Saturday, 14 December 2013

3 steps to gaining acceptance from your cats

At the end of my first year at uni, my family got two adorable kittens whom we named Poppy and Rosie. Awwww.
The thing was, because I was at uni and therefore not home very often, whenever I did come home they didn't really understand who I was. So, since graduating and moving back home, I've had to ingratiate myself with our two-year-old cats. I know, it sounds like I've set myself an impossible task, but it turns out that there are steps one can take to gain a cat's - well, certainly not love (I'm not completely delusional), but perhaps haughty satisfaction. Here's what I did:

1) Learn cat language
Cats haven't learnt to speak English (although I sometimes like to imagine that they can secretly speak Egyptian), so they have to speak in cat language. This mainly consists of miaowing, purring and hissing, but they also make faces and write coded air messages with their tails.
I read in Life of Pi (and if I read it in there, it must be true) that if a tiger gives you a long, slow blink, it means they love you. Well, presumably this extends to all members of the cat family, so I figured that if I started giving Poppy and Rosie long, slow blinks, they would understand that I was their friend. I'm not really sure if it worked but they often blink at me so I'm taking that as a sign that the feeling is mutual.

2) Remember your manners
Cats are absolute sticklers for good manners. They don't practise manners, as this would be quite beneath their station in society, but they value them in much the same way as a medieval knight might expect politeness from his serfs. 
Therefore, you must always greet your cats and wave goodbye when you leave. In the latter case, they will stare mournfully and reproachfully, indicating that you have sunk in their estimation. This is, unfortunately, unavoidable, and I have counteracted it by rarely leaving the house.

3) Identify yourself as a provider
This should, perhaps, have been the first point, as it is certainly the easiest way to a cat's heart - feed them. If you're the one to feed them in the morning, they'll never leave your side. What's more, if you allow yourself to be manipulated by those enormous eyes every so often during mealtimes, they will see you as a weak target, and therefore favour you (cats will only associate with humans that they can easily bend to their will).
If you view this stance as undignified, then you are not cut out to be a cat owner and should probably return your cat immediately.

Did it work?
The results have been overwhelmingly favourable, and I believe Poppy and Rosie now see me as an acceptable human being to spend time with. Rosie wakes me up in the morning to remind me it's breakfast time and Poppy lets me throw hair bobbles for her to fetch. It's an excellent arrangement (for them, mainly).

If you plan to ingratiate yourself with a cat, never ever ever switch on a vacuum cleaner in their presence. You will live to regret it, if you're lucky...

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