favorites]

I moved into a new place two years ago that has two sliding glass patio doors. One morning after I'd been there for a few days, I noticed that both of the screen doors were open by about 6-8". It was odd, because I'm pretty compulsive about things like that, but I chalked it up to having left the screens slightly ajar. It kept happening, which made me wonder if someone was trying to get in at night. I made sure to lock the doors and I put wooden dowels in the tracks of the sliding doors. Every few days, the screen doors would be partially open in the morning.

It was baffling and scary until this one day when the weather had cooled off and I had the patio doors open. Walked into my spare bedroom, and there's the neighbor's cat, curled up in a chair, with my two cats staring at him like "Dude, what the hell?"

I keep the screen doors tied shut now when I have the patio doors open. Even still, once or twice a week, I'll get up in the morning to find that he tried to get in in the middle of the night.

Still creeps me out.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:21 AM on July 3, 2018 [16 favorites]

One time the power was out in the winter and it was about 50 degrees in our house, which is an not acceptable cat temperature. Our cat would meow frantically at us then run and paw at the thermostat, which she could reach from the stairs. She was clearly very disappointed her stupid humans couldn't manage to turn on the heat even when she was telling us exactly what we had to do!
posted by carolr at 10:22 AM on July 3, 2018 [42 favorites]

1 - Saw a horse trying to reach an itch on his back with his teeth, turning himself round like a banana and still couldn't reach it. Then he gave up, headed over to the trees nearby, picked up a stick in his mouth and scratched the itch with the stick. (This is not my horse but I'm claiming this story anyway because nobody believed me until someone else saw him do it again.)

2 - Also we had a dog who learned how to sound the car horn to summon you back if she felt you'd left her in the car too long. You'd be chatting to someone else and hear HOOONNNNNKKKKK - "oh that's the dog, got to go."

3 - another dog: was trying to reach a plate with some sausages on it, but was too short (Cairn terrier). Trotted out of the room, came back with the dog from previous story right behind her, larger dog went straight to the sausages, pulled them down, and both dogs shared them. This Cairn terrier was possibly the stupidest dog in existence (used to chase planes, jumping up and snapping at the air) so how on earth she managed to communicate this plan is beyond me.
posted by Catseye at 10:23 AM on July 3, 2018 [58 favorites]

So this isn't a pet, but I swear it's true. No one ever believes me. When I was in college, I was standing at a bus stop outside the student union. There was a trash can at the bus stop, and one of my campus's omnipresent squirrels was sitting on the top rim, holding a French fry. It took a bite, and then got a pensive look on its face. It jumped down into the trash can, and seconds later, it re-emerged, with ketchup on the end of the French fry, which it then ate happily.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:25 AM on July 3, 2018 [86 favorites]

One of my dogs once knocked something over in the living room and then when I came in from the kitchen to investigate, he darted between my legs and around the corner into the kitchen to grab the sandwich I had been making and ate it in like 1 bite.

I was so impressed it was impossible to be mad.
posted by Automocar at 10:26 AM on July 3, 2018 [30 favorites]

One time my dog jumped out of bed in the middle of the night, ran into the room where his litterbox is, and barfed right directly in his litterbox. I was so proud.

Also my dog can use a litterbox.
posted by phunniemee at 10:30 AM on July 3, 2018 [71 favorites]

Our grey tabby Manx was the smartest cat. She played fetch and loved popcorn. My sister and I were playing outside in the front yard and our mother came in the back door. Mom asked the cat where we were and the cat walked her over to a front yard facing window and jumped up on the sill.
posted by soelo at 10:35 AM on July 3, 2018 [10 favorites]

So I adopted Penelope, a hedgehog that had been kept in a tiny tiny cage her whole life. On the first evening with her I took her to her new hedgehog sized wheel, which she enthusiastically ran on. When I went to bed she went back to the old cage, I planned to move her into a new one in a few days. I left the wheel nearby, but out of sight.

Next morning no hedgehog in the cage, but there was a suspicious lump under the throw rug next to the wheel. According to the old owner she had never escaped from her cage the entire time she’d lived in her house with several dogs and cats, but the first night in mine knowing there was a wheel was enough for her to suddenly jail break herself out to go play. I moved her into her new huge cage sooner then planned, she was an excellent little hedgehog who never escaped an enclosure again.
posted by lepus at 10:39 AM on July 3, 2018 [35 favorites]

I had a beloved goldfish, Olga, who when I entered the room would swim up to the side of the bowl closest to wherever I was, and wait for me to pat her on the head before she would swim away to do whatever goldfish things she wanted. Every time. No misses.

When she passed away at age eight, she never was replaced. How could I?
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:47 AM on July 3, 2018 [47 favorites]

We used to have two pugs. The older one was super smart, and the younger one not so much. When they went to my dad's to stay, they were allowed on the couch. The younger one would be laying in the spot next to my dad, which is where the older one likes to be.

So, the older dog would look around for a squeaky toy, and pick it up and squeak it until the younger dog came down into the floor to grab it from him. Then, while she was playing with it, he would hop up onto the couch next to my dad. He did this multiple times, and she fell for it every time.
posted by needlegrrl at 10:48 AM on July 3, 2018 [13 favorites]

My serial killer barn cat was hanging out in the barn, begging for attention from one of my friends, who didn't want to pick him up. She told the cat to go make himself useful and kill one of the many chipmunks that have been running around recently.

So the cat left the barn, and returned two minutes later carrying a dead chipmunk.

He kills on contract now.
posted by allegedly at 10:50 AM on July 3, 2018 [70 favorites]

Mine are incredibly smart. They get me to go buy them healthy food, add expensive supplements, serve it along with fresh water, administer various drugs as recommended by their high-priced health care professional, purchase toys and baskets, groom them multiple times daily, open doors as required, and generally cater to their every whim.

Been going on close to two decades now. Quite the grift.
posted by senor biggles at 10:50 AM on July 3, 2018 [35 favorites]

My cat Bizkit worked out the sequence of events that goes: I press switch on living room wall > 'clonk' noise happens in walls > house gets warmer. As a result, in winter she has started leading me into the living room and yelling when she feels it's too chilly.

More than that, though, she seems to have decided that the switch controls the weather - so she'll do the same leading behaviour if it's raining hard, snowing or, as it has been lately, just way too hot. And she's wrong, but if I were a cat I'd probably make the same logical transition too!
posted by HypotheticalWoman at 10:51 AM on July 3, 2018 [69 favorites]

My old cat was diabetic and obsessed with bread and bread products. We ended up getting child locks on everything because he figured out how to open up the lower shelves and the fridge. He also figured out that shifting his weight from the front of the carrier to the back of the carrier made me more likely to drop the carrier, and would try to make his escape that way (getting him into the carrier in the first place involved putting the carrier on its side, putting him in a pillowcase, and a lot of betrayal).
posted by dinty_moore at 10:52 AM on July 3, 2018 [12 favorites]

If you've never seen a diabetic, geriatric cat running with a loaf of bread that is as large as he is, successfully dodging three adult humans trying to catch either him or the bread, it is a sight to behold.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:55 AM on July 3, 2018 [125 favorites]

Ajax was a big white cat who was an excellent mouser. He started hunting our mice as an older kitten, and what was a mouse problem (they would come out and look at us like "Are you gonna eat that?" during dinner) became a non-problem when he started catching them, killing them, and dropping them in the toilet bowl to find in the morning (sometimes just the heads.)

Anyway, we got him a tiny black kitten, Enkidu (who looked very fierce but was actually a soft little scaredy) and we came upon them working together in the kitchen: Ajax lead Enkidu to the side of the stove, then went to sit at the other side. The kitten was acting as a flusher to get the mousies out from behind the stove where Ajax had grown too big to go!

(I'm sorry I don't have pictures. In my defense, it was the late 90's.)
posted by blnkfrnk at 10:56 AM on July 3, 2018 [33 favorites]

Growing up, I once witnessed our cat lure a doberman pincer into an ambush. A neighbor had a very aggressive doberman who would regularly jump their fence and terrorize the neighborhood. It had become a real problem. At the time, we had a cat who was very much an outdoor cat and a fearless hunter (one neighbor swore they had once seen our cat dragging a rabbit behind her).

So one day I'm sitting in the living room, reading in front of a large picture window that had a giant evergreen in front of it, when I noticed a white streak rapidly approaching from across the street. Our cat had just leaped over the neighbor's fence and headed across the street directly towards me, followed closely by the neighbor's doberman, who was in hot pursuit. As soon as the cat got in under the branches of the tree she leaped up, hit the tree trunk with all four feet, flipped, and reversed mid-air, ninja style. By the time the doberman cleared the first branches it ran face-first into a cat shaped missile, who immediately turned that dog's nose into a pincushion. The dog basically screamed, turned (cropped) tail, and ran back for home.

The cat followed, chasing the dog all the way back over its fence.

That dog never came into our yard again.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:56 AM on July 3, 2018 [66 favorites]

My friends' dog tucks them in to bed at night. He follows them upstairs, lays down at the foot of their bed while they do their nighttime stuff, and lays there for a few minutes after they turn out the light. Then he goes downstairs and plays Tetris until dawn.
posted by entropone at 10:58 AM on July 3, 2018 [21 favorites]

We had two cats when I was a kid, and this illustrates the basic difference in their personalities: Vermont went outside and managed to catch and kill a bird, then brought it to the screen door, meowing to be let in. We did the usual--take it away and dispose of it, while praising the cat for being a mighty hunter.* A few days later Dakota, apparently feeling neglected, meowed at the screen door. We went over to see what she wanted and there she was, with a large piece of fried chicken in her mouth.

* Mid-1970s, before the research about cats and migratory birds emerged.
posted by telophase at 10:58 AM on July 3, 2018 [97 favorites]

When I was young we had a dog that stayed outside during the day and was let inside in the evenings when everyone was home. One day it was cold outside and she was sitting at the door shivering. Of course we let her inside.

It's hard to resist a shivering dog, and she learned that pretty quickly. When winter turned to summer and it got hot outside, she would still sit at the door shivering and looking miserable when she wanted inside. It would still work on us, even though we knew it was just an act.
posted by Quonab at 10:59 AM on July 3, 2018 [15 favorites]

When my now deceased boy cat figured out how to open the bottom dresser drawer and then somehow shut it behind him after he was ensconced in his new lair full of clean clothing (presumably for lurking purposes?), my girl cat would tattle by yelling at me and pawing at the dresser drawer.

He always looked put out when I got him out of there. his sister?/wife/life partner was more...smugly relieved.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:00 AM on July 3, 2018 [12 favorites]

One of my parents’ late cats, Suzy, was a rescued feral who moved in at the age of four, so she was unacquainted with mirrors. For several weeks, she was convinced that Cat in the Mirror was a good friend, so every morning began with her going over to make blinky eyes with Cat in the Mirror. Given that all the other cats figured out that mirrors = nothing there within a few days, so far, so (apparently) not very intelligent.

However. She then figured out what mirrors actually did. My mother regularly spotted Suzy using the mirror to stalk the other cats, faking them out because she apparently wasn’t looking in their direction at all. Whether or not Suzy understood that she was also seeing herself in the mirror wasn’t clear (that’s not something cats are supposed to be able to do).
posted by thomas j wise at 11:02 AM on July 3, 2018 [14 favorites]

My boyfriend's dearly-departed elderly lady dog, Penny, had a hard life before he adopted her (she apparently had a lot of puppies as part of a puppy mill or something). She had a lot of stuffed toys that were her "babies" (this was a bit sad but mostly it was pretty sweet -- she'd tote them around and tuck them in and such).

Penny loved me, certainly, but I think she also somewhat saw me as the "big sister" -- like, I was in charge but not as in charge as my boyfriend, if that makes sense.

I "adopted" one of my boyfriend's Uglydolls (Penny had a couple too, but this one was mine) but it stayed at his place. One day, my Uglydoll went missing, but my boyfriend had been moving stuff around and we didn't really think much of it, and then Penny died shortly after so the Uglydoll was forgotten about.

My boyfriend was cleaning and rearranging some stuff not that long ago and found my Uglydoll tucked nearly behind a dresser. Apparently Penny, seeing that I'd "abandoned" my Uglydoll, decided I was clearly no good at taking care of my babies and put him somewhere where he'd be safe.

She was a good dog. (I have "adopted" her Uglydolls -- we did give them a bath first though -- and I make sure I take good care of them.)
posted by darksong at 11:04 AM on July 3, 2018 [30 favorites]

Our dog Sophie was stone deaf and had total lizard brain when it came to food ( ie when you placed her bowl in front of her, she wouldn’t pause to look up or breathe until that bowl was empty. )Until that time I left the door to the closet where the food lived open. It occurred to me that she was more than five feet away from me, which did not normally happen. I walked into our kitchen to find her with the upper half of her body buried in the bag of kibble, walking backwards to drag it out. As I watched, she pulled her head out to see if the coast was clear, sedately chewing a mouth of food. Not seeing me off to the side, she proceeds to continue calmly dipping into the bag and oh so quietly noshing on a couple pieces of food at a time, until she was sated.
posted by jacy at 11:06 AM on July 3, 2018 [7 favorites]

I lived with a couple, who had a cat named Flash.

One day the guy was downstairs, and closed a door on his hand, causing him to pass out. Flash sprung into action and ran upstairs to the girlfriend and started mewing. She shooed him away. He went downstairs and back, and again she shooed him away. Coming back downstairs, the guy had made his way to the couch, and Flash jumped up and wrapped himself around the guy's head.

Flash was a good cat.
posted by sutt at 11:10 AM on July 3, 2018 [20 favorites]

My friend had a cat who knew how to extract maximum entertainment out of the mice it caught. It would play with the mouse until it collapsed from exhaustion, then dunk it in its water bowl to revive it, then repeat the process until the poor thing drowned.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 11:12 AM on July 3, 2018 [6 favorites]

My mu (properly named μ ) occasionally surfs the web
posted by cirhosis at 11:14 AM on July 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

Our dog is a standard herding mutt (probably some heeler/kelpie/something slightly shaggier) and is bright in a herding-dog way, nothing special. But I really appreciate that his reaction to the boy cats sneaking into the Imperial Residence to hassle my elderly girl-kitty is to run to me wherever I am, frantically whining and yelping, and follow me until I go break up the fight. (This is especially nice because his reaction to *dog* fights is to figure out who the weakest is and pile on gleefully.)
posted by restless_nomad at 11:14 AM on July 3, 2018 [6 favorites]

These stories are delightful!
My cat Mojo and I are very close and he is also incredibly smart.
His ultimate favorite game is fetch - which no cat toys will do the job... only the endless supply of things in the trash can. I have had to get all trash cans with lids on them, but that didn't stop him.
I was sitting watching a movie with a guy and Mojo jumps up on the couch and drops a used tampon right between us to play fetch with.
posted by hillabeans at 11:16 AM on July 3, 2018 [31 favorites]

Wonderdog came from a shelter and was a con artist. He loved to get loose and would find a stranger, act lost, afraid, and hungry, and olny later would conned stranger would find the tag with our number and call, but Wonderdog usually got lots of treats and love 1st. I once got a call from the police, who had found him and were at a nearby fast food place, feeding him a breakfast sandwich.

We lived on the 2nd floor with stairs to the front door. I watched him one time as my son went outside. He paid attention until he heard the click of the screen door latching, then went back to dozing. One time he didn't hear that click, and sidled quietly along the walls to the stairs and was out like a flash.
posted by theora55 at 11:17 AM on July 3, 2018 [11 favorites]

When I was visiting Iceland we stopped at a rest stop near a volcano where a dog was skulking around. We thought perhaps he was the friend of any one of several drivers we saw feed him, but each of them eventually left. Then he came over to us; we gave him some cheese and went inside to see if anyone knew where you were supposed to take an Icelandic stray.

"That dog lives HERE," said the woman manning the counter. "He's such an idiot."

The dog equivalent of Danny Ocean, living the good life, conning tourists out of treats all day long.
posted by praemunire at 11:21 AM on July 3, 2018 [14 favorites]

My cat Rika is definitely smarter than her brother, or at least she's more interested in trying to communicate with the hoo-mans.

She will 'fetch' a kitty wand toy from the cat toybox, and drag it clattering up the stairs to our bedroom door, where she will drop it and then paw and meow at the door, requesting playtime.

She will also hop up on the bathroom counter and insistently meow at the faucet while nudging my arm with her head, until I turn on the faucet a little bit and she can drink running water.

One of our cats - probably her - figured out that if the baby woke up, the adults woke up, so they started meowing at the baby's bedroom door at night, until they were immediately and permanently exiled to the kitchen + basement each day after 9 PM.

She will also be fed dinner by one person, and then go find the other and put on the World's Saddest Hungriest Orphan Kitten act. She has conned us out of two dinners more than a handful of times and now we ask each other if the cats have been fed or if Rika is full of lies.

But she has also had Epic Moments of Stupid, like poking her head through a paper bag's handle to try to get at some lovely shrimp stir-fry takeout, then becoming alarmed that the bag handle was around her neck and then taking off and running around the house with a little paper bag cape in a panic, bits of shrimp and rice flying behind her, until we were able to finally corner her and remove the bag.
posted by castlebravo at 11:25 AM on July 3, 2018 [15 favorites]

We had a cat who had spent most of her life as an outdoor cat, but very quickly took to being an indoor housecat when she got the opportunity. One thing she absolutely loved was being petted - and if you stopped before she was done, she would casually put her paw on your inner thigh, and oh so gently flex her claws out in a very clear message that no, petting time was not over.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:26 AM on July 3, 2018 [20 favorites]

I think Cat #2 may have been smarter.

Once again proving the old adage: "When you're good, you get all the work; when you're really good, you get out of the work."
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:28 AM on July 3, 2018 [6 favorites]

Everyone's a critic.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:31 AM on July 3, 2018 [8 favorites]

When I was a teen, our cat wouldn't just scratch on my window screen to wake me up but would hook his claws into it and lean way back until he dropped off the ledge and it made a loud drum like sound as it slapped against the glass.
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:43 AM on July 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

Our cat comforts Mom when she's down, and poops in Dad's shoes when it's his fault that Mom's down, even when we try really hard not to let the cat know what happened. We adopted the cat when she was eight, and we've always wondered about whether that was taught behavior.
posted by Etrigan at 11:49 AM on July 3, 2018 [17 favorites]

Used to have a dog that would open a sliding screen door, make a diversion on the floor, some times thrown up pile of grass, other times, just some sticks thrown against a wall, and then frantically search my brother's room for his MonChiChi monkey. Once she found it, the dog would race outside to hide it from my brother so she could chew on it later.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:50 AM on July 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

One of my dearly departed cats had also clearly figured out how to open our front door, but lacked the strength and/or opposable thumbs necessary to actually carry out the task. He and his sister were outdoor cats, and if they were outside when my wife and/or I came home they often somehow realized this and would pop out from beside a house on our street, run down the sidewalk to greet us and follow us the rest of the way home.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:51 AM on July 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

My dog is part terrier. In the wild she can catch anything she tries to catch. I adopted her as an adult and at the end of our first week she trotted over to me with two chipmunks in her mouth. She dropped them both at my feet, then picked one up and moved a few feet away and disemboweled it, then looked for me to do the same.

The other people in the dog park looked on in stunned horror.

She also runs up to anyone who has treats and wags her tail on one side (left to center to left to center). Then, she eats her treat, circles around the person and wags her tail on the opposite side (right to center to right to center), presumably so they'll think she's a different dog. If they fall for it, she'll circle them again and this time rotate her tail like a helicopter, becoming dog number 3. Dog four circles and sits, unwagging.

Her name, appropriately, is Shakedown.
posted by dobbs at 11:59 AM on July 3, 2018 [69 favorites]

The most intelligent thing my cat has ever done is pee in my socks.

Hear me out. So, this is Cindy. A while back she had a UTI, and she associated the litter with pain, and had started peeing on clothes that were left on the floor (she very considerately never peed on the floor directly, just the clothes!) instead of using the litter box. So we switched to using cut up clothes and rags instead of litter, and she happily used the litter box that way. We never got around to switching her back because I'm lazy, and washing the rags is (probably) less expensive and more environmentally friendly than cat litter, so why not? So basically, she pees in a plastic tub in the corner with clothes in it.

Now, I mentioned I'm lazy, right? I have a plastic tub that I throw clean socks in while they wait to be matched, which is usually like 2-3 weeks. At one point I pulled it out to the living room to fold them and then, you know, didn't. Which means... there's a plastic tub in the corner with clothes in it. And so when I finally went over to fold those socks, I discovered that she'd peed in it. And I honestly could not even be mad, because that's a perfectly accurate generalization. Of course she would think it's a second litter box. Clothes + plastic tub + corner = litter box. That's straight up scientific deduction right there.

By the way I still haven't matched those socks. I cleaned them (and the tub) and put them back in the tub and then just put one of her favorite blankets over the top of it, and it's now her favorite napping spot.
posted by brook horse at 12:08 PM on July 3, 2018 [13 favorites]

My dog knows that spray hair product is the last thing I do before I leave the bathroom when I'm getting ready to go somewhere. Usually, he follows me everywhere I go but when I'm getting ready, he will wait in my room until he hears that final cue, even if I go downstairs for several minutes before.

He also knows when my husband is wrapping up a work phone conference, based on language cues, and will start wagging his tail because it usually means a trip outside plus a treat.

My first cat, Abby, could open lever-handled doors and tried to do it with other door handles but clearly lacked the thumbs to make it work.
posted by cooker girl at 12:20 PM on July 3, 2018 [5 favorites]

Years ago my friend had a cat that would escape his house, go to the nearby apartment building and enter a 2nd (3rd?) story apartment, beat up the cats that lived there and eat their food. The owner figured out where he belonged so my friend would get periodic calls from a furious woman that his cat was sleeping in her bed.

I had one very smart dog who would get things off the counter, but when you ran in to see what the noise was she would be standing over her bowl pretending to eat. There was no food in the bowl and she would be watching guiltily out of the corner of her eye.
posted by bongo_x at 12:20 PM on July 3, 2018 [12 favorites]

I once had a pair of rabbits that would push an empty file box over to the side of their cage (which was on legs up off the floor) and jump up on it to see if there was food in their dish before they went in. Because they were always worried, particularly late in the evening, that they might get locked in their cage for the night if they went back in. So they'd use the box to see if it was worth the risk.
posted by lagomorphius at 12:25 PM on July 3, 2018 [21 favorites]

My parents had a sweet dog for 18 years. He was a wonderful dog but not the sharpest knife in the drawer. After he left this vale of tears, they eventually got a new dog. I was sitting in their kitchen not long after when I watched the new dog jump up and use her paws to turn the knob and open the back door. Yes, things were going to be different now.
posted by lagomorphius at 12:28 PM on July 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

Our cat Charlie is definitely the smartest of our three. He has figured out how light switches and doorknobs work, though we've never had levers to see if he could actually get them open without us. We used to keep treats in a tupperware container until he figured out that he could flip them over, stand on the lip of the lid, and then pull the tub off to get to the treats. We use automatic food dispensers, and, with our old ones, he figured out that if he pulled them forward and let them fall back a little bit of food would fall out. My husband has also hunted cockroaches with him.
posted by cui bono at 12:30 PM on July 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

My parents' cat can open locked doors. (Note that these are interior doors with a push-button lock.) She slips one tiny paw underneath the door and, with one paw on each side, violently jiggles the door until the bolt pops loose. She has also moved objects several times heavier than she is away from in front of a door in order to get into or out of a room. This cat also has an unrivaled attention span and has sat motionless for three hours waiting for a stinkbug to pop out of a tiny crack in a brick wall. Do not get between this cat and what she wants.

Now, my cat, on the other hand...my cat routinely falls off of every surface in my apartment.
posted by capricorn at 12:32 PM on July 3, 2018 [10 favorites]

One of my dogs once knocked something over in the living room and then when I came in from the kitchen to investigate, he darted between my legs and around the corner into the kitchen to grab the sandwich I had been making and ate it in like 1 bite.

My friends had a beagle who did this all the time. His first try would just be to take your food outright, but if he couldn't, he would create a distraction and hope that you left it unattended. It worked way, way more often than it should have. Shane was not really a Good Boy in any conventional sense of the words, but he was still a pretty great dog.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:38 PM on July 3, 2018 [8 favorites]

When my dog Luce is ready to turn in for the night, she'll go and stand at the bottom of the stairs to the second floor. She'll gaze towards the bedroom and sigh dramatically. One of us humans will then say "Good night, Lucy" and then she'll head on up to her bed.

I don't know if this is smart or just weird, but it's really endearing.

She also figured out how to use the water dispenser on the fridge door, which is why when we got a new one we specifically looked for one without the door water/ice dispenser.
posted by Elly Vortex at 12:41 PM on July 3, 2018 [16 favorites]

My wife's old cat used to steal milk.

Wife would pour milk, glass would spill, cat would be allowed to lick up a little of the milk before it was cleaned up.

It wasn't until the cat was old with slower reflexes that we realized she (the cat) was deliberately knocking over the glass and then running away to wait for her "invitation" to drink some. My wife just thought she (the wife) was clumsy, she never suspected it was the cat the entire time.

Her last cat (a huge, fluffy monster) had a yellow toy fish. He would hunt it down and "kill" it, then walk proudly through the house carrying it in his mouth and yowling loudly until we rewarded him with pets for killing the fish.

We adopted a new guy, small orange kitty who LOVED his hulking beast of a "brother". He watched very carefully. He found a yellow fish - not his cat-brother's fish, but similar - and began carrying it around looking for attention. He hasn't done it since our big fluffy guy died, but it was really odd to see him copying the behavior...
posted by caution live frogs at 12:56 PM on July 3, 2018 [6 favorites]

Yeah, my cat understands how mirrors work and regularly keeps an eye on me using the mirror. She'll sit facing the mirror with her back to me, then I'll realize she's watching me in the reflection. It still sort of creeps me out, both because animals aren't supposed to be able to do that and because it's so sneaky.

My small-town, childhood dog, Buffy, was a stray who one day just sort of adopted my dad as he walked across the university campus to his office. She followed him inside and to his desk. So he brought her home. I was eight.

The one period when we attempted to keep her confined to a fenced yard, she quickly proved it was futile. We gave up.

We lived in several different houses in town, but apparently she knew her way back to the university regardless of where we lived. My mother ran the tiny on-campus branch of the bank and one day a student walked in with Buffy alongside -- as Buffy walked behind the counter and greeted my mother, the student asked, "Oh, you know this dog?" Mom replied, "Yes, she's my dog!" The student went on to explain that Buffy would wait for her at the same time on Tuesdays and Thursdays when she left a class.

What we eventually found out was that Buffy had a seperate life she maintained with various students on and off-campus over the years. Only during my school hours, though -- she saw me off to school every morning and would be waiting in the afternoon.

One unhappy and lonely student who rented an apartment nearby became very attached to Buffy. When she dropped out of school, she came to our door and asked if she could take Buffy home with her. I was a teenager by this time, and while my parents very gently explained to this young woman that Buffy did have a family that loved her and cared for her, so no, I silently fumed with outrage that this stranger wanted to take my dog. I mean, it's like 38 years later and I still get irrationally upset thinking about it.

My sister was born a couple of years after we got Buffy and she pretty much didn't leave my sister's side for two years. I would have been jealous, but I adored my baby sister and it made me happy that Buffy was watching out for her. At about 18 months my sister had her first hip surgery, was in a body cast, and Buffy was particularly diligent. Here's one photo with me shortly after she adopted us and one nine years later with my sister.

I was 25 and my sister was 15 when we finally had to euthanize Buffy. She was approximately 19 or 20. She was part sheepdog and part poodle -- a black-and-grey, knee-high bundle of good-natured fur, doggy intelligence, and independence. My sister, mother, and I all agree that of all the dogs we've known over the years, Buffy was the best.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:14 PM on July 3, 2018 [31 favorites]

My Aussie Cattle Dog, Bindi, used to chase the frisbee with my wife and me. One day, after years of enjoying this pastime, she caught the frisbee and a startled look came over her face. She took the frisbee to halfway between my wife and me put it down, placed one paw on it, made pointed eye contact with both of us, and never ever would touch a frisbee again.

It was if with that catch she'd been enlightened to the fact that we were just running her back and forth and she declared herself free.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 1:15 PM on July 3, 2018 [20 favorites]

I can't think of any unusually-bright pet stories right now, but I do have an inverse one: my partner's previous cat was so dumb that after two months of frequent vet visits and ruling out every test that either of them could think of, he was eventually diagnosed with terminal stupidity.
posted by sciatrix at 1:32 PM on July 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

This is wonderful! I hate the reddit format, so I haven't clicked the link, but trusted that mefites would deliver, and you all do.
My own dog is like the embodiment of Dog from Footrot Flats, to a degree that people have stopped me on the street to ask me if I have ever noticed how much he resembles Dog. Yeah, I even wanted to call him Dog, but the family vetoed it. So absolutely no signs of intelligence there.
But when I was a kid, my pony was like a circus pony. For instance, he really liked going to shows and events, and for a while, he went there with a lorry driver he adored while I was on my bike (the driver picked up other ponies on the way, so it was faster for me to go that way). So I could impress both my friends at the stable and those at the event by letting him loose 500 metres from the lorry, even if it was out of sight, and he'd gallop over to his friend the driver. In general, he was more like a dog than a pony, which did lead to some problems. Like since he didn't really need to be fenced in, he'd often hang out in the garden with us. But if we were distracted, he'd eat all our lunch or tea, including the fish and meat dishes.
posted by mumimor at 1:46 PM on July 3, 2018 [12 favorites]

When I was a kid we had a stray poodle/mutt thing (I think now it would be some kind of labradoodle but I don’t think that was a thing in the early 90s yet?) who would totally stop whatever he was doing if someone pulled out a camera and would pose for pictures. He would go over and insert himself into pictures too. This was before digital cameras so they weren’t as ubiquitous as they are now so we figured his previous owner must have been a photographer.

This one is just an animal story but I’m glad there was a group of us there to witness it. So we’re all hanging out on the back porch and our cat is there too and he’s about a year old. He’s staring up at some birds sitting on the fence and they’re staring at him so my husband says “I’ll bet y’all a bag of birdseed you won’t fly down off that fence” and I swear as soon as he said that one of the birds totally flew down and touched the grass about a foot from my cat! My husband never did pay them their birdseed and we moved out a couple months later so I hope they didn’t hold our debt against the new people.

Oh and my cat also surfs the internet
posted by LizBoBiz at 1:50 PM on July 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

Napoleon the Manx started life as a semi-feral cat living in the swamp behind my grandmother's house. She was the only one he'd let near until the day she coaxed him into reach and handed him off to us—to yell in a box foe the two hour journey home. After a night hiding in the garage he morphed into the sweetest goofball cat you've ever met. He came running whenever you called, even if he was several houses away and deep in the woods.

Napoleon wasn't the brightest cat I've met, but was possibly the friendliest. Among the things he loved was jalapeño chips — the hotter the better. He'd beg for one until you gave in, and you'd do so outside if you were wise, then chomp down on it and happily stand there drooling on the ground as the heat kicked in.

He also enjoyed finding small glossy magazines, placing his front paws on one, then running as fast as he could, having figured out he could use it as a slide across the carpet. It was hysterically funny, especially because every time without fail he'd try to bank a curve and go tumbling as his sliding front end failed to turn with the rest of him.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 2:06 PM on July 3, 2018 [24 favorites]

I never actually witnessed it but the evidence was clear enough. We used to keep a big bag of litter next to the litter tray. One day I emptied the tray completely, brought it back in and filled it up again, only to find a few nuggets of cat poo. One of the cats had apparently decided to go for the most pristine pooping experience possible by bypassing the tray and shitting straight into the litter bag.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 2:13 PM on July 3, 2018 [15 favorites]

My cat stopped eating his Felix. We took him to the vet for blood tests, after a few days we started him on Sheba (higher quality food). He looked pained but ate it. The tests came back showing he was fine. He sulked when we tried to put him back on Felix. He still gets Sheba.
posted by biffa at 2:25 PM on July 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

My cat Zach had the appetite of a Clydesdale horse, and I was equally as stubborn about not feeding him until the appointed hour. I used to keep his kibble in a big plastic tub with a screw top, and space being short in the kitchen, I kept that on the floor, next to his dish.

When I first stored it there, he would sometimes paw at it while we were in our nightly "I'm hungry"/"but it's not your dinnertime" standoff. Over time, he went from pawing at it to pawing at just the lid.

Then came the night that he was pawing at the lid as usual, but this time I looked more closely - he was actually scratching at it sideways. Somehow he had not only figured out that "the lid bit is the bit that has to come off to open this", he had also figured out "the way this bit comes off is that it has to spin around a few times, in this specific direction". the only thing that kept him from opening the thing was the lack of opposable thumbs.

I started keeping the food on a shelf from then on.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:26 PM on July 3, 2018 [10 favorites]

Now I shall share another of the Tales of Ilsa the Dog. If you have been creepy enough to stalk me on this site, you may notice I tell these tales rather often, usually in Johnny Wallflower threads. I do this because I made a deal with Ilsa when she went to the vet for the final time, she would go to the world beyond pain, and I would continue to tell her tales, because it was a fitting end for a dog who was obviously in the running for best dog ever. She always did have a high opionon of herself and who was I to deny her final request, so here we are.

Among my family there is one event that is simply known as The Best Dog Thanksgiving Ever. That was the year I took Ilsa to visit my parents. Their neighbors, who left on vacation Thanksgiving Afternoon, decided to toss their turkey on their compost heap so all the wild critters could have a happy holiday too. A sweet sentiment, but Ilsa, with the precise tool that was her sense of smell, found it first. A small (30lb) corgi-chow mix, this leftover turkey was almost half as large as she was, and she carried the carcass from hiding spot to hiding spot as the family tried to catch her and dispose of the turkey properly. We failed, even though the game continued through the dining hour and into the evening. Finally as the last sun's rays turned red on her best holiday ever, Ilsa returned to the warmth of the kitchen, and slept the sleep of the heavy entryptophan-ed, a slight doggy smile on her face.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 2:34 PM on July 3, 2018 [27 favorites]

My cat when I was a kid could actually jump up and use the front door knocker when she wanted to be let in.
posted by biffa at 2:35 PM on July 3, 2018 [9 favorites]

My parents had a feral siamese tomcat named Neutrino who hung out in our back yard. Around the same time Freddy, the cat of our neighbours up the street, came to live around our yard because the neighbours' daughter had moved back from school or something with her cat and Freddy wasn't having it.

Anyway, one day my mom was walking down the side of the house when she saw Freddy had caught a mouse, but wasn't really sure what to do with it next. Freddy put the mouse down, and out of nowhere Neutrino swooped by and made off with it. Being feral, he clearly knew that a mouse should not be wasted.

Another time my folks had decided that they should catch Neutrino and take him to the vet for shots and a check-up. So they got ahold of some kind of trap-cage, baited it with tuna, and set it out in the back yard. A couple of hours later my mom finds Freddy caught in the cage, flipping out with tuna all on his fur, and Neutrino sitting calmly by watching. They never did manage to take Neutrino to the vet.

Neutrino was very chill. He'd hang out on our back patio and watch the scrub jays steal cat foot kibbles from his bowl. We'd tell the jays "watch out, you are what you eat!", but Neutrino never went after them. I guess he had enough to eat, and they were more fun to just watch.
posted by heatherlogan at 2:38 PM on July 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

Alan Davis once told a story on QI about owning a cat which figured out it could open the fridge by laying on its back and pulling at the bottom edge of the door with its front paws. It would then steal whatever leftover chicken it found inside.

(He had another story about his dog's weapons-grade farts, but that's for another day.)
posted by Paul Slade at 2:48 PM on July 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

My cat can be really stupid (he set himself on fire twice before I got rid of the offending lamp which he would insist on rubbing himself on) but he's extremely food motivated and can be smart when it comes to getting fed.

In the morning he will stand next to my bed and pat me in the face (no claws) if I don't wake up in time. Then one day he decided that just waking me up was not enough of a hint that he was clearly starving and I woke up because my bed smelled vaguely of meat and the cat had dragged multiple empty tins of cat food out of the garbage and put them in my bed. He will also drag anything he thinks might be cat treats to me in his mouth.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 3:06 PM on July 3, 2018 [15 favorites]

Years ago, on a cold morning, I was huddled under the blankets not wanting to get up. My cat was cuddled beside me.

"Cat," I said, "go fetch me a cup of coffee."

The cat absolutely bolted upright. She looked me straight in the eye, in a way she never had before or since, clearly meaning to say "I understand! I will get your coffee ASAP!" Then she leapt off the bed and scurried down the stairs with great speed and purpose.

I must have waited an hour for that coffee before I gave up. We never spoke about it.
posted by LarryC at 3:27 PM on July 3, 2018 [87 favorites]

Every night our cat comes to find us (whether we are together or separate) leads us to the bedroom, and waits patiently at the foot of the bed while we get ready/lie down/turn out the lights. Once she is assured that we are all properly secured in the bed, she fucks off to do her own thing while she has the house to herself.

She thinks she's our mom, I guess.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:29 PM on July 3, 2018 [20 favorites]

My cat Trilby can open every cupboard in the house *and* the freezer. And this past Friday night he learned an alarming new trick. I went down to the kitchen for breakfast on Saturday... and saw that the kitchen window screen had been torn jagged at one corner, pulled partly from its frame, and left flapping open. And Trilby was nowhere in the kitchen. I ran outside, barefoot as I was and in just my nightgown, and scanned the back garden. It was such a relief when I spotted Trilby immediately, sitting at the gap in the fence, covertly surveying my next-door neighbour's backyard. He came trotting over to me as soon as I beckoned to him, and didn't object when I picked him up and carried him back inside, scolding him at every step for the fright he'd given me.

Who knows how long he was outside -- it could have been all night. He could have been permanently lost, hit by a car, killed by a raccoon. The worst of it is that now that he knows how to get through a screen window, I can't leave him unsupervised with any open windows, though I *need* to have the windows open during a heat wave in July. And with my luck he'll probably figure out how to open the windows next.
posted by orange swan at 3:29 PM on July 3, 2018 [6 favorites]

A few years back I had two male betta fish (one red, one blue) and I had them in separate bowls but on the same table. I read keeping them near each other make them "peacock" more.
Both bowls had similar 'decor'. I remember coming home a few times after I first got them and had to do a double take. Not once but twice had the fish seemed to have... switched bowls. I started getting paranoid someone had come into my place and moved things around.
I finally witnessed it... the red one would leap into the blue one's bowl to fight and the blue one jumped to deserted bowl to escape - he was smaller.
I obviously separated them into different rooms after that (both to prevent accidental suicide if they missed the bowl and also reading up on the stress it causes).

My current betta is a female 'coy' who dances to disco - circles the tank in rhythm to whatever tune is playing - mostly only for disco music.
She even prefers to 'hunt' betta food - when I lick my finger and stick a pellet to it and hover around the tank and she leaps up to grab it. Just dropping it in isn't as enjoyable.

Bettas are fascinating.
posted by hillabeans at 3:36 PM on July 3, 2018 [22 favorites]

Everyone who's had a Boxer will say that they are intuitive, hilarious, and almost human in their responses sometimes. Mine was too. One morning, I went to turn on the light and the bulb blew. I looked at her and said, baby, go get me a fresh light bulb. She hopped off the bed, nosed open the door, trotted into the kitchen where the light bulbs are kept -- then came back and gave me a head-tilted WTF face. I miss that dog.

The dog I have now is a mutt of unknown provenance who is too clever for her own good, especially when it comes to studying me. I did not intentionally train her with gestures, but I found out that I don't need to speak to guide her along on our daily routines. I'll talk to her about whatever is on my mind while gesturing her through doors and around the house.
posted by cmyk at 3:54 PM on July 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

my best friend, like, literally my best friend, was for years our mixed herder pooch Rocket. He appeared to be part cattle dog and part border collie. He had a large vocabulary he applied to his toys, which was kind of useful, because that meant while I was working at home, often writing, I could keep him busy by telling him to go get the "green salmon" or the "rope ball" or whatever.

Anyway, we left him in the care of a pal for a week while we were on a trip. Our pal had been instructed in the mysteries of herd-dog walks, which include as much vigorous excercise for the dog as you can stand as a proactive self-defense measure, and had determined that frisbee breaks were the best bang for the buck, giving the dog the longest runs for the least human caloric expenditure.

On his first walk with the pooch, he flings the disc and Rocket charges out to the disc, totes it back to just out of reach, and turns around and shits into the frisbee.

Dan texted us a pic of the poop on the frisbee immediately, seeking advice. It took us several minutes to regain our composure after which I texted him back that he should bag the poop, of course, and possibly wash the frisbee.

For some reason he never really was keen on dogsitting after that.

Rocket developed bone cancer at about seven, a common malady for his genetic background. My heart is still broken.
posted by mwhybark at 4:08 PM on July 3, 2018 [19 favorites]

I can't leave him unsupervised with any open windows, though I *need* to have the windows open during a heat wave in July. And with my luck he'll probably figure out how to open the windows next.

if he is tin foil averse like most cats are you can try lining the windowsills with tin foil and he ideally will not want to step on them long enough to murder the screens.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:24 PM on July 3, 2018 [6 favorites]

My stepfather had a feral cat that he had neutered but returned to the neighborhood. She used to bring mice to him, and he'd make a fuss over her (though she would not allow him to pet her) and give her a treat.

One day, while doing landscaping, my stepdad discovered the cat had a "bank". Under a low shrub, she had a cache of dead mice, neatly lined up. It seems that she would "make a withdrawal" and present him with a mouse, to keep those treats coming.
posted by annieb at 4:28 PM on July 3, 2018 [12 favorites]

Two of our rescue dogs have proven themselves to be excellent service animals, helping my wife with mobility and other needs, often before she's even aware that she needs them.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:29 PM on July 3, 2018 [9 favorites]

I had two hamsters in a cage that had an upper level and a lower level, and there was paper hamster bedding that was 3 different colors completely and thoroughly mixed together. One day I came home and there was only pink paper bits in the upper level and only blue and green paper bits on the lower level, and two hamsters just hanging out, one on top and one below. It wasn't just that they sorted it all out, but that they did it in a matter of about 9 hours, that freaked me out.
posted by jenjenc at 4:30 PM on July 3, 2018 [37 favorites]

el_lupino wrote this out when Coltrane, the Best Cat Ever concerned, died a few years back. He's in the foreground with his mother, Beauty, in the middle, and his littermate Mingus in the window.

The Vegetable Brush Story

One time, early in our relationship, we were spending the evening in our apartment. This would have been some time in late 1998, and we had been together almost two years at that point. It also would have been about a year into our having three cats - Beauty, and her sons, Coltrane and Mingus. Beauty was grumpy and Mingus was solitary, but Coltrane was always sociable and friendly, and liked being around people as long as they didn't pick him up.

On this particular Tuesday, Jocelyn had been cooking and later cleaning in the kitchen most of the afternoon. As a last step, she set one of her vegetable brushes - plastic and rectangular, with bristles on the underside - in a pan of boiling water to sterilize it. She left it to sit for a while with the gas on and came to see what I was doing. I was in the bedroom, lying on the bed, with Coltrane sitting on a bean bag chair nearby. As I said, this was still early in our relationship, and we were working on behaving like adults who could communicate with each other about things of importance to us. I was learning that it might be a good idea to ask how her day was every single day, even when I kind of knew, and she was learning that when I sat in front of a computer or book angrily shouting that the goddamned quantifier wasn't doing what it was supposed to do, this was because the goddamned quantifier wasn't doing what it was supposed to do, and not a veiled attempt to draw her into a fight. (Thanks, ex-boyfriend, for lowering that bar for me!) And many of these conversations still had the feel of exercises, where we said relationship things in relationship ways like relationship people in relationships did. One of those conversations began that afternoon.

J: I wanted to talk to you about some of my feelings.
E: That's cool. I've been feeling some feelings, too.
J: It's important that we get a feeling for how we feel about each others' feelings.
E: I feel that way, too.

It went on like this.

Meanwhile, out in the kitchen, all the water had boiled out of the pan and the vegetable brush was just heating in direct contact with the bottom of a very hot pot. It began to melt. Then it started to catch on fire. Coltrane noticed this, and stood up as high as his legs would hold him, his eyes set at 125% of their regular aperture, looking back and forth from us to the growing fire in the kitchen. This was not a thing that normally happened. Attributing to Coltrane as best we can what he might have said had he had a voice like ours:

J: But in feeling that feeling like you feel it, how should I feel?

E: Well, each of us has to feel our way through feeling the feelings that the other feels about the feelings.

Coltrane: Uh, guys...

J: I feel like I'm feeling this on my own. Hey, Coltrane. You want a head rub, little buddy? No?

C: Guys, there's a thing in the kitchen!

E: But you're not. I feel the way you feel about feeling your feelings when I'm feeling the feelings that I feel about your feelings.

C: It's like a really angry... light... thing!!

J: That feels better. Coltrane, there's nothing to freak out about. We're just hanging out talking.


E: I feel that way too.

C: FIRE!!!! FIRE!!!! FIRE!!!! FIRE!!!!

J: What's he looking at?


E: What's up, buddy?

J: Shit, FIRE!! The kitchen's on fire!!

And then we got to use a fire extinguisher together for the first time. That felt good. And our apartment didn't burn down and we didn't die. We felt pretty good about that, too. So you'll understand if we have very strong feelings about Coltrane.
posted by jocelmeow at 4:32 PM on July 3, 2018 [41 favorites]

Our legendary cat Tux (d. 2011) was diabetic. One day our megasavant cat Donna (living) saw me pricking his ear to check his glucose, and in a fit of protective rage, she drew retaliatory blood on me.

Tux himself was quite something. He alerted me to a window peeper and a flooding bathtub, not at the same time.

It was either him, Donna’s average-IQ sister Freya (living), or dog-in-cat’s-clothing Shadow (d. 2014) who opened a kitchen cabinet, dragged out a whole loaf of homemade zucchini bread, unwrapped the cling film, and scattered pieces of it all over the apartment to share with the rest. Could have been a combined effort, I suppose.
posted by armeowda at 4:49 PM on July 3, 2018 [7 favorites]

Many years ago, my dear departed Boopsie meowed at me from across the room to demand pettings.
I told her that I wasn't moving, and if she wanted scritches, she could come to me.
So she started walking directly towards me.
Then I made a mistake and drew my husband's attention to her behavior: "See, she understands English."
Just as the words left my mouth, her straight-as-an-arrow path turned into a random meander - just to disprove my point.

This is one of many experiences that led me to believe that cats *can* understand English (or whatever local human language they're exposed to), but one can never let on that we know they understand us.
posted by cheshyre at 5:05 PM on July 3, 2018 [8 favorites]

Years ago, we had a cowboy corgi named Midge. Midge was a wonderful dog, but troubled and sort of complex, the way only a herding dog from Circumstances can be. Going blind in her later years really didn't help.

About seven months after she lost the last of her sight, we took her with us to a picnic in the shared backyard of a friend's apartment building, and there, we beheld a wondrous, tiny, inter-dog miracle:

A couple of our friend's neighbors, whom we had never met before, had a sweet, energetic, and very sociable puggle named Bandit. Our Midge had never been great with other dogs, even when her eyes still worked, so when Bandit approached her, we really weren't expecting much. But Bandit was brilliant. He very quickly figured out that she couldn't see him, but he came up with a way to play with her just the same. He would zoom around and around her in circles, and then stop, plant his feet, and bark. Then she'd spin around and point her face toward the location of his bark, and bark back. Then Bandit would zoom in circles around her again. Later, rinse, repeat.

Basically, Bandit and Midge invented a canine version of Marco Polo together.

Midge was just bursting with joy. I hadn't seen her that happy since before her eye problems started. I would have loved to set up some doggie play-dates, but Bandit's owners were in the process of moving out of state, so our dogs never got to play together again. And it's been almost ten years now, so I don't know if Bandit is even still alive, but I'm still overcome, just thinking about him. Damn, what a magical little pooch he was. I still feel like I'm in his debt.

Thank you Bandit. Among all the Good Dogs, you are one of the very Goodest.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:08 PM on July 3, 2018 [48 favorites]

Huggy has worked out that lipstick is the last thing which happens before I leave without her. So if I put shoes on, she starts to get excited and drums the floor hoping to go with me, but then when the lipstick makes an appearance she sits down into a deep dark sulk and won't meet my eye. Lipsticks left out in plain sight are liable to be dumped unceremoniously behind the couch before I get home, so I have to be fairly careful what I do with them.
posted by frumiousb at 5:14 PM on July 3, 2018 [21 favorites]

I have so many stories about him and other pets but for now will stick to two stories about Boris the cat:

When he was making clear that he would like to adopt me, I was living on the first floor of a four plex. He was not my cat and still had an official person whose garage he lived in (behind my building). One morning he decided he wanted to see me, and so he figured out a way to jump in an open second story window into the stairwell so he could come find me (steps to trash cans beside steps to little roof over the steps to open window above).

Boris can also be somewhat assertive. One day after he had adopted me (his old person had moved without him) and we had moved into my house, he was sitting in my ex's lap being petted.

The ex: "Boris, it's a shame you're such a dick."
Boris bit him. Ex yelled, and I told him it was his own fault and Boris knew what he said. The ex insisted that no, it was just tone of voice he got or something, and that he'd prove it
Ex, now in a sickly sweet tone: "Oo's a dick, aren't oo? Yes him is, him is a dick"
Boris bit him again. Ex insisted this proved nothing, and kept petting Boris and talked briefly about something else.
Then, having learned nothing:
"But he is a dick."
Boris bit him, swatted him, and got up and left.
posted by dilettante at 5:28 PM on July 3, 2018 [42 favorites]

Sasha, my first Australian Shepherd, was really sharp and in tune with us.

We used to go down to a playground near our apt. Sasha would chase my husband round and round the backstop of the "softball area". She'd go down the slide in the playground. Stuff like that.

One day I was standing by the swings. Sasha was on the other side of the swings from me. I idly thought "I wonder if I could get her to jump over the the seat of that swing, between the chains?" I said nothing out loud, just looked. Sasha watched me, then ran and jumped over the seat of the swing, just like I'd been thinking about. I thought that was pretty cool.

Another time, in another house, I pulled up in the driveway after work and Sasha and Ivan (the second dog we'd acquired) came bounding out of the bushes to greet me. That was Not Good, because they were supposed to be inside the wooden fence behind the house! So I praised them for being good dogs and not running off. I took Ivan back inside and Sasha outside with me.

The fence was fairly large, and I didn't relish going around and pushing on each vertical board to see which one was loose. So I asked Sasha to show me where they got out. She looked a little puzzled, but I kept encouraging her. After a few minutes, she walked to a spot at the back of the yard and nudged the loose board with her nose. It was loose at the bottom connection/

I praised her lavishly, took her back inside for goodies, and went out and fixed the fence.

Ivan the dog seemed mostly like just an old yard dog, but in his old age, he showed he had hidden depths. He'd bat one of the stainless steel dishes around in the kitchen, but only when no one was watching. We called it Ivan's dish hockey. He'd also pile up stuff in the kitchen (again, only when no one was around.) We'd come in to something like this. That's Ivan with the dish, stool, and towels that were all his work. We called it "dog art." I sure have known some good dogs in my day.

My best stories are parrot stories, but aren't everyone's??
posted by Archer25 at 5:29 PM on July 3, 2018 [12 favorites]

I have a friend whose Chihuahua knows the difference between work pants and yoga pants. If my friend puts the work pants on in the morning, Nugget's mood cools, and he goes off to his crate. But if she puts on the yoga pants, he knows she's staying home, and he romps and bounces and zooms. She calls that Nugget's Pants Dance.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:42 PM on July 3, 2018 [28 favorites]

A long time ago, when I had a dog as a kid, my family and I had returned from vacation and we were loading things into the house through the front door, which we never used. My dog was ecstatic that we were home and was running around barking and jumping all over the place. My mom went out the front door and closed it and he jumped up and cocked his head sideways and looked through the peep hole.
posted by gucci mane at 5:45 PM on July 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

We got our cat Beatrix T. Cattenborough when she was extremely wee, because she was the only member of a feral litter that survived a heavy rainstorm at the age of about a week old. As a result there were plenty of things about catting that she didn't know how to do and needed to be taught. And so it was that it fell to me as the alpha cat to teach Beatrix how to bury her poop in the litterbox. We waited until she had just used the box, and then I took out the little shovel and showed her how I was covering it up with litter. I'm sure I said something like, "Do this from now on." She gave me a look as though to say, "got it!" and wandered off. The next day she came trotting into the living room meowing loudly and beckoned us to follow her to the bathroom where she proudly showed us the just-used litterbox. She had taken the little shovel off its shelf and put it into the litterbox.
posted by slkinsey at 5:57 PM on July 3, 2018 [79 favorites]

My old Australian Shepherd, DogBreath, loved my mother but was very unenthusiastic about cigarette smoke: she would walk up to anyone smoking and give them an exaggerated little disgusted snort at the bad smell.

When she was very old and sick, she’d almost stopped getting up at all, ever — she’d just lie in one spot all day. About a month before she died, my mother came over to visit, and sat in our kitchen, a couple of rooms away from the dog, smoking next to an open window. And DogBreath cracked an eye open, staggered to her ancient feet, wearily dragged herself two rooms into the kitchen, looked Mom in the eye, and gave her the “I hate cigarette smoke” snort.
posted by LizardBreath at 6:03 PM on July 3, 2018 [21 favorites]

We adopted a little tiny bulldog named Midge. 6 years old, and a mess. Missing an eye. Teeth ground off on one side. Neuro issues and seizures. And a hole in the roof of her mouth. My wife runs the kennel at a vet clinic, so she took Midge to work with her after we brought her home. She took Midge out at lunch to go do her business. On the way back in, she stopped to chat with a co-worker. After a bit, Midge started bouncing, and pounding the door to the kennel area with her front paws, and barking. OK... so she lets the little pooch in there. Midge walks over in front of the kennel where she had been staying, stopped, and barked until my wife opened the gate. She then went in the kennel and laid down, happy and content. That was on the first day and she'd already figured out her way around the clinic. This little girl would remember where she left things. Good god we miss her.

When we first started going out, she had a cat that she raised off a bottle. Her sister had a fish tank, and it seemed like there were fish missing. And then more fish missing. But no dead fish in the tank. Finally we watched him from around a corner as he looked around, opened the lid to the tank, and nabbed a tetra out of it and then the little punkass would carefully close the lid. We weren't even mad. Several years later, we bottle raised an orphan puppy. When the puppy was a few weeks old, she walked up to the cat in the hallway and started barking her fool head off at him. He reached back and smacked the puppy so hard that she spun on the hallway tile. It made a mean *pop* sound when he smacked the pup. That dog grew to 50 pounds and never, ever messed with the cat again.
posted by azpenguin at 6:14 PM on July 3, 2018 [11 favorites]

Oh, and remember the most true quote in the history of quotes: "Everyone thinks they have the best dog. And none of them are wrong." (from W.R. Purche.)
posted by azpenguin at 6:16 PM on July 3, 2018 [29 favorites]

The night before my cat was supposed to get his last round of kitten booster shots he went through my purse and hid my wallet under the fridge. His plan worked, sort of - he did not go to the vet that day, because I had no cards, cash or bus pass. I *did* reschedule, and he *did* get his vaccinations, but good grief, kitten.

Sometimes while I am scooping the litter box he will come into the bathroom and watch me. My work must not have been up to his standards because one morning out of nowhere he let out this hmmph sound, as if to imply that I was clearly incompetent if I was going to keep accidentally breaking the clumps. He has not stepped up to start doing this chore himself, mind you.
posted by janepanic at 6:17 PM on July 3, 2018 [9 favorites]

I used to have two rabbits, Iggy Pop and Peter Gabriel. They hated each other, of course, and so could only be let out of their cages alternately. Once when Gabe was out and Iggy was caged, Gabe jumped on top of Iggy’s cage, positioned herself just right, and pissed in his food dish from above.
posted by arcticwoman at 6:17 PM on July 3, 2018 [14 favorites]

A friend of mine had a cat and a dog. The cat would jump up on the counter and knock down interesting packages of food, which the dog would then open and share.

I turned around one day and found one of my rabbits sitting on the kitchen counter looking at me like, "now what?" To this day I don't know how she did it.

Another rabbit story. I had a pair of rabbits that kept disappearing in a room when all the doors were closed. Nowhere to be found. Then they'd reappear. This went on for weeks. It was a real locked door mystery. One day after they had disappeared I finally saw one of them drop out of the bottom of the upholstered chair in the corner and look at me like "Oops!". Then the other one reluctantly emerged. They had nibbled a hole in the bottom of the chair and then climbed into their new secret hiding place.
posted by lagomorphius at 6:20 PM on July 3, 2018 [11 favorites]

My pug knows the difference between work clothes, which hang in the closet, and the weekend/lounging clothes, which mostly come out of the armoire. When he sees me going to the closet he sighs and then retires to "his" room, where he waits for his goodbye treat.
posted by rpfields at 6:28 PM on July 3, 2018 [7 favorites]

My first greyhound wasn't usually a hoarder, but he developed a specific habit when we had company over. He loved people more than anything, and when company time was winding down, he'd start stealing their shoes (usually left by the front door) and guarding them on his bed. The thing was, he wouldn't do it until they were getting ready to leave.
posted by vers at 6:37 PM on July 3, 2018 [13 favorites]

Long ago I had a cat, Dude, who spent a great deal of time one day examining an ant hole in the front yard. After watching their comings and goings with great interest, he positioned himself just so over the hole and peed enthusiastically into it.
posted by QuakerMel at 7:16 PM on July 3, 2018 [26 favorites]

Stinky the rat was so excellent. He came when you called him, from anywhere in the apartment. He liked to play fetch with himself as the ball. He would jump into your hand, and then you would throw him (at floor level) and he would go sliding zipping down the slippery hardwood floor to the end of the hall, and run back for another go. People think it is gross, so warning, but when he was sitting on my shoulder he would share my food out of my mouth.

I loved that guy. Tried again with another rat but wasn't nearly as smart or friendly.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:19 PM on July 3, 2018 [9 favorites]

My mom worked with a woman who in a previous life had traveled around the world in a boat with her husband and two cats. Sometimes they would come into ports that had strict laws against allowing animals in from outside the country. When inspectors came aboard to check for contraband, somehow those two cats disappeared, only to appear an hour or so after the inspector left. Yet when other strangers came on board, they came out and were very friendly. My mom's friend never did find out where the cats hid.
posted by Preserver at 7:27 PM on July 3, 2018 [7 favorites]

Our first greyhound used to round us up when it was time for bed. I was in grad school at the time, and so sometimes ended up burning the midnight oil. He would give a deep sigh and hop up on the couch in the office and wait till I was fine.

Our older greyhound keeps an eye on my wife and if she feels ill, that dog practically glues itself to her to make sure she stays put.
posted by canine epigram at 8:34 PM on July 3, 2018 [5 favorites]

Our dog Merlin has a perfect but impractical sense of the three-dimensional layout of our house.

The first time he saw horses on our wall-mounted TV, he growled and jogged into the next room behind where the TV is mounted, then came back out looking confused. He was clearly looking for the horses that he could see through that "window" on the wall.

Another time he noticed a stuffed hedgehog toy on top of a 6-foot-tall bookshelf in one of our first-floor rooms. After staring intently at it for a few seconds, he ran out of the room. 2 rooms over, he stopped 3/4 of the way up the staircase to the 2nd floor and stared at the riser, exactly where he would need to dig to get at the hedgehog in the room underneath.
posted by vytae at 8:50 PM on July 3, 2018 [14 favorites]

My previous cat, Casey, could use doorknobs and open any door that wasn't locked. He was also an incredibly clumsy cat and constantly fell off of things like a ton of bricks. When he was young, he had an unhappy fondness for opening all the cabinets, taking out the paper towel rolls or toilet paper, and shredding the crap out of them. He got over the shredding part, luckily, because during a trip to the vet (he was an extremely personable cat and loved the vet), they stashed him in an exam room, and he opened all the cabinets and took out all the paper towel rolls. Luckily he didn't shred any, so the vets had a fun story to tell me instead of a bill for 16 rolls of paper towels.

Eventually, I got him a pal, a medium-hair I named Moocher because he's a mooching SOB. (He's really a far too handsome cat to deserve a name like Moocher, but I couldn't think of one, so he's stuck.) When Casey passed away, I wound up taking in a stray litter of 3 kittens that I ended up keeping. Moocher and two of the siblings are male, the sole female is Lily, and she's the mighty hunter of the group. Lily is also very girly and loves to play with my purse and my makeup brushes if she has access to them. She is also the current "fetch cat"* and loves to play fetch with crinkled-up pieces of paper. Not just any paper, though--she has a particular fondness for receipt tape, Powerball tickets, and money. And bottle caps, e.g. from a glass Coke bottle. No matter how quietly I open a bottle, even if I'm so quiet that *I* can't hear it, even if she's sound asleep upstairs while I'm downstairs in the kitchen, she will hear it and come stampeding down the stairs to beg for me to throw it.

I keep my money and credit cards in a men's billfold, and I've come downstairs more than once to find my wallet taken out of my purse, opened, and all the money pulled out and sprinkled around on the floor. I don't keep my wallet lying around, either, I keep it in my purse with the flap closed, and the wallet itself is a trifold, so she's opening my purse, taking out my wallet, unfolding it, and removing only the money while ignoring the business cards or credit cards. That's an awful lot of fine motor control for someone without thumbs.

* Casey was my first fetch cat. But when I got Moocher, who also played fetch, Casey decided he was retired. Moocher played fetch until I got the 3 siblings, and then Moocher retired and now Lily is the fetch cat. I don't know why there can only be one fetch cat per household.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:38 PM on July 3, 2018 [9 favorites]

One day in the early naughties, we were having some networking trouble in the household. We were unable to get file sharing to work between the two computers. After some "Have you tried this?" / "Yeah, maybe you should do this" type discussions, we decided to put the troubleshooting off to go see a movie.

When we came back, our grey tabby girl Zephyr was sleeping on top of the CRT monitor. On that computer, there were 37 Windows Help windows open, each one on the same specific page about networking and file sharing, a page that when we later investigated to try to find out how to get to it ourselves, found that you couldn't get there in less than 3 mouseclicks and typing a search term in the search bar.

Her sister Cheyenne was sleeping next to the keyboard of the other computer, where the screen saver had been changed from starfield to the aquarium screen saver.
posted by radwolf76 at 10:01 PM on July 3, 2018 [26 favorites]

A few years ago I had just gotten home from the store and had started making dinner. Everything was laid out on the counter. I got distracted by something, or ran upstairs to do something for some reason, AND THEN IT HAPPENED: when I came back to the kitchen to continue cooking, I realized that an entire $15 wedge of parmigiano reggiano had vanished, into thin air.
Thankfully, nothing bad had happened to our dog, who had been sitting in the room right next to the kitchen the entire time. I know she had been there the whole time because when I came downstairs, there she was sitting in that same room, her eyes wide, and her expression told me that while she had been there the whole time, she had witnessed something remarkable. She almost looked a little guilty from this new knowledge she possessed, but also sort of invigorated. And I could sense that she wanted to convey some of her animal wisdom to me, wanted to tell me something with that 6th sense that dogs have; something like "it was ghosts what did it" or "neighbourhood cheese thieves," but I guess I'll never know what happened.
I think she has supernatural powers, if only I could understand them.
posted by chococat at 10:06 PM on July 3, 2018 [19 favorites]

chococat, how geographically close is your domicile to that of the redoubtable Wordshore?
posted by mwhybark at 10:08 PM on July 3, 2018 [13 favorites]

My dad would sometimes bring home these disposable bright orange rubber earplugs on a rubber string, and something about the sight of them was entrancing to our old orange tabby. Many times, I could dangle them before him or drag them across the floor, and he would immediately assume Pounce Position or give chase.

One day I was playing with him with the earplugs in this manner, holding them above him and he pawed at them like usual. But then he stopped. He looked up at my hand, dangling the earplugs. He leapt up and attacked it instead!

It was the only time in his life, as far as I know, that he did that, that he caught the earplug monster at its source. He continued to chase earplugs many times thereafter. But I wonder what it was, that one time, that prompted his revelation, his feline epiphany.
posted by JHarris at 10:34 PM on July 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

We have one of those cat flaps with a lock button that has four positions: in/out, in but not out, out but not in, closed. At night, we switch it from in/out to in but not out. Two of our cats try the flap to see whether it's locked already; the third one looks at the button.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:50 AM on July 4, 2018 [17 favorites]

This is the same cat who will immediately stop his love bites if you go 'Owowow' in a high-pitched voice, and then give your hand a gentle little lick before letting go of it.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:53 AM on July 4, 2018 [7 favorites]

castlebravo: She will also be fed dinner by one person, and then go find the other and put on the World's Saddest Hungriest Orphan Kitten act.

We call that act 'Fake Mews' nowadays.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:10 AM on July 4, 2018 [22 favorites]

(one neighbor swore they had once seen our cat dragging a rabbit behind her).

I've seen cats bring in a rabbit, twice.

The first was when I was in University. One of the other students in the flat I was living in at that time had a cat. Smallish but very fierce and fearless, half Siamese. The person who thought she was the cat's owner had another misconception in that as the cat was fed (rather luxurious food) by them, Koshka didn't need to go hunting. She was also taken outside on a leash. That is, the first and only time, as Koshka went up a tree, snagged the leash on a branch and pulled herself out of the collar. Her 'owners', wisely, didn't persist with this leash stuff.

Next to our flat was a footbridge that led to the Greenstuffmaintenanceguys for the campus grounds, and an overgrown area at the back of a tennis courts. This is probably where Koshka snagged the rabbit, dragged it across the bridge, to our flat, up three stairs, then, jumping on the railing, via a plank we had put there (soon after the getting rid of the leash episode, as she might otherwise just have jumped off the balcony (fearless, as I mentioned) but with no way to get back inside) to the balcony and then onto a bench. The rabbit, athough juvenile, was nearly her size.

And some ten years back we were living next to a field where some buildings had been torn down and we had occasionally seen rabbits about, although quite close to the centre of the city. But having one lying on the mat at the door from the workshop to the living room, with Tigger looking a bit puzzled as if pondering how to open it up was still a bit surprising. He had caught that rabbit somewhere in that field, carried it home, then, to get in he had to jump on a three foot high plank that was outside the cat flap (fitted where a broken window in the workshop had been boarded up). I think we were lucky that he had indeed not opened it up already.
posted by Stoneshop at 4:41 AM on July 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

Oh, and remember the most true quote in the history of quotes: "Everyone thinks they have the best dog. And none of them are wrong." (from W.R. Purche.)

No, not everyone. One of my dogs is as dumb as a bag of bricks and the other is way too smart for his own (or anyone else's) good and is constantly inventing new ways to be a bag of dicks that invariably involves some attempt to frame the dumb one, whose most mischievous instinct is to eat poop snacks from the litter box and/or cat food any time the opportunity presents itself.

People say dogs don't have much of an attention span, but I have seen this dog slowly enact a plan over the course of hours to days. If there weren't still a very few high value treats he'll turn into a blubbering idiot for he'd probably have ownership papers for me by now.
posted by wierdo at 5:42 AM on July 4, 2018 [5 favorites]

A friend had two large dogs. The larger was a rottweiler/german shepherd mix, maybe 150, 160 pounds. The 'small' one was 100+ pound rottweiler. They all lived in Washington, DC, where summers got hot, but if everyone was at work for the day? They'd leave the air conditioning in the 80s, because cooling that house wasn't cheap, and while the dogs didn't love it, it was still cooler than being outside.

The big dog? He realized he could work locks, doorknobs, and the back patio sliding doors. So he'd slide open the back door, unlock the front door, swing it wide, and sit on the stoop all day... getting a damn good breeze.

They worried about it briefly, as leaving your house wide open all day wasn't great.

Then it occurred to them, while they had a perfectly-well-behaved enormous dog, no one else was perfectly sure of the big dog being perfectly-well-behaved, and it sat on that stoop all day; no one's going to go through that door. And the big dog kept the small dog in the back yard, where all it did was terrorize the squirrels.

I miss those folks, the dogs and the people; never quite realized *how* smart dogs could get until just then.
posted by talldean at 9:26 AM on July 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

When I was a kid, I saw one of our cats take down a rabbit almost its own size as it went running by. It was just like watching a lion take down a gazelle on National Geographic, only in minature.
posted by DaddyNewt at 9:33 AM on July 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

As a teenager, our house had four cats, all indoor/outdoor cats and former strays: Tigger, a grizzled old tabby alleycat who only slightly mellowed out when he was neutered; Cat, a solid white lovebug who considered Tigger his surrogate uncle but loved everyone (humans, cats, dogs, etc); Stinky, a calico Norwegian forest cat who we'd originally thought was pregnant because of the rapid increase in her belly size after we got her; and a fourth tabby whose name escapes me right now, but she was all kinds of neurotic about other cats but loved human contact. Tigger and Cat got along swimmingly, but both of the girl cats were standoffish loners when it came to other cats.

One time, I happened to witness something that defied belief.

We had a shed in the backyard, and it was adjacent to a fence that was juuust the right height that the cats could jump on the fencetop, then jump to the roof of the shed. The branches of a neighbor's tree grew uncomfortably close to the roof of the shed. One summer day, I noticed that three of the four cats were all fairly close together in the backyard: Tigger and the cat whose name I forgot were calm but alert in the grass near the shed, sitting very still, and Cat was up on top of the shed being Cat.

As it turned out, Cat was flushing a bird out of the tree.

The bird swoops down toward the grass for the extra speed.

The cat whose name I forgot leaps into the air, batting the bird off course.

That new flight path takes the bird directly to Tigger, who effortlessly seizes the bird in his jaws.

I think the furry bastards planned that.

Adorable but less impressive, I have stories about my two current indoor-only cats: Tinkerbell, a skittish and high-strung solid-black rescue who is nonetheless very fond of humans, to the point that she's the first to greet strangers; and Turtle, a loving but athletic and rambunctious tortie who doesn't understand why Tinkerbell never wants to "play" (read: roughhouse).

Point the first: Tinkerbell seems to understand mirrors. She loves bathrooms -- her favorite room in the house -- and will excitedly follow you into the bathroom just to rub your legs and be close to you in an enclosed space. Once she bores of rubbing your legs, she'll jump up on the counter and give you "I love you" stares, and she'll use the mirror to do it. If you come up from behind to pet her, she'll watch your hand in the mirror and lean up into your pets, then look you in the eye through the mirror.

Point the second: Turtle has very strong opinions on when bedtime is. She knows my schedule, and if I'm more than half an hour late getting to bed, she will jump up onto the chair next to mine, meow, and then pat me with her paw to get my attention.

Point the third: Turtle has very strong opinions on when it's time for lap cuddles. She has trained me to prop my legs up on the chair next to me, to give her adequate lap space to sprawl out on. However, that's not the end of the story. She also likes soft things (blankets, pillows) and has a special meow for when she's very happy that she has something soft to lay down on. I have a daybed next to the computer, and if she's in the mood for softness while getting pets, she will stand next to the pillow and meow at me until I grab the pillow, prop up my legs, and place the pillow in my lap, at which point she waits for my invitation of "Cuddle time!" before jumping into my lap and giving me those "ooh, I like soft" meows.
posted by chronostachyon at 10:43 AM on July 4, 2018 [9 favorites]

Whenever the feeders need new syrup, the hummingbirds come hover two feet away from my face and look me in the eyes. I refill the feeder forthwith.
posted by y2karl at 12:02 PM on July 4, 2018 [16 favorites]

Not my cat, but if you go to the La Catedral tango club in Buenos Aires, you may (as I recently did) meet a lithe little cowcat who may, without concern for strangers or loud tango music, curl up in a deep sleep on a tattered old couch. This cat sleepily luxuriated in a few chin skritches, but when my tipsy friend insisted on two-hands-deep-tissue-massage-more-appropriate-for-a-dog long after the point of narrowed eyes and laid-back ears, the cat not only got up to take a poke at her, but actually walked us all the way down the stairs and out of the club. It wasn't being aggressive as it followed us out. It was just really really intent on making sure my friend left. I think it may also have told the bartender to cut her off.
posted by gusandrews at 12:44 PM on July 4, 2018 [9 favorites]

When we owned a retail shop, our dogs came to work with us most days. This shop had your standard ADT alarm setup with a keypad. We would often leave the dogs in the shop while we ran errands or went out to dinner. On those occasions, we didn't set the alarm because the dogs would set off the motion sensors.

One night my husband was ready to go home, leashed up the dogs and went to the front door, but he couldn't get Kenda the Wonder Dog to step outside. Finally he stepped back inside, closed the door, and was like "What is your problem?" Kenda looked right in his eyes, walked over to the alarm keypad and sat down. He'd forgotten to set the alarm before leaving.

Mr. Ant says her face said, "You're the human, make the beep beep sounds before we leave together. I'm a dog, I shouldn't have these worries."
posted by workerant at 5:28 PM on July 4, 2018 [8 favorites]

"My friends' dog tucks them in to bed at night. He follows them upstairs, lays down at the foot of their bed while they do their nighttime stuff, and lays there for a few minutes after they turn out the light. Then he goes downstairs and plays Tetris until dawn."
The Tetris gag gave me flashbacks. I'm a fairly rational human being, but one time when I was around 20-ish I was playing the Formula 1 '97 racing game on my PS1. We had a rescued streetcat who was wary of people yet willing to be friendly on her own terms. I was laying on my side on my bed, arms circled holding the controller, she came and curled up in the middle of them, close but not too close. That's sweet.

It was a long race so on lap 28 I paused the game, carefully got up earning myself a dirty look in the process and headed to the toilet. Came back and she's still there (aww, bless!) my controller's still where I left it (obviously!) so I carefully resume my position on the bed, encircle arms, unpause and continue the race.

Except I am now on lap 29.

I mean, I do live in the real world and a cat probably can't both master the approximately-simulated controls of an F1 car using a PlayStation DualShock pad and also lap the Hockenheimring in the mere couple of minutes it takes me to use the litterbox, so my memory of whichever lap I was on was probably a simple brainfade on my part. Probably.

Certainly probably.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:23 PM on July 4, 2018 [9 favorites]

A friend of a college friend's story, about his dog Toby:

Usually, whenever he came home from school, Toby was at the door, jumping around and barking and excited. But one day he came home and Toby wasn't there. He could, however, hear a weird thumping coming from the kitchen.

He followed the thumping. Toby was sitting under the table, looking guilty about something, but was still "yay human is home" excited and was wagging his tail, and that was the thumping. Okay, that explains that - but why does Toby look guilty?

He looked around - and saw that a) the bunch of bananas that his mother had bought the day before were no longer on the counter, and b) there was a tangle of banana peels on the floor. After examining the peels, he figured out what had happened:

* Toby had knocked the bunch of bananas onto the floor.
* Then Toby had carefully trod on each one, moving from one end to the other, to make the banana squirt out the other end.
* Then Toby ate the resulting banana goop.

When he realized this, he knelt down and told Toby: "really, I should punish you, but that was too clever, and the stomachache you're about to get will be punishment enough."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:52 PM on July 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

Annoyed because I can't remember all the best disturbingly collaborative stories of my Auntie's three main cats. There was one where we all went round hers and were going to have liver with onion gravy, spuds etc. My Auntie put the packet of liver on the side and turned her back, I myself saw the liver intact en route to the toilet (I may actually be the reincarnation of Vincent Vega since so many of my stories involve misfortune occurring while I'm using the facilities!).

Auntie comes back to the kitchen, no liver. The youngest, daftest yet least naughty cat is up on the worktop where they know never to jump up to and the other two cats are sat at floor level looking unperturbed. The hard plastic container of liver is nowhere to be seen. After five whole minutes of the sort of searching that mostly involves returning to the last place something was seen with the words "It was right here!" we all settle upon a quick Spag Bog instead.

Two days later my Auntie opens her flush-with-the-floor potato cupboard to find a stinking packet of half-eaten liver stashed there.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 8:35 PM on July 4, 2018 [5 favorites]

Lily would get very freaked out if there was any smoke in my apartment, and she'd notice way before the smoke / CO detector went off and meow at me in a very upset tone until I opened the windows and stopped burning my food. She also didn't like when I was in the kitchen and would come explain to me that I should be sitting on the bed until I did what I was told.

Dr. Evil, who was not very bright generally, understood that I directed the red dot and would get me to run him in circles. He never went after my hand.

Rembrandt pats my face in the morning when he wants me to wake up and feed him. He is good about retracting his claws. If he wants me to pet him differently, he will grab my hand and move it.

When I tried introducing Stitch to Rembrandt and Zatanna, and Stitch would go after Zatanna, Rembrandt would consistently try to break up their fights.

Zatanna can always tell when I wake up, even if I haven't actually moved yet. I swear she can hear my breathing change from across the apartment (not trivial - my girlfriend and I can't hear each other yell across the apartment) and she will come request attention then.

Palindrome is adept at getting to any plants he wants to chew on, no matter how high we put them up. Generally if he can get into something he will knock it down to share with the other cats rather than keeping it for himself, but there are exceptions like last week when he ate the flowers off my girlfriend's African violet. He will also get up high to knock down any jars or bags of treats he can get to.

Ba'alzebub can open some doorknobs depending on how much traction he can get and, if he can get to them, understands lightswitches. He also seems to have autism, which is kind of a different issue but we've had to do a bunch of experimenting around sounds he finds soothing versus upsetting and other sensory stimuli.
posted by bile and syntax at 2:46 PM on July 5, 2018 [3 favorites]

My friends had a giant French mastiff when their daughter was born. Eventually she got old enough to be afraid of the dark at night, and Moose decided that they were absolutely not giving this the attention the weird human puppy needed.

So in response, Moose started going to bed in the kid's room instead of staying up with the adults. As it happens, if your best friend is (a) a 150+ pound dog and (b) asleep on the floor next to you, monsters are no longer a concern.

When she was asleep, Moose would return to the living room, his duty discharged, and hang out with the adults again.
posted by uberchet at 8:47 AM on July 6, 2018 [23 favorites]

One more about my friend's cat, Princess. Princess is, as you may guess from her name, in charge. My friends also have two dogs, and when they got the second one Princess decided to make clear the dog knew who was in charge. When the dog came out of her crate, Princess went in, hung out on the dog's bed, and ate her food. This caused the dog some substantial level of distress, and any time Princess wants to reinforce that she is in charge she does it again.
posted by bile and syntax at 1:28 PM on July 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

armeowda: One day our megasavant cat Donna (living) saw me pricking his ear to check his glucose, and in a fit of protective rage, she drew retaliatory blood on me.

Great minds think alike - when I told my wife about Tuffy's bread and light bulb antics, she said "I think cats are savants," which was both hilarious and rang so true for me.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:54 PM on July 7, 2018

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