I have two cats, or better put, they have me. Cats aren’t actually owned by humans. It’s a fallacy perpetuated by dogs that delight in being owned and coming when they’re called.
My cats grace me with their presence when they want, not when I call. They strut through the house with the dignity of royalty. Never mind they were both abandoned as kittens. One was found in a cardboard box on the side of the road, the other wandering the parking lot of a home improvement store. Technically, they have humble roots and should be thankful we took them in and provided a warm spot for their naps.
But they know nothing of technicalities or humility. They are cats. And as such, they are assured, without any hint of a doubt, they are the supreme beings of our domicile, the planet and most likely the entire universe. They possess powers and authority incomprehensible to mere humans.
Not only that, they may want to kill us.
Cat research made the news recently when a study compared domestic cats to larger cats in the wild, saying both breeds have strong characteristics related to dominance, impulsiveness and neuroticism. And, both are predators with an instinct to hunt and eat their kill. Some researchers concluded that our cats would kill us, if only they could. Trouble is, we’re too big.
So, although cats are smarter and better than humans in every way possible, in this case, size does matter.
In addition to their extremely honed balance, super-kinetic jumping skills and other worldly hunting abilities (among countless additional attributes) my cats are telepathic. At various times of the day – at their choosing – they sit atop a perch on the cabinet directly in front of the TV and stare with the tenacity and intensity of Spock doing a mind meld. This is because I think they are attempting a mind meld by telepathically sending the message, "Give me all the catnip, simple worthless human."
Unfortunately, as a simple human, I am not as evolved as the feline species and as such have not yet mastered the skill of telepathy. I can only guess what they desire because when I get up to fetch a cup of tea from the kitchen, they follow me greedily and alternate the death stare between their treat dish and yours truly.
Which brings me to the most astounding and impressive fact about my elusive and elite felines. Despite their haughty temperament and persnickety demeanor, I’ve taught one of them to perform a cat trick.
He doesn’t exactly perform on demand. He has to be in the right frame of mind and know it is time for his daily dose of nip. Then, and only then, he will shake hands.
That’s right. My cat shakes hands. If I hadn’t witnessed the feat (or better put, paw) with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have thought it possible because as a general rule, my cats don’t do anything I ask of them. They also don’t particularly like people pawing with their paws, which under normal circumstances would make shaking hands with a human a deplorable experience.
It probably is deplorable. I never said my cat enjoys shaking his paw. I said he will do it – for the right price, or in this case, cat treats.
I’m sure there will come a time when his hatred for cat tricks overcomes his desire for treats. At that point he will probably give in to his cat instincts and attempt to kill me.
For now, though, I still have the upper hand.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.