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Rhyme or Reason
By LYNDA WARD


KITTEN RULES
1. As a kitten, you must greet any other adult feline or human
a. this means giving the intimate “family member” forehead to forehead head-butt
b. if the cat or human is only an acquaintance, a sideward rub is appropriate; this may be
accompanied with
i) a pleasurable tail quiver if you like them
ii) purring if you really like them
iii) kneading your paws to show pleasure
c. if you don’t really care and the person needs only polite acknowledgment, feel free to just
gallop past them or attack and climb their leg and run off.

2. Greet humans with cute romping behavior, quivering, rubbing, and don’t forget to purr as loud as you can (it really turns humans to putty).

3. Toileting should be done outside of the areas you eat, drink, or sleep.
a. this may be an area you are taught to use, like a litterbox
b. when in doubt, use an area or surface you are familiar with such as the potting soil of
favourite plants, the flower bed or garden area (or better yet the neighbors porch plants...
especially if they are grumpy people), a nice throw rug near the litterbox adds some diversity to
the routine too

4. Somewhere between six to about ten weeks of age you should learn social skills with your peers. This should include practice of:
a. greeting other cats by approaching from the side or at an angle (be sure to sometimes
practice hunching your back and bouncing)
b. glance at or glare at one another
c. circle around and repeat any inspection S-L-O-W-L-Y
d. break into play or mutual activity
e. ritualistically threaten any cat that does not participate in this type of behavior
f. yowling or screaming littermates should teach you to stop and be gentle or play will end
5. You must follow a hierarchical order. Cats are at the top, period!
6. Older or top ranking cats will usually:
a. sleep in the best spots
b. stroll around regally
c. will eat first
d. will do what ever they want, when ever they want
e. have the best scratching posts
f. warn you with slightly folded back ears and a glare if you start to get out of line
g. reprimand you with a hiss or yowl and a bop with their paw

7. Eye contact:
a. You must never hold the gaze of a strange animal unless you want trouble most will consider
it disrespectful, so glance sideways first
b. Humans do not understand this and will often break this rule. Just give them your most regal
look and understand that they are a bit mentally deficient!
8. Since you are the queen or head tom you own everything. If you are prevented from reaching your family or anything else by a door, or other barrier, something is wrong! Proper response for help in these matters is to:
a. meow a little
b. yowl, and do it really loud
c. scratch at the barrier
d. learn to open doors with your paws
e. or sit back and evaluate and then go demand a human help you
9. Your diet should be a good, consistent one. Once you finish nursing, your mom will bring your live animals so you can learn how to hunt and kill. Your human grandparents will usually help her by giving you gruel or kitten food.
Rules about food:
a. Since you are competing for food with your littermates, eat as fast as you can and step in
the food to make sure you have the advantage.
b. Make sure everyone knows that you enjoyed it by getting it all over your face, paws and fur.
Jump onto a human lap, after you have food everywhere, to clean yourself.
c. Go use the litterbox immediately or within 5 to 15 minutes after eating.

10. Dietary Notes: Food not purchased from pet stores, feed stores, or veterinarians is not too good for you since it contains more fillers, dyes, and sugars. Humans may purchase your food elsewhere because it is more convenient or because they think it is cheaper. Usually they pay more since those foods have fancy packaging, and gimmicks such as toys, audio tapes or coupons. You can live on it but:
a. Poor quality food will make you have looser stools and potty more.
b. Stools will smell more and the litterbox will have dried poop on the sides.
c. You will have to eat a whole lot more to obtain the nutrition you need.
d. The sugars and fillers will make you more hyperactive and unruly.
e. You will have more gas to torture your people with.

11. You should calm down when:
a. you are quietly stroked on the chest, under the chin, behind the ears, or at the base of the
tail
b. you are in the room with the rest of the family, after “riot hour” or eating.

12. You should get crazy when:
a. you are being restrained
b. your stomach is being stroked

13. Everything is either reinforcing or reprimanding.
a. Rewards are attention through sound, eye contact, posture, and physical contact.
b. Reprimands are attention through sound, eye contact, posture, and physical contact.
c. Note a & b are the same.
d. If you are trying to get attention, and you do, consider it reinforcing and continue or increase
your intensity.

14. You will learn faster with short, quick lessons. If you are asked to repeat a successful performance while you are learning, misbehave or do not do it as well the next time. In fact, to have more fun, do it once to show your human you know it and then ignore them!

15. Your daily assignment is to run around and make as much noise as you can anytime your human is trying to sleep or nap. Riot hour is best done just before or after sunrise or around dusk and in the middle of the night.

16. All good kittens will:
a. climb up anything (don’t forget curtains, furniture, pant legs, nylons, etc.,)
b. pounce and attack EVERYTHING (stationary or moving objects, ankles are especially fun since
you get a nice ride!)
c. get into everything (cupboards, drawers, closets, washers, dryers, refrigerators, crawl spaces,
trash cans, etc.,)
d. ambush your human (bathtub hiding, crouching behind objects and just charging in from
another room are some ways to do this)
e. make toys out of any object (bags, boxes, milk rings, etc.,)
f. chew and shred things (electrical cords, plants, toilet paper, furniture, etc.,)

17. When learning hunting behaviour, grab on with your front paws and mouth and kick with your back feet.

18. While practicing hunting, use live insects, reptiles or other creatures. Be sure to:
a. talk to them about it first, through the window, using the special cat chatter
b. after catching them, let them go and recapture them for additional practice
c. bring them back to your human as a gift and be sure to:
i)leave them in a place where they will be seen (like on the bed)
ii)keep them alive to show off to your human

19. Naps and long snoozes are best done:
a. in your human’s favour rite chair
b. in the middle of the biggest bed
c. anywhere in the sun
d. precariously perched off a ledge or something similar
e. in a variety of strange poses or contortions
f. during the day so you can stay up all night playing

20. It is your job as a kitten to:
a. instill joy in humans around you
b. get into everything
c. make toys out of everything
d. explore with your mouth
e. wonder at each new experience or encounter
f. go 100 miles per hour and then drop into an instant sleep to recharge so you can do it all over again.
(as seen on Our Cats message board, sent in by A. Armit, Knutsford)


Wrapping Presents (With a Cat)

1. Clear large space on table for wrapping present.
2. Go to wardrobe and collect bag in which present is contained, and close door.
3. Open door and remove cat from wardrobe.
4. Go to cupboard and retrieve rolls of wrapping paper.
5. Go back and remove cat from cupboard.
6. Go to drawer and collect transparent sticky tape, ribbons, scissors, labels, etc.
7. Lay out present and wrapping materials on table, to enable wrapping strategy to be formed.
8. Go back to drawer to get string, remove cat that has been in the drawer since last visit, and collect string.
9. Remove present from bag.
10. Remove cat from bag.
11. Open box to check present, remove cat from box, replace present.
12. Lay out paper to enable cutting to size.
13. Cut the paper to size, trying to keep the cutting line straight.
14. Throw away first sheet because cat tried to chase the scissors and tore paper.
15. Cut second sheet of paper to size by putting cat in the bag the present came out of.
16. Place present on cut-to-size paper.
17. Lift up edges of paper to seal in present, wonder why edges now don’t reach, and find cat between present and paper. Remove cat and retry.
18. Place object on paper, to hold in place, while cutting transparent sticky tape.
19. Spend next 20 minutes carefully trying to remove transparent sticky tape from cat with pair of nail
scissors.
20. Seal paper down with transparent sticky tape, making corners as neat as possible.
21. Look for roll of ribbon; chase cat down hall and retrieve ribbon.
22. Try to wrap present with ribbon in a two-directional turn.
23. Re-roll up ribbon and remove paper that is now torn, due to cat’s enthusiasm in chasing ribbon end.
24. Repeat steps 12-22 until down to last sheet of paper.
25. Decide to skip steps 12-16 in order to save time and reduce risk of losing last sheet of paper. Retrieve old cardboard box that you know is right size for sheet of paper.
26. Put present in box, and tie down with string.
27. Remove string, open box and remove cat.
28. Put all packing materials in bag with present and head for lockable room.
29. Once inside room, lock door and start to re-lay out packing materials.
30. Remove cat from box, unlock door, put cat outside door, close door and re-lock.
31. Lay out last sheet of paper. (Admittedly this is difficult in the small area of the toilet, but try your best!)
32. Seal box, wrap with paper and start repairs by very carefully sealing down tears with transparent sticky tape. Now tie up with ribbon and decorate with bows to hide worst affected areas.
33. Label, then sit back and admire your handiwork, congratulating yourself on making good of a bad job.
34. Unlock door, and go to kitchen to make drink and feed cat.
35. Spend next 15 minutes looking for cat, before coming to obvious conclusion.
36. Unwrap present, untie box and remove cat.
37. Retrieve all discarded sheets of wrapping paper, feed cat and retire to lockable room for last attempt, making certain you are alone and the door is locked.
38. At time of handing over present, smile sweetly at receiver’s face, as they try and hide their contempt at being handed such a badly wrapped present.
39. Swear to yourself that next year, you will get the store to wrap the darn thing for you.
(N. Mays, Doncaster)

 

Welcome to Lynda Ward’s ‘Rhyme or Reason’, a regular column devoted to feline related sayings, poems, rhymes, limericks and ditties (these can be by you, or even by your cat or another animal). You’ll receive a free 2kg bag of James Wellbeloved premium cat food if your item is published (5kg if it’s chosen as the ‘Star Turn’) and it can relate to any aspect of cats and cat ownership. So don’t delay, start racking your brains for those serious, funny or wise words!

Contributions should be e-mailed to Lynda at lyndaward@pettradesolutions.com faxed to 01773 540703 or posted to Lynda Ward, c/o Our Cats, with your full postal address.