22

Cats Tell (Some) Secrets

Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. We thought that we would help you humans understand a little more about us cats. So we decided to try to answer some common questions.

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Why do cats spend so much time sleeping in the sun? 

Some of sleep in the sun because it feels so nice on our fur. It’s also nice and warm on cool days. Other cats are partly solar-powered. You can tell who these cats are by their behavior after dark. Regular kitties want to play with their humans before bed then sleep at the same time (more or less). Solar-powered kitties will play a little before bed. But when the lights go out, they turn on the stored solar energy. They race around the house, play with their loudest toys, and try to wake up their humans to play some more. If the humans lock the door, they will stand outside and cry or bang at the door.

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Can cats really use computers?

That’s an interesting question. We don’t like to type. The claws get in the way and our paws are really too wide to be effective. However, we can use Internet sites. For example, if the human has an Amazon account we can watch them sign in and type enough to copy it. As long as there’s a credit card and address registered, all is good. We cannot use Alexa. She’s pretty smart. She knows we’re cats, and cats can’t get credit cards.

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Do cats watch TV?

Occasionally there’s a show about cats or birds that’s interesting. And some of us like sports (the faster ones; cats don’t follow golf). But for the most part humans watch junk about other humans. Humans talk a LOT on TV. If we want to listen to humans talk, we have our own.

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What do cats like to talk about to each other?

That depends on the cat. Some (like Kommando) talk more than others. Generally speaking we talk about why the humans won’t fix the weather so it’s not so cold or hot or wet or snowy. Are there any good clothes around to lay on or paw through? Is there anything good to eat?  Did the humans forget to put anything away that we like to play with or eat? We complain about clumsy humans who trip on us. What’s on Cat TV? Should we tell the humans that they smell weird?

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How do cats feel about sharing the house with other animals (besides the humans)?

It depends on the cat and the other animal. For example, our housemate Horatio Hedgehog isn’t a problem. He has a cage and is pretty quiet. He’s nocturnal, so we don’t hear too much from him. Some sort of small rodent would be acceptable. It’s always fun looking at prey. Same for fish or small reptiles. Another cat or a dog would be totally unacceptable. Three humans and two cats live here. That’s a spare human in case we need him. Other cats prefer to be alone with their human. And some cats are really outgoing and say the more the merrier. We don’t really understand those cats, so we can’t comment.

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Why do some cats like to go out and others don’t?

Most of us like the occasional look outside. Some cats are naturally timid or have had bad experiences and are more than happy to stay inside. Some have complete access to nature and are happy roaming and coming home for dinner and bed. Personally, we don’t want to be snacks for the coyotes or hawks and are happy inside. It all depends on the cat’s personality and how unpleasant it is to be with their human all day, every day.

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Why do cats act so superior?

Because we’re beautiful and smart and don’t ask dumb questions.

That’s all we have time for today. We hope we’ve helped your understanding of cats. If you have other questions you’d like answered in the future, just send them in.

Pictures courtesy of Google Images

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2

At Sixes and Sevens

I love this phrase because it’s just obscure enough that people think they should know what it means. (To be in a state of confusion or disarray.)

This post was intended to be about things that give me pause, but while checking on the phrase’s origin, I found some things to add to the list.

I had thought that the expression referred to numbers in a game of chance that were the riskiest and therefore led the gambler to some confusion about whether or not to make the bet.

That is true, but the better story comes from the possible second origin. I am still slightly at sixes and sevens about the whole thing.

England has something called an order of precedence for their livery companies. A livery company is a trade association and does not have anything to do with horses (which confused me very much the first time I read through the description of the dispute.)

The livery of Merchant Taylors (tailors) and the livery of Skinners were both chartered in 1327. They became the sixth and seventh trade associations in England. There is no surviving record of which was chartered first, but they started fighting about it almost immediately. Wouldn’t they have had to be chartered at the same place? Did someone bribe the clerk to change a date? The English were pretty fussy about their hierarchies.

It got so bad that in 1484 the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Robert Billesden, decided that at the Feast of Corpus Christi (how many know when that is?) the associations would swap places and feast in each other’s halls. It seems to be that skinners and tailors would attract a completely different type of crowd. Perhaps leg of boar one year and pheasant the next? Whiskey and mead? I love the mayor’s title.

The associations still swap places every year. They are still known as liveries. Both are part of the Great Twelve City Livery Companies (the top 12 in the listing). Sadly, the armor makers did not make the cut. English hierarchy remains alive and well in 21st century Britain.

One last note: the liveries maintain the word “worshipful” in their title (e.g., Worshipful Company of Fishmongers – #4). It’s not clear who they were worshipping, God or King. I think it was basically the same at the time. I would guess neither today. We just don’t have that kind of tradition here in the U.S.

Why do medieval English feasts always make me think of a bunch of people sitting around in the semi-dark eating greasy joints of some animal? Somebody there had to be eating the rest of it.

Moving on:

Was there anyone else whose first reaction to last week’s mega-storm on the east coast was to make sure it wasn’t going to hit them before it got to its destination? And be happy that it was going somewhere else?

Do politicians running for President get as tired of listening to themselves as the rest of us do? I think it should be like Family Feud: two candidates go head to head to see who can guess what Americans really want. Then they’ll know what they should promise (well aware that they won’t be able to do it.)

Why would someone come into a mega-store and ask whether we carry Amazon Fire Sticks? Do they not understand the concept behind Amazon?

Also unclear on the concept: the lady who returned her slow cooker saying that it cooked too slowly. (Yes, it did work correctly.)

If an airline can claim that they have arrived on-time even though they have to sit in queue for an hour and a half, why doesn’t that principle apply for arriving for the meeting they scheduled around your flight?

It’s ironic that they originally built Washington, D.C. on a swamp. I think some of the original residents may still be wandering the government halls.

I did not realize that there are Lego sets now that need to be locked down because they cost more than $100.

I think I need to buy one of the tablets they make for toddlers. They look totally indestructible.

How many kids appreciate (or can even see) the color gradations in a 156-color box of Crayons?

Why can you buy (really) inferior brands of chocolate at Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter that are not available the rest of the year? Is it just a sideline for a wax company?

Is your beloved cheap, broke, or chocolate-blind if he/she buys you one of those atrocities? Is it worse to be cheap or chocolate-blind?

Why can’t I find any cards to send for Groundhog Day?

8

What Surprise?

My husband’s birthday is in a few weeks. It is customary in our family to ask the person what they would like. Of course, there is no guarantee the person will get it. Particularly if I have no clue what they are asking for. Thus, this year my husband has given me item name, item description, company name and stock number. If he’d just go on line and enter the credit card information, I’d be all done.

I really enjoy shopping for other people. I think it’s fun to try to find things that fit their personality but are somewhat unique. My dad was always a problem. Not because he had no interests, but because if he saw something he wanted, he’d go ahead and buy it. (We were sure Amazon had a moment of silence when he died.) So we’d get to Christmas and his birthday (two weeks apart) and there’d be nothing that he wanted.

Then he started “saving” gift ideas for me. Sometimes he went as far as to buy the stuff and give it to me to wrap. Totally unacceptable. Fortunately, he loved to read. So I’d spend a lot of time in bookstores looking for the “perfect” gift. That was more fun before the mega-stores closed down the local shops and Amazon shut down the mega-stores.

Now I buy books for my husband and son. They are both highly literate with a wide variety of interests. So it’s safest for me to buy things that I want to read in case they don’t like it. Just kidding. But it was a lot easier to go to the bookstore on Main Street (yes, we really had one before Border’s and Barnes and Noble moved in) and look through things than to go on Amazon.

Amazon reminds me of Google. If I put in the name of a book, I will get the book I want and anything else with that title. (Shouldn’t there be some rule against having two books with the same name? Maybe that doesn’t count if the author’s been dead for a couple of centuries. More ageism.) If I put in the title with the author, I will get all possible versions of that book including the ones that are out of print and they have no access to. (I guess that’s so I’ll know there’s something I might want that’s not available.)

But the results don’t end with what I’ve requested. One time I was looking for a stuffed hedgehog. After looking at some of the ugliest stuffed animals I’d ever seen, the results went to books and toys. Then to pigs. Then to other animals. I stopped looking after that and went to a store.

I used to browse at the mall. One day I realized that the odds of finding something unique at a mega-mall were not all that great. Particularly after I realized that I was seeing the same thing in a variety of materials and prices at most of the stores. Back to Main Street.

I have an aversion to giving cash (or gift cards) as you may have guessed. In the first place, I’d rather not have the recipient know what value I put on their event (wedding, graduation, etc.). Second, in a close group (e.g., family), everyone finds out and expects the same thing. What if I don’t like someone? I could get them something nice at a second mark-down. They’d never know I spent $15 on them while I spent $75 on their sister (who is not marrying the boyfriend who coincidentally just had his divorce finalized a month before the ceremony).

Gift cards are wonderful things if you know the person well enough to know where they like to shop. I have gotten several gift certificates and gift cards over the years to places I never set foot into. Coffee shops (I don’t drink coffee), Wal-Mart (I work at the competition), restaurants (nice place – do you have any idea how much it costs to actually eat there?), fast food (have barely eaten it since I got married – my husband hates it and now it makes me sick). And once again, I usually spend more than I want to because otherwise I feel cheap. I really prefer being cheap, but being stealthy about it.

Back to my husband. He’s been wanting that same stupid thing for over a year now. Wouldn’t be much of a surprise. Hope he likes the alpacas I picked out. They will keep the lawn short and he can sell the wool.