Saturday, March 3, 2012
Caturday: My Cat the Supergenius
So, my booth at the Arts Market is coming along...although it's not nearly in the state I want it to be, yet. It's surprisingly slow going when you have to schlep all your tools, supplies, merchandise, etc. on the subway an hour each way. But in the process of getting things in order, I realized just how smart my cat Birch is.
See, one day I was sitting on the couch making signage for my booth, and I had paper and paint and foamcore board and wire and scissors and god knows what else spread all across the floor at my feet. Birch - who had been asleep beside me - woke up and went to jump onto the floor, and I quickly stuck my hand out to stop him and said "Dude, don't do this right now, you'll mess up Mommy's supplies."
Birch's expression very clearly said "Well what the fuck am I supposed to do?" so I told him "You can go around, like this" and drew an imaginary line around my heap of art supplies with my finger. Birch immediately hopped down and followed the exact path I'd mapped out for him to go to the kitchen. After he'd had a drink of water, he came to the kitchen doorway and paused uncertainly, looking at me like "now what?" so I drew another imaginary line back to the couch and patted the cushion beside me and he followed my unspoken directions again.
At the time, this exchange felt totally natural to me: my cat had an issue, he mentioned it to me, and we negotiated a solution, simple as that. But when I stopped and thought about it afterward, it occurred to me that these sorts of interspecies conversations are probably not standard. And I'm no expert on feline psychology, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure expressing the sentiment "tell me how I'm supposed to get to the kitchen with all this crap strewn across the floor" with a single look and understanding the concept of "pointing" pretty much makes Birch the Stephen Hawking of cats, or at least the Carl Sagan.
I used to believe that Birchy isn't very bright. I mostly based this belief on the fact that he'll do the same annoying thing fifty times in a row, even though I punish him; it seemed like he must be too dumb to comprehend the simple cause-and-effect of "putting my paw on Mommy's dinner plate makes her yell and push me." Now it's dawning on me that he totally knows he's making me mad, but just doesn't give a shit.
So he's not just a genius, he's an evil genius. I should probably start locking him out of the bedroom while I sleep.
Tell me about your genius animals!
You can purchase adorable original paintings of kitties - both evil and non-evil - in my Artfire store. Go see!