Thursday, October 06, 2011
The Mysteries of Simple Cat
Very recently, the little cat taught me how to play fetch with him. Middle Sister had left a couple of sparkle balls (think pompoms with tinsel) , and little Hob is quite taken with them. One day, I was in the kitchen when he came in with a ball in his mouth, and he dropped it at my feet. I picked it up and tossed it into the dining room, thinking that it would get Hob out of my way. (He gets stepped on in the kitchen at least once a week.)
He tore off after it, and then, to my surprise, he brought it back to me and deposited it at my feet. I threw it again and the same thing happened. And thus, a monster was born--I have to hide the sparkle balls at night or he would want to keep playing. It's ridiculously cute, especially since every once in a while, he will bring the ball to me, and realize as he drops it that it's a sparkle ball and sparkle balls are the most fun ever and then there's five minutes of batting around the ball and chasing it before he finally brings it back to me to throw.
The most interesting thing about the sparkle ball, to me, is that it's made me re-conceptualize how I think about my cat's intelligence. Hob has developed a reputation as "The Simple Cat", largely because he spends a lot of time doing this:
Or getting swallowed by the couch like this:
Here's the thing, though--he's not simple. Our adventures with the sparkle ball have demonstrated a much greater capacity for reason and logic than I would have thought possible. He brought the ball up on to the bed one night (it was about this time that I realized I would need to hide them at night) and accidentally knocked it down the side of the bed, where it fell underneath. He looked at where it had fallen for a few minutes, jumped down, and fished it out from under the bed. A few days later, he knocked it under the stove in the kitchen. Unfortunately, it's too far back for me to fish it out without moving the stove, but every time I go in to the kitchen now, Hob tries to herd me over to the stove, and he shows me how to get the toy out. It never occurred to me that he had that kind of capacity for memory.
He has also taken to putting the sparkle balls in his water dish when I won't or don't play with him. This is fascinating to me because the only other fetching cat I've ever known also did this, although her toy of choice was hair elastics.