Allow Me To Rephrase That….

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 4:14 pm

For some time now I have wanted a cat that fetches.

This desire came to light after meeting our friends Jaunthie and Fisherbear‘s cat Milo, who is not a cat at all but rather a four-month-old puppy in a cat suit. Milo is slavishly devoted to people, which is why I assert that he is basically a dog in drag.

Now, I’m not one of those people who claim that cats are cold, distant creatures with no regard for humans unless they’re wielding a can opener; that’s bunk. A conviction espoused primarily by those whose entire history with cats comes down to the undersocialized, possibly abused/neglected pet of a psychotic former roommate. On average cats are, in my experience, as loving and sociable as the average dog. It depends partially upon their baseline personality, but mostly on how they are raised, just like everybody else.

I don’t want to speak at too great a length on the subject of dogs and dog lovers, but it seems to me that a good chunk of the reason that dog aficionados feel that cats are not as affectionate as dogs is that cat do not make overt, service-oriented demonstrations of their affection. Cats do not, as a rule, bring one one’s pipe and slippers. Cats do not express their territoriality by charging to the door and emitting an avalanche of cacophonous bellows whenever the UPS guy rings the bell (a trait the absence of which is a source of boundless joy and celebration for me). Cats do not in general enjoy long walks tethered to their owners, during which they may disseminate their biochemical autobiography upon every bush, car tire and telephone pole within reach.

And, again in most cases, cats do not play “fetch”.

It was only when I saw Milo charging across the living room floor after a toy and trotting back to his owners with it in his mouth to drop it at their feet that I ever really thought about teaching a cat to play fetch. And, in fact, no one had taught Milo to fetch: he came up with it all by himself. How cool is that?

Now our newest pair of cats, Flit and Pogo, have learned the game as well. Only thing is, having a cat that fetches can also have its drawbacks, something I had never suspected. Chief among them being that they never ever ever get tired of it. A cat will gambol headlong after its favorite jingly ball or catnip mouse, and canter back to you with it, head and tail held high, to drop it at your feet again and again and AGAIN, until your arm muscles grow slack, your joints freeze and you pass out from dehydration or sleep deprivation. Then the cat’ll probably nom on the webbing between your thumb and forefinger until you come to and throw the thing again.

This can be a real time-consumer when you have other things to do, like earn a living, prepare a meal, craft a life, etc. Case in point: I was stumbling around the kitchen this morning trying to figure out which was the coffee maker and which was the toaster, lest I end up toasting my beans and soaking my bagel—again. Flit had found her Day-Glo pink jingle ball—an Xmas present from us—and was batting it around the kitchen floor, trying her very best to get stepped on so that I would feel guilty and throw the ball down the hall….or better yet, down the stairs.

For the moment, I was having none of it. I had more pressing things like nutrition and stimulants on my mind. She kept at it gamely, eeling around my feet, swatting the ball back and forth between her paws, making insistent little beeping noises as if to say, “Gosh this is fun! I’m having a blast! Don’t you want to come play too? It’s ever so enjoyable! Oh just try it you won’t regret it just pick up the ball and throwitthrowitthrowit JUST THROW THE BALL DAMMIT—”

Finally I’d had all I could take. “What’s wrong with you?” I yelled. “Can’t you amuse yourself for even twenty minutes? When I was your age I could play with myself for hours at a time!”


At that point I should have just gone right the hell back to bed until 2009. Thank God no one was around to hear me. So keep it to yourself, okay?

4 Responses to “Allow Me To Rephrase That….”

  1. Jaunthie Says:

    Hee! My first reaction on seeing the subject of your post was to immediately point it out to fisherbear. I believe I squealed; I know I said “Hey, look, we made the lede on Roo’s blog!” I’m not sure we’re ready for such an honor… :mrgreen:

    OTOH, I do have some good news: if Pogo and Flit are anything like our Milo, they will in fact get tired of playing fetch, and only want to retrieve half-a-dozen times or so before deciding to do something else entertaining, like chewing the ears and tail off of the toy mousie before bringing it back. The bad news is that if they’re like Milo, this will happen when they turn 4 or 5…

    In the meantime, might I respectfully suggest getting yourself a slingshot or other mechanical assist for flinging cat toys?

    Happy almost 2009!

  2. Uncle Andrew Says:

    In the meantime, might I respectfully suggest getting yourself a slingshot or other mechanical assist for flinging cat toys?

    Unless it autoloads, a mechanical assist won’t do much to spare my time or my sanity. On the other hand, making a tiny trebuchet for flinging kitty toys has a ring to it, don’t it? Barring that, maybe I could program this to help keep the cats out of my study while I’m working.

  3. Dalek Says:

    The mechanical assist might help you fling toys farther, sparing your aching arm muscles and increasing the amount of “free time” you have between fetches… 😉 More importantly, if you keep 2 or 3 identical toys/flingable objects, you could in theory fling all of them before reloading from the returned stack.

    I followed the link and was torn between amusement and terror. Ye gods! It would indeed be interesting to know what your two kitties made of *that*…not to mention Margaret. :mrgreen:

  4. Marla Meislin Says:

    hi! how’s by you? i quit my job and relocated to the country, north of seattle just outside the town of snohomish, with goats and dogs. decided to go back to school, community college, what a trip. still would really like to catch up with you sometime. have no such blog or website to share, except facebook goofiness. :mrgreen: happy new year.

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