HR weighs in: can we butter cats to keep them out of our printers?
December 14, 2021 8:27 PM   Subscribe

Yesterday on Reddit's popular "Am I the Asshole" sub, someone asked 'AITA for ‘enforcing an ethnic stereotype’ by joking that orange cats are often dumb?' about a work conflict between the poster and another (human) employee over potential unfair treatment of new [feline] employee Jorts vis a vis existing [feline] employee Jean. HR stepped in and a recent update shares the resolved situation: mediation has ended with all parties happy with the outcome. Jorts will receive an apology, a new photo of himself to accompany his official staff bio rather than a photo of a sweet potato, and all employees will vow to refrain from buttering other employees in the future, no matter how good their intentions.
posted by sciatrix (109 comments total) 80 users marked this as a favorite
 
This tweet provides excellent commentary on the whole situation.
posted by contrapositive at 8:29 PM on December 14, 2021 [4 favorites]


I may be the teensiest bit drunk but I am laughing my ass off
posted by HotToddy at 8:36 PM on December 14, 2021 [10 favorites]


I may be the teensiest bit drunk

There's no HotToddy I've ever had that has had me merely a teensy bit drunk.
posted by hippybear at 8:44 PM on December 14, 2021 [8 favorites]


Also, this is amazing. Truly Best Of The Web! Thanks so much for posting and making my evening so much more hilarious!
posted by hippybear at 8:44 PM on December 14, 2021 [1 favorite]


I asked Walter for his opinion. He thinks this is hilarious and this Pam person needs to chill. Unless she's planning to come over here and feed him. In which case, he agrees with whatever. Just FEED HIM. CAN'T YOU TELL HE'S STARVING.
posted by thivaia at 8:53 PM on December 14, 2021 [7 favorites]


This is great, thanks for sharing. I'm amused to see that Jorts is trending on Twitter right now.

It's also nice to see the kindness underlying the whole story. That workplace sounds like a nice place to be, for humans and cats.
posted by rpfields at 9:00 PM on December 14, 2021 [8 favorites]


Yes, Jorts has been trending, but I didn't click through because WTF is a Jorts?

I have been educated and delighted.
posted by hippybear at 9:02 PM on December 14, 2021 [2 favorites]


Wait, Pam really was buttering the cat? WTF?! I mean I am laughing, but holy shit.
posted by Literaryhero at 9:13 PM on December 14, 2021 [2 favorites]


Oh for science sake, please don't butter the cat.
posted by tclark at 9:14 PM on December 14, 2021 [2 favorites]


  1. The detail that being able to hang with the cats has caused four vaccine hold-outs to see the light gives me all kinds of hope.
  2. We have an orange cat named Beso. He doesn't seem dumb, so much as just in his own world. Sort of the older beach bum who might have all the wisdom in the world, but instead prefers to lay on his back and ponder the universe. And that's what makes him awesome.
posted by MrGuilt at 9:14 PM on December 14, 2021 [35 favorites]


Oh for science sake, please don't butter the cat.

No. You butter the toast, strap that to the cat's back, and drop the system from a relatively safe hight. The cat will rotate to land on its feet, the toast will try to land butter-side-down. The two forces will counteract, causing the system to levitate.
posted by MrGuilt at 9:16 PM on December 14, 2021 [76 favorites]


Great story and WE LOVE JEAN TOO!

But don't read the Reddit comments, too many horrible reactionary jokes.
posted by kittensofthenight at 9:26 PM on December 14, 2021 [1 favorite]


Every male orange kitty I've ever met was a complete and utter himbo.
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 9:28 PM on December 14, 2021 [28 favorites]


great now i'm gonna have Ode to a Buttered Cat stuck in my head for weeks again
posted by Jacqueline at 9:29 PM on December 14, 2021 [6 favorites]


Proof that "orange cats" are indeed smart.
posted by clavdivs at 9:32 PM on December 14, 2021 [1 favorite]


Wait, Pam really was buttering the cat?

I suppose technically you could say she was margarinalizing him.
posted by sciatrix at 9:39 PM on December 14, 2021 [198 favorites]


@AlexandraErin: Butter Pam is a Bean Dad. Imagine Pam slathering Jorts in margarine while telling him that he understands everything except how the tongue addresses the fur.

@erinbiba: THANK YOU the whole time i was reading that all i could think was "this is abusive"

@Rook_Stone: Slathering him in margarine! Locking him in closets! Sticking cups on his head! Just accept he has limitations and leave the poor lil guy alone.

I don't think I agree; it seems to me that Pam is well-meaning but does not really understand cats -- as OP puts it in their update, "Pam was well-intended but actually not meeting the needs of either Jean or Jorts" -- whereas OP is cat-savvy and completely gets and accepts that Jorts is a big ol' dumb lunk.

Also: WOULD LIKE TO SEE JEANS AND JORTS' STAFF BIOS PLS.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:02 PM on December 14, 2021 [16 favorites]


All orange cats aren’t simple. Just the boys.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:11 PM on December 14, 2021 [7 favorites]


I've had more than a couple of big dumb redheads in my life, and they haven't all been cats.

(I'm by no means implying anything about redheads. I'm denigrating my own unfailing weakness when it comes to who attracts me.)
posted by hippybear at 10:13 PM on December 14, 2021 [2 favorites]


Personally, I’d have left the pic of a sweet potato.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 10:21 PM on December 14, 2021 [4 favorites]


This HR department are amazing. We're currently without HR at all at work after a sudden departure and some mismanagement, so this was a nice trip to a different place.
posted by Dysk at 10:25 PM on December 14, 2021 [9 favorites]


This is hilarious and heartwarming!

... the cats are my staff, not Pam’s
I think they have this the wrong way around. Cats are not staff, they have staff.
posted by dg at 10:52 PM on December 14, 2021 [12 favorites]


Our light orange tabby and he is absolutely the sweetest cat I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, has the best emotional understanding of all humans and cats in the house, and continually gets stuck places that he can't escape from in ways that confound both species' logic. He's also the skinniest cat we have and is a very dainty eater, which defies all male orange cat stereotypes.

In conclusion, orange cats are a land of contrasts.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:38 AM on December 15, 2021 [15 favorites]


And I just want to add that I've read hundreds of AITA and this is easily the best one ever. No contest.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:46 AM on December 15, 2021 [4 favorites]


All orange cats aren’t simple. Just the boys.
Because the "O gene" is carried on the X chromosome, almost all orange cats are boys. Depending on the underlying frequency of the mutant O variant in the population the ratio varies from 10:1 to 5:1. And not all tortoiseshells are female because cats can have Kleinfelter's XXY Syndrome. Very few people need this information.
posted by BobTheScientist at 1:27 AM on December 15, 2021 [80 favorites]


My first encounter of this story on twitter was through a follow that has revealed herself to be an anti-cat* (at the workplace??) person so that was a sad discovery, but it got me to click through the tweet and now i have a Captain America "SO YOU BUTTERED JORTS" meme saved on my phone so it's not all a loss.

(*Is it me or do western-cultured ppl have very Definite Ideas about being a Cat or Dog Person? Usually trying to retell a story from the internet to my irl people along these lines is usually met by a lot of, wait, what's the big deal? Or maybe it's my side of the world that's the odd one out...)
posted by cendawanita at 1:34 AM on December 15, 2021 [6 favorites]


I'm sadly allergic to cats so we can't have one. But! In the street behind our house, there live three cats (and their people). It began with a gorgeous torti who bumped my leg and rolled over for pats, while I was out walking with littlefeet in the carrier. I called her "friendly cat". She is a bit of a wanderer so we'd walk the whole of the street and see her at different houses. One day I said to L, "look there's friendly cat!" And she came out to see us. As we were giving her pats, suddenly we hear 'mew mew mew' and a black floof comes out and demands pats too. L is entranced. I squat down and she is able to pat the cats as they come past.

It's really the highlight of my lockdown. Unable to go anywhere or see anyone, we can leave the house and still see "people".

We've since learned their names: Minx is the torti, Smudge the black floof, and Alfie is the short haired grey and white kitty who is much more standoffish.

Minx isn't as much a fan of L now she's a toddler (and walking on her own) but Smudge is very tolerant. Smudge loves pats and will rush out to the footpath when they hear us. We've even had Alfie come out and accept a few pats! L is very gentle (except for an unfortunate balance related squashing incident which was the end of her friendship with Minx) and LOVES going to see the cats.

I have been meaning, for a while, to put a note of appreciation in their letterbox.

I loved this AITA- the follow up is fantastic.
posted by freethefeet at 1:54 AM on December 15, 2021 [19 favorites]


This HR department are amazing. We're currently without HR at all at work after a sudden departure and some mismanagement, so this was a nice trip to a different place.

I'm not going to lie, I've spent the entire last week and a half of my work life embroiled in dealing with an enormous failure to behave appropriately at my current workplace, which means that for all intents and purposes I've been acting as HR instead of the very different work I was hired to do. I am absolutely exhausted from the sheer amount of emotional work it's been taking to weigh and summarize the various impacts of the bad behavior, list appropriate consequences, make absolutely certain that junior personnel know things that I know that they haven't had the experience yet to learn, teasing out concerns from frightened and angry people so I can do things about them, and generally sort out as much as I can in the collective working environment that doesn't relate to direct punishment of the person who behaved badly (my supervisor has that in check).

The response of HR and the OP to Pam's complaints, the gentle reality checks about the things that matter generally (no, this is not actually a racism incident, that shit needs to stop), the willingness to laugh about the truly ridiculous things that can happen when big emotions get out of control, the care to check in and settle the emotional working relationships for all staff with compassion as well as firmness...

... It's like a window into a very cosy alternate world where all the shit I'm dealing with has been handled by some very competent person who is good at sorting out the emotional currents underlying a conflict. The competent person has done all the hard work to actually resolve the problem that I'm looking at and quailing over: teasing out the underlying causes of the problem to get to the emotional knots that matter, figuring out how to compassionately frame the problem so that the pain points creating the conflict unsnarl, setting the emotional uncertainty and fear and activation of the participants to rights, restoring the working relationships of the participants in each other and creating a structure in which they can regrow trust in one another and return to a working relationship that encourages their best professional selves.

And also the stakes are objectively extremely low, the emotional snarl is about something that looks totally unrelated, and there are absolutely adorable and hilarious cats in the middle of everything.

Fucking love it. amazing humor as catharsis. beautiful work. lovely story about conflict resolution. LOVE. IT. no one is our best selves right now because we're living in a bad timeline and even so this OP and their new report and their HR rep are all taking the time to hold each other's feelings about the situation, laugh about the funny parts, and fix the parts that actually matter so they can resume their essential work of helping people in crisis, and also pet a cute cat. perfection.
posted by sciatrix at 3:06 AM on December 15, 2021 [69 favorites]


anyway what I'm hearing is that I should figure out how to bring one of my dogs to work with me, with the understanding that the dog stays in my personal office space and does not have access to any areas with mice in them. Because: opt-in access to dog, and I know that the lab generally enjoys dogs.

might bring that up with my boss this week as a thing that would certainly make me feel better and probably also help out folks generally, if RAR/facilities management don't mind.
posted by sciatrix at 3:11 AM on December 15, 2021 [4 favorites]


sciatrix, don't you mean purrfection?

I'll show myself out now
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 3:35 AM on December 15, 2021 [4 favorites]


i can't believe someone would butter jarts - that would make them almost impossible to throw accurately

oh, wait, jorts the cat!

no, buttering jorts would make him almost impossible to throw accurately, too
posted by pyramid termite at 4:49 AM on December 15, 2021 [4 favorites]


Time to submit a pony request for a one-time name change token so I can rename myself Buttered Jorts.
posted by fight or flight at 4:55 AM on December 15, 2021 [11 favorites]


if RAR/facilities management don't mind.

Our facilities guys have their own shop/warehouse building. The last time I visited it, there were like four or five staff members' dogs there.
posted by box at 5:49 AM on December 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


No. You butter the toast, strap that to the cat's back, and drop the system from a relatively safe hight. The cat will rotate to land on its feet, the toast will try to land butter-side-down. The two forces will counteract, causing the system to levitate.

Once upon a time, some two decades ago, I was applying to colleges as a high school senior. The Common Application was sort-of-a-thing, but not completely, so every school had its own variation on the essay questions you had to write. At the eleventh hour, I realized that one of the applications required one more essay than I had written, and none of the things I had written for other applications quite matched what their set of topics was. I briefly panicked, then drank a bunch of coffee and cranked out my masterwork essay exploring the theoretical physics involved in constructing a cat-toast system like the one described above. I took it one step further, and proposed using the antigravity effect to power a monorail. There was a fair bit of math involved. There were also musings about what a failure condition (e.g. inadequate strength of the adhesive joining cat and toast) would entail.

Reader, I got into that school, and eventually matriculated there. A high-school classmate of mine was so intrigued by the possibilities discussed in that essay that she asked to use it as the basis for an animation project she was working on. The result was posted on the Blue fifteen years back.
posted by Mayor West at 5:50 AM on December 15, 2021 [36 favorites]


Video of the animation in question

(Come for the cute cats, stay for the Doppler-effect meows)
posted by Mayor West at 5:53 AM on December 15, 2021 [18 favorites]


now i have a Captain America "SO YOU BUTTERED JORTS" meme saved on my phone so it's not all a loss

Please share, I need this
posted by Mavri at 5:56 AM on December 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


I thought i saved it, but now i can't find it, so i made a fresh one.
posted by cendawanita at 6:08 AM on December 15, 2021 [11 favorites]


Why and how do people keep thinking that covering a cat in butter is a thing? Like who started this nonsense.

The first time I learned that people butter cats was these people. They hoped that if they buttered their cat it might leave them alone. Obviously the cat was all MORE BUTTER!!

My cats are already tyrants, you could not pay me to cover them in butter.

Ridiculous. Thanks for posting, I love it.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 6:17 AM on December 15, 2021 [3 favorites]


This comment was helpful. (I've got a pudgy cat with issues. Haven't tried buttering her. )
This is hilarious, however I also have some actual cat advice.

Grooming problems in cats are not about stupidity, and trying to train the cat to groom better is not productive. Rather, they are often signs of either:

a) kidney problems (which could become serious)

b) dental problems

c) Just not drinking enough water.

Cats don't always drink enough even if water is easily available. So you might first try some things that might get Jorts to drink more, or ingest more water. Such as -

Place water in more than one location.

Place drinking water in a different place than food. For some cats, instinctually, food isn't supposed to be next to their drinking water source.

Replace water more frequently.

Get him to eat wet food.

If addressing water doesn't get him to improve grooming, it's worth checking with a vet about the possibility of kidney or dental issues. Mention his grooming problems as your reason for asking.

Edit: I asked my local cat expert (aka my partner), who adds:

It can be a sign of stress, or joint stiffness/ pain, or obesity making the cat unable to reach all the parts it needs to groom
posted by sebastienbailard at 6:20 AM on December 15, 2021 [14 favorites]


YOU BUTTER JORTS!? YOU BUTTER HIM LIKE HE IS A PIECE OF TOAST!? OH WORKPLACE SENSITIVITY TRAINING FOR PAM! SENSITIVITY TRAINING FOR ONE THOUSAND YEARS!
posted by zamboni at 6:34 AM on December 15, 2021 [58 favorites]


I know Pam isn't the real name of the cat-buttering co-worker, but for whatever reason, I'm envisioning Pam from Archer getting bored and buttering a cat to annoy Mallory. Of course Cheryl would also get involved, offering other suggestions for lubricating a cat with more dangerous and explosive alternatives. Said cat would end up sneaking onto a team mission, totally messing up Lana's plan, to Archer's amusement, and tripping up Archer somehow, all while eventually saving the day.
posted by sardonyx at 6:52 AM on December 15, 2021 [18 favorites]


Is this yet another episode of #RedditIsRacist? Sure has potential but I don't want to dive in cause it always takes hours to wash the icky feeling off after I log on to Reddit.
posted by viborg at 8:00 AM on December 15, 2021


Do you have any reason to think it is, viborg? If not, that’s a very strange question.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:03 AM on December 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


This story is crazy and I would not have responded to a cat being treated this way with any kind of humor or social aplomb.
posted by bleep at 8:11 AM on December 15, 2021


There are 3 buildings in our workplace. Jean and Jorts are limited to one. HR told me there were 5 holdouts about vaccines, and restricting unvaccinated people from entering the building (to protect Jean and Jorts) was enough to win over 4 of them.

I wish my mind boggled but it is no longer capable of it.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:11 AM on December 15, 2021 [7 favorites]


someone asked 'AITA for ‘enforcing an ethnic stereotype’ by joking that orange cats are often dumb?

Nope, no reason to think this is a standard Reddit framework for the usual concern trolling, claims of fake identity used to justify racial stereotypes, endless claims that "stereotypes are always based on a kernel of truth" or whatever other lazy justifications for their bigotry they lean on these days. No reason at all.

It just flummoxes me that seemingly sensible folks can spend so much time on Reddit and still turn a blind eye to the casual bigotry that pervades the site. Do you seriously want me to start dumping a compendium of how awful Reddit generally is here?
posted by viborg at 8:16 AM on December 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


Reddit is a land of contrasts. There were (and probably are) shitty subreddits whose stench would linger for days, but their shittiness generally remains well contained, and if you don't go near them or adjacent forums, you can remain oblivious to their existence.
posted by acb at 8:19 AM on December 15, 2021 [10 favorites]


Is this yet another episode of #RedditIsRacist?

Kind of. Making fun of workplace racial sensitivity training by comparing it to situations where there isn't an historic power imbalance is a genre of diet racist humor that I'm getting pretty tired of.
posted by zixyer at 8:22 AM on December 15, 2021 [4 favorites]


Sorry but that's simply inaccurate. Or as accurate as saying, "there are shitty Facebook forums but their shittiness remains well contained".

Yes the pervasive bigotry on Reddit is probably more obvious if you happen to publicly state you're a member of a minority group, or if you engage in any discussion involving politics, gender, race, or religion. If you only follow /r/knitting or whatever I don't doubt that it is possible to isolate yourself from the toxicity, sure.
posted by viborg at 8:24 AM on December 15, 2021


Sorry that was an xpost @ acb. Zixyer thank you, I had forgotten about diet racism. No doubt that is the most common form of bigotry on Reddit since they finally cleaned up the worst actual alt-right magnet subreddits, after giving them a free pass to brigade, harass, and overtly manipulate their algorithms site-wide for years.
posted by viborg at 8:28 AM on December 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


Sometimes a cat is just a cat. Good lord.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:28 AM on December 15, 2021 [12 favorites]


a. Jean has a nice cat bed with her name on it, while Jorts has chosen an old boot tray in my office with a towel in it. Recently a visitor put wet boots in the boot tray and Pam saw Jorts sleeping on the wet boots. I bought a bed for Jorts today and a name tag has been ordered.

b. I will apologize to Jorts and remove the sign saying “DAYS SINCE JORTS HAD A TRASH CAN MISHAP: 0” Jorts likes to fish dirty paper cups out and he often falls into the bin or gets a cup stuck on his head, etc. (He is able to get out of the bin by tipping it over so it isn’t a safety issue.)


These details were left out of the original post and give a lot more context to Pam’s feelings about how Jorts was being treated. I could see a sensitive person wanting a more respectful environment for Jorts, no matter how badly they expressed it. The fact that no one bothered to get a bed for him stands out particularly to me.

Signed,

The Department of Looking Too Carefully at the Underpinnings of Silly Memes.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:30 AM on December 15, 2021 [5 favorites]


Is that "good lord" at me? In a discussion where we are pretty clearly untangling the context of prejudice which informs the "just a cat"? If so that's insensitive at best.
posted by viborg at 8:31 AM on December 15, 2021


It just flummoxes me that seemingly sensible folks can spend so much time on Reddit and still turn a blind eye to the casual bigotry that pervades the site.

Counterpoint: some of us seemingly sensible folks have nowhere else to go for our community needs. Facebook? Also trash. Twitter? See previous.

I was a Reddit mod for nearly 5 years, I've seen the absolute worst of the platform. But I've also been able to access and manage my medical transition thanks to the knowledge and kindness of the trans subreddits. I've found friends and support there. Much like any other online (or even offline) space, using it requires me to look aside from or tolerate things I shouldn't have to, but that doesn't mean I require a 101 in How Reddit Is Bad. I know it's bad. We all know it's bad. The world is bad. But we find the good things anyway.
posted by fight or flight at 8:33 AM on December 15, 2021 [43 favorites]


Odds are pretty good that an update to the update about workplace improvements to cat bed opportunities will involve Jorts continuing to sleep in the boot tray and ignoring other options.
posted by Drastic at 8:33 AM on December 15, 2021 [38 favorites]


We had an orange Maine Coon. You could look into his eyes and see the fiendish wheels turning. Smartest cat we ever had.
posted by Ber at 8:34 AM on December 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


I feel bad for Jean, who probably enjoyed the margarine.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:40 AM on December 15, 2021 [4 favorites]


I've now seen multiple variations of "You Kick Miette," This is just to say, and My name is Jorts and wen im fed...

To me, this all sounds like the setup for a workplace sitcom.
posted by cheshyre at 8:44 AM on December 15, 2021 [8 favorites]


I've had 3 orange cats so far, two boys and one girl.

OK, so the girl was more a stereotypical mean girl who none the less was a huge cuddlebug. She was an incredibly smart, patient and able mouser. She was always on the lookout for the other cat, who was pure fey to be fair, playing tricks on her.

Of the boys, one was similarly pretty clever, and always able to turn a situation to his advantage, especially when it involved food. He could keep time to the minute as well. Kind of uncanny. His brother though, who is less than 3 metres from me right now, is the sweetest himbo I have ever known. Beautiful, caring, brainless.

Such are cats. They are their own individuals first last and always.

I have only ever applied butter to them once or twice---a bit on the nose when they were bugging us for pancakes. Old Finn loved it of course, Rory was just confused by it.
posted by bonehead at 8:50 AM on December 15, 2021 [5 favorites]


Any AITA has to be suspected of being fiction, and this may also be, but I think we can all agree that Jorts is an amazing cat name.
posted by emjaybee at 8:52 AM on December 15, 2021 [7 favorites]


To be fair to orange cats, my household orange tabby Miles is a very good cat who, were he any smarter, would be a huge pain in the ass. He's a pretty good communicator most of the time, and has shown a level of patience with my stepson as he passed through his tweens and into his teens that qualifies him for kitty sainthood.
posted by wotsac at 8:56 AM on December 15, 2021 [3 favorites]


Pam is NOT to apply margarine to any of her coworkers.

This is where I truly lost it with laughter.
posted by fikri at 8:57 AM on December 15, 2021 [7 favorites]


viborg, I can certainly see ways that this setup ("My coworker accused me of racial insensitivity towards a cat") could be used to facilitate mockery of things like the very idea of racial insensitivity, sensitivity training, microaggressions, etc. However, this particular case does not seem to be going down that road at all.

1. HR's response to the coworker is to say "This isn't racism, and it's troubling that you're comparing this trivial thing to something that serious."

2. OP doesn't turn around and declare that they were being racist toward a cat, but they do recognize real and valid concerns their coworker did have, and they describe what they're doing to fix the situation.

3. Real workplace issues are not blamed on oversensitivity, political correctness, or any such.

I went a short way down the comments on both Reddit posts and didn't see any descent into the sort of vile commenting that certainly can proliferate on Reddit. I don't know if it was there, just lower down than I went, or if the mods are doing a really good job here.
posted by Four Ds at 9:02 AM on December 15, 2021 [33 favorites]


i had a sweet idiot of a boy who was technically a calico because of a couple of small smudges of orange. possible mosaicism? (xxy is not the only way to get a male calico.) ...so even a little bit of orange may be enough to tip them over the himbo point.
posted by Clowder of bats at 9:27 AM on December 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


His intelligence was immediately put into question when he was given the name Jorts. People and animals grow into names that are granted to them.
posted by hydra77 at 9:53 AM on December 15, 2021 [4 favorites]


Odds are pretty good that an update to the update about workplace improvements to cat bed opportunities will involve Jorts continuing to sleep in the boot tray and ignoring other options.

Only if the box the bed comes in is not made available.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:10 AM on December 15, 2021 [11 favorites]


it sounds like Jorts is a very sweet potato. (I love this so much!!!)
posted by supermedusa at 10:19 AM on December 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


Side issue, but please don’t arrange to bring pets in to work unless there’s been a real opportunity for anyone to request otherwise ANONYMOUSLY.

It’s not just the allergy thing, which people will often not talk about because other people are not going to care anyway. I found out the hard way that some people have extremely good reasons to not be in buildings with dogs.
posted by clew at 10:43 AM on December 15, 2021 [13 favorites]


I've come to the conclusion that the story is at least partly made up. Surely a modern person would use butter or a vegan alternative, but not margarine.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 10:59 AM on December 15, 2021


Nancy Lebovitz: "I've come to the conclusion that the story is at least partly made up. Surely a modern person would use butter or a vegan alternative, but not margarine."

Fun fact, I had a recipe that called for margarine, and discovered there wasn't any product labeled as margarine in the store any more. I bought Parkay Whipped Vegetable Oil Spread, because I know who you are, you can't hide from yourself. I remember.
posted by team lowkey at 11:30 AM on December 15, 2021 [13 favorites]


US-based Pams especially stopped rubbing lard on cats due to a really successful lobbying campaign by vegetable shortening sources.
posted by Drastic at 11:41 AM on December 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


Pro tip: You don't need to buy vegetable shortening! If you need them to be shorter you can just cut them up
posted by oulipian at 12:47 PM on December 15, 2021 [24 favorites]


Cat-buttering has a long, superstitious tradition.
posted by jocelmeow at 1:10 PM on December 15, 2021 [3 favorites]




HR was concerned about Pam’s comparing ethnic stereotypes with giving a cat a doorstop and they addressed that which went well.

This is all rolled gold.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:56 PM on December 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


I think I would very much like my next cat to be a big, ol' doofus of an orange tabby and I think I might name him Sweet Potato.
posted by mhum at 3:03 PM on December 15, 2021 [4 favorites]


The first feral cat colony I lived near was almost all orange cats, and the mama cats ruled the roost, so I was very taken aback to learn that female mamies are in the minority.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:04 PM on December 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


Every ginger tabby I’ve ever known has been reasonably intelligent, except on the matter of “have I had enough to eat yet?” (Our late, great Morrison somehow knew how to put on, and remove, simple articles of clothing. I’ll never know where the hell he picked that up.)

They’ve also frequently been stereotyped as troublemakers, but what redhead hasn’t?

Siamese and related breeds are book-smart, more than they are street-smart.

I’ve never met a black-and-white cat who didn’t drool at least a little.

Longhairs are emotionally needy.

White cats can’t jump.
posted by armeowda at 3:26 PM on December 15, 2021 [5 favorites]


Surely a modern person would use butter or a vegan alternative, but not margarine.

So… you can’t believe it’s not butter?
posted by zamboni at 3:56 PM on December 15, 2021 [17 favorites]


oleo butttter free!
posted by clavdivs at 3:58 PM on December 15, 2021


My late much missed ginger was an enormous dumb brawler who routinely beat up dogs 10 times his size if they got in his face (long enough ago that we still let cats outside). He definitely fit the mode of one synapse though. But because of him all three of my kids' first word was cat and he was infinitely gentle and snuggly with them until they were big enough to be taught manners. We were sure he thought he was a lion.

This thread was so delightful - useful HR, remarkably little jerky behavior in the Reddit thread. Just what was needed.
posted by leslies at 3:58 PM on December 15, 2021 [7 favorites]


I’ve never met a black-and-white cat who didn’t drool at least a little.

Finley has never drooled. Ever.

White cats can’t jump.

Remy would like a moment to disabuse you of that notion.
posted by cooker girl at 5:08 PM on December 15, 2021 [8 favorites]


Among humans, about 10% of people diagnosed with Klinefelter syndrome are mosaic (only 25% of people who have it are thought to be diagnosed).
posted by jamjam at 6:15 PM on December 15, 2021


I had a tiny runt ginger tom who was smart enough except when it came to judging his odds in a fight, he got that wrong every time. He was my Tiny Terror, my Ittty Bitty Kitty Committee. I miss him.
posted by emjaybee at 7:08 PM on December 15, 2021 [7 favorites]


Our big dumb orange cat was Oboe. He would yowl and yowl at the front door to be let in, then run directly to the back door and yowl until we let him out...we did not have a fence. He would also disappear occasionally for a few days at a time and we eventually discovered that he had a number of families he would rotate through for a day or so at a time before returning home, and had every dog within a two block radius terrified. He was a big ol' loveable doofus.
posted by calamari kid at 7:30 PM on December 15, 2021 [6 favorites]


Now on Twitter: @JortsTheCat (not verified?)
posted by Pronoiac at 7:48 PM on December 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


I'm not on Reddit but based on this screenshot shared on twitter, OP confirmed they started the account.
posted by cendawanita at 8:14 PM on December 15, 2021 [5 favorites]


Simon of Simon's Cat weighs in. [twitter link with gif]
posted by hippybear at 10:18 PM on December 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


Take a look at the link in jocelmeow's comment, which cites a book from the late 1400s.

The Distaff Gospels recommends buttering your good cat that you want to keep around on all four of its legs and its nose.

And a couple of contempoary commenters say their older relatives did about the same thing for exactly the same reason.

In my experience, cats are very nervous in houses marked by previous cats even when the previous cat is no longer there. It seems likely that this cat-buttering was a trick to block the cats ability to sniff out prior marking until it was comfortable and well-established.

It’s amazing that this has somehow been handed down more or less intact for better than 550 years.
posted by jamjam at 1:08 AM on December 16, 2021 [7 favorites]


Siamese and related breeds are book-smart, more than they are street-smart.

Can confirm. My late Burmese cat was very smart, being able to figure out not only how to open doors by swinging on the handles but also that aluminium foil on which meat had been grilled can be dragged to a water bowl to extract the flavour. Unfortunately this didn't extend to road safety.
posted by acb at 2:29 AM on December 16, 2021 [4 favorites]


Our late, giant black cat could open doors either way with his cat paw. We have always lived in old houses, so he also knew he could give a doorknob a good whack and the door would pop open. He was our first cat, and so we did not realize quite how much more clever he was than the average cat, until the other two arrived (another black cat and a calico). They both can push a door open with their heads, but if that doesn't work, they just sit and stare until someone opens the door for them. Never do they try the cat paw trick. Their big brother used to help them out, like Jean helps Jorts, but now we have to do it for them. They each lived with him for 10 and 15 years and yet never learned the cat paw trick.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:51 AM on December 16, 2021 [3 favorites]


Prior to adopting our orange boy, all of our prior cats were elegant grey ladies. As said above, cats grow into the names they're given, and we were foolish enough to name ours after a fire demon - Calcifer Jones. As he gets older, his freckles increase and after some frantic googling on my part ("can cats get blackheads") his freckles add to his delight. We've vowed to never have a house without an orange boy again. After family discussion about Jorts we've decided ours is less of a himbo, and more like Channing Tatum - attractive with surprising depth. (Especially around turkey. The cat. I don't know how Mr. Tatum feels about poultry.)

We have two extremely vocal female cats, (Fi and Nora) and interestingly our orange boy barely squeaks. So when he's losing his mind about something, or chasing around a sibling, he's a squeaking madman but we're confident he thinks it's the roar of a great tiger. He's super ferocious in his mind. It's not his fault he's a sweet potato.
posted by librarianamy at 5:48 AM on December 16, 2021 [5 favorites]


RE: buttering cats -- I have been familiar with the "if you don't want your cat to run away, put butter on its paws" thing. I have always thought that the idea was probably that the cat would think of the house as "that place where they gave me butter", but I always had the image of a cat with all four paws skittering and not moving as its paws slip while it tries to run, like a cartoon.

Either of those would be a reason the cat doesn't leave...
posted by Xiphias Gladius at 5:59 AM on December 16, 2021 [6 favorites]


Apropos of orange cat character: we have two.

Kokopelli, our eldest kitty, is a beautiful orange boy who reposes in regal splendor, which is a polite way of saying he's lazy, complacent, and fat. His life doesn't present a whole lot of challenges, but he's up to most of them. He's figured out, say, cat doors, and the catio. He recognizes things like wet-food cans and hard-boiled eggs (he adores eggs). He doesn't seem particularly stupid; he knows what he wants, he's got it, and he's content to enjoy it. One of the things he has and enjoys is my chest, which he sits on every night (my wife describes this as "recharging his cattery"). He is my favorite cat in the world but I try not to say that loudly enough for the other cats to hear.

Nubbins Mankiewicz is the newest and presumably youngest of our happy family. He was supposedly a year old when we got him but grew so fast it seems like he must have been younger than that. He's an orange manx, lithe and lean with very springy haunches and an alarming vertical leap. He's an enormous ball of kittenish energy and is Not Good With Boundaries. He gets into tussles with our smallest cat, the lovely but high-strung torbie Baba Yaga, and at this point Baba finds his mere presence disconcerting and will hiss at him. He also tussles with our big floofball Bouquet, but there it's more often mutual play (he and Bo are particularly good at tag-teaming diners to distract them and steal their food). He seems to have picked up on the fact that the two oldest cats, Wisakedjak and Koko, will not tolerate his nonsense, because he almost never goes at Jak, and never at all at Koko. Nubbs maybe is a bit dumb, but in an excitably kittenish way rather than a slow-to-get-things way (except maybe his extraordinary slow-wittedness in realizing that Baba doesn't like him). He enjoys laying on feet. He also enjoys laying between two humans on a bed, which usually results in pulling the blankets off of someone or other (usually me).
posted by jackbishop at 7:23 AM on December 16, 2021 [13 favorites]


the memes have been fuckin lit today

this is the best thing to happen to the internet since that boat got stuck
posted by Jacqueline at 2:37 PM on December 16, 2021 [7 favorites]


I have been familiar with the "if you don't want your cat to run away, put butter on its paws" thing.

The reason I've heard that one might do this is that it forces the cat to sit and groom itself. Cats will only groom themselves in a space where they feel comfortable and safe. So therefore, this is meant to trick their tiny brains into thinking "Oh, I must feel comfortable and safe here."
posted by webmutant at 7:49 PM on December 16, 2021


Like, do you take a stick of butter and rub it on the cat, or do you use a knife? Is it melted but cooled and you apply it with a brush? Can you use movie theater "butter" topping? Do people who butter their cats install movie theater dispensers in their houses and then move the cats back and forth underneath the nozzle?

There are really more questions being raised by this than being answered.
posted by hippybear at 8:10 PM on December 16, 2021 [4 favorites]




A Jorts tweet from earlier today "If you are worried or lonely today, just try to remember you won’t always feel like this. Two weeks ago I was getting buttered, Jean was a little sick and we didn’t know ANY of you yet" plus photo
posted by hippybear at 10:02 PM on December 23, 2021 [9 favorites]




I have had a deep thought: I think it is very sweet of Pam to want to try to help Jorts get smarter, but...well, how well is that gonna work on a cat? If I were OP, during negotiations I would have requested that Pam float all intelligence boosting ideas past someone first before execution, preferably a veterinarian.

Also thinking Jorts will probably still sleep in the boot tray even with the option of a proper bed because cat, and was amused that OP had no idea the cats even had staff bios, much less a potato pic.

Sad at the loss of the trash sign though.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:14 AM on December 26, 2021


More thoughts: maybe put the cat bed in the boot tray so Jorts gets the idea?

I introduced Mom to this whole thing this morning and Mom just now: "I keep being as dumb as the cat."

Started reading Jorts Twitter in more detail and am impressed by the other crafts people have come up with.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:00 AM on December 26, 2021


Oh yeah, and the idea of trying to make a dumb cat smarter sounds like an excellent book idea.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:02 AM on December 26, 2021


MetaFilter: I have had a deep thought... More thoughts.... Oh yeah....

(I am infinitely guilty of this, so this isn't a call-out.)
posted by hippybear at 11:58 AM on December 26, 2021 [1 favorite]


I just spent a good 45 min reading the very pro-labor, anti-cop Jorts Twitter and could not be more delighted.
posted by HotToddy at 1:46 PM on December 27, 2021 [3 favorites]


Yeah, what happened is I was posting off the phone and if I make something too long, odds are pretty good that something crashes and loses it all :P

The Jorts Twitter did amuse me all day yesterday and I kept reading stuff off of it to those in my vicinity.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:24 PM on December 27, 2021


Another, final update posted to Reddit, with not much news if you follow the Twitter account. From the 17th or so.
posted by Pronoiac at 6:01 PM on December 31, 2021 [2 favorites]


In other cat/butter news:
Sean Leahy@thepunningman

wife: Can't we just buy a bigger catflap?
me: [buttering the cat] We're not made of money, Karen

12:23 PM · Jun 12, 2015·TweetDeck
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:37 AM on January 1




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