I didn’t think they were that intelligent.

Filed under: @ 11:16 am

Our cats sleep at in a different room than we do at night. The cats sleep separately from us for a few reasons. The first of which is that cats don’t tend to sleep at night and humans like to. There’s far too much of the “stomp stomp stomp stomp…..ppppprrrrrrrrrrrrr……Ooo! What’s that on the headboard? I wonder if I can eat it! WAIT! MONSTERS UNDER THE BLANKETS, MUST POUNCE AND KILL THE MONSTERS UNDER THE BLANKETS!” train of thought to make sleeping in the same room, let alone the same bed, with cats too rewarding.
There’s also the fact that Andrew sleeps rather like a tilt-a-whirl which means that any other creatures in the bed would sleep with ME rather than with US and I like to do things like -say- breathe oxygen rather than the hair of the cat heavily asleep on my chest at night.

So that having set the scene, allow me to recount the following.

We were putting the cats away the other night. Usually the cats get herded into the basement and we’ll spend a few minutes petting or playing with them before we turn in.
Pet a cat, it’s good for your blood pressure.

So we’re in the basement talking with the kitties when I spy a spider trundling across the floor. Now y’all will know that I’m not a big fan of spiders. In general I’m willing to let them alone so long as they don’t get too close to me or startle me, but spiders in the basement have the unfortunate classification of “cat amusement” and so I pointed out the spider to the cats.
Flitter is, by far, the better hunter of the two. Pogo is interested in bugs, but generally only because he can sing at them, then stomp on them and walk away when they stop moving. Flitter likes to be sure that a bug is actually not moving anymore then she’ll eat it. This is a big benefit.

Pogo took his traditional poke or two at the spider, but then Flitter muscled in and actually stomped on it.
A few seconds pass and Flitter lifts her foot.
On the floor is what appears to be a ball of mooshed spider. It’s not moving anymore so Pogo walks away. Flitter pokes it, sniffs it, then looses interest.
Unwilling to pick the danged thing up myself, I continue trying to engage Flitter’s interest. No joy.
The ball of mooshed spider just sits there. Both cats wander away.

At which point the ball of mooshed spider, rather like the battle droids in the Star Wars prequels (probably the only thing I will ever find to be notable or quotable about those hideous movies), unfolds itself and goes scuttling off again.
The spider was playing dead! It was actually waiting until the threat had passed it by then running like hell to escape!
I didn’t know that something that is mostly legs and a hydraulic system could be capable of semi-intelligent (or at least something higher than instinctual) thought like that.

Unfortunately for the spider, my higher intelligence cats were capable of learning from the experience, so when Flitter stomped on it and it folded itself up into a ball of “mooshed” spider again, she hung around until it unfolded itself then she stomped it and ate it (good kitty!).

But it was pretty cool all things considered.

3 Responses to “I didn’t think they were that intelligent.”

  1. Dalek Says:

    Oh, the mighty bug-hunters! I’ve seen spiders pull the play-dead trick. It never fooled the J-cat, but it would probably stump M. No idea if the kittens would fall for it.

    How’s the garden?

  2. Joe Says:

    Trish and I do not allow Princess on the bed because of Dog allergies. Though, if she were allowed on the bed we would probably have similar problems of nocturnal animal activity.

    That said, putting Princess to bed is very different from your experience with the cats. When it is time for bed Princess gets a final one-half block walk and potty break. After the walk, Princess typically runs over to Trish for a final night-night then scampers off to her kennel in the kitchen where she waits for her bedtime cookie and the kennel to be shut.

    The funny part is, if Tricia and I stay up extra late Princess will stand by the Kitchen door and yawn dramatically to let us know that “Its Time for Bed!!” Also, if I have walked Princess but get sidetracked before I can give her her cookie she will come out of the kitchen after a minute or two and give me her “Are you forgetting something?” face.

  3. Margaret Says:

    The funny part is, if Tricia and I stay up extra late Princess will stand by the Kitchen door and yawn dramatically to let us know that “Its Time for Bed!!”

    We get the same thing. If we’re “late” for bedtime Pogo will wander around singing, will bring me toys, and, in a final attempt to attract our attention, start chasing his sister around the house and clotheslining her causing much ruckus.
    It’s easier to put the cats to bed first and then go on with whatever else we were doing just to avoid the kitty chaos.

    How’s the garden?

    I got a very decent harvest of potatoes, more squash than I was expecting, my green beans didn’t do poop, but the purple beans and the runner beans did well. I didn’t get *one* *single* large pumpkin even though I planted the darned things everywhere. I’ve got a lot of pumpkins ranging from small to teeny, but none of any size.
    Right now? Still seeing if I can get a fall crop of peas (unlikely), I’ve got cabbages and carrots in the ground and the rest of it is sitting waiting for the leaves to start falling so I can mulch everything and be done for the season.

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