Basic Rules for Cats Who Have a House to Run
Do not allow closed doors in any room. To get a door opened,
stand on hind legs and hammer it with forepaws. Once door is opened, it is
not necessary to use it. After you have ordered an "outside" door opened,
stand halfway in and out and think about several things. This is
particularly important during very cold weather, rain, snow, or mosquito
season. Swinging doors are to be avoided at all costs.
Quickly determine which guest hates cats the most. Sit on that
lip. If you can arrange for a particularly bad "tuna breath", so much the
For sitting on laps or rubbing against trouser legs, select fabric which
contrasts well with your fur. For example: white-furred cats go to black
wool clothing. NOTE: Velvet takes precedence over all other cloth.
For the guest who exclaims, "I love kitties!", be ready with aloof disdain,
apply claws to stockings or arms, or use a quick nip on the ankle.
When walking among the dishes on the dinner table, be prepared to look
surprised and hurt when scolded. The idea is to force your humans to reveal
that they tolerate this behaviour when company is not there.
Always accompany guests to the bathroom. It is not necessary to do
anything -- just sit there and stare.
If one of your humans is engaged in some close activity and
the other is idle, stay with the busy one. This is called "helping"
otherwise known is "hampering". The following are some rules for
When supervising cooking, sit just behind the left heel of the cook. You
cannot be seen and thereby stand a better chance of being stepped on and
then picked up and comforted.
For book readers, get in close under the chin, between eyes and book,
unless you can lie across the book itself.
For knitting projects or paperwork, lie on the work in the most
appropriate manner so as to obscure the maximum amount, or at least the most
important part. Pretend to dose, but every so often reach out and slap the
pencil or knitting needles. The worker may try to distract you; ignore it.
Remember, the aim is to hamper work. Embroidery and needlepoint projects
make great hammocks in spite of what the humans may tell you.
For people paying bills (monthly activity) or working on income taxes or
Christmas cards (annual activity), keep in mind the aim: to hamper! First,
sit on the paper being worked on. When dislodged, watch sadly from the side
of the table. When activity proceeds nicely, roll around on the papers,
scattering them to the best of your ability. After being removed for the
second time, push pens pencils, and erasers off the table, one at a time.
When a human is holding the newspaper in front of him/her, be sure to
jump at the back of the paper. They love surprises.
As often as possible, dart quickly and as close as possible in front of
the human, especially: on stairs; when they have something in their arms;
in the dark; and when they first get up in the morning. This will help
their co-ordination skills.
Always sleep on the human at night so s/he cannot move around.
When a human is attempting to "make the bed", hop on it and curl up in
the middle, or pounce on the sheet the human is trying to rearrange. If the
human tries to ignore you by covering you with the sheets, move around and
try to mess things up. Protest loudly when you're evicted.
Laundry presents many opportunities to hamper (hence the other name for
the laundry basket -- the laundry hamper). Laundry fresh from the dryer is
a perfect bed, since it is warm and soft. As soon as it is put on the bed
for sorting, arrange yourself for a nap. If the human removes you, keep
returning until the laundry isn't warm anymore. Now it's play time. Pounce
on anything the human tries to move around for folding, especially socks and
nylons. For added fun, grab a sock and hide under the bed with it.
This is an important part of your life. Get enough sleep in the
daytime so you are fresh for your nocturnal games. Below are listed several
favourite cat games that you can play. It is important though to maintain
one's Dignity at all times. If you should have an accident during play,
such as failing off a chair, immediately wash a part of your body as if to
say "I meant to do that!" It fools those humans every time.
"Catch Mouse": The humans would have you believe that those lumps under
the covers are their feet and hands. They are lying. They are actually Bed
Mice, rumoured to be the most delicious of all the mice in the world,
though no cat has ever been able to catch one. Rumour also has it that only the
most ferocious attack can stun them long enough for you to dive under the
covers to get them. Maybe YOU can be the first to taste the Bed Mouse!
"King of the Hill": This game must be played with at least one other
cat. The more, the merrier! One or both of the sleeping humans is Hill 303
which must be defended at all costs from the other cat(s). Anything goes.
This game allows for the development of unusual tactics as one must take the
unstable playing theatre into account.
WARNING: Playing games (a) and (b) to excess will result in expulsion from
the bed and possibly from the bedroom. Should the humans grow restless,
immediately begin purring and cuddle up to them. This should buy you some
time until they fall asleep again. If one happens to be on a human when
this occurs, this cat wins the round of "King of the Hill".
"Tag" (Also known by humans as "Charge of the Light Brigade"): Obviously
this game also requires two or more cats, and may include a dog as well.
One cat is "it". The other(s) chase him around the apartment until they
catch up to him. Then follows the "Scrum", after which the cat who caught
the other becomes "it" and is chased around. Great fun, but has the
greatest potential for loss of Dignity from manoeuvres such as the
Non-Carpeted Floor Skid and the Throw Rug Wipe-out. Whenever such a
situation occurs, all feline participants must immediately wash themselves.
Dogs are generally too stupid to do this and may continue to play. In this
case, the dog automatically becomes "it: and should be subjected to the
"Tube Mouse": This is a game played in the bathroom. Next to the Big
White Drinking Bowl is a roll of soft white paper which is artfully attached
to the wall so that it can spin. Inside this roll is the Tube Mouse. When
you grab the paper, the Tube Mouse will spin frantically as it tries to
escape from you. When the Mouse is exposed, it dies of fright and stops
spinning. But that's OK because you now have a great new toy to pounce on,
play with, and shred! Part two of the game is to make the angry human
believe that the other cat did it.
"Fetch": Only dogs will run after a ball or stick that humans throw, take
it back to them, and continue doing this until they drop. As established
earlier, dogs are not bright. A dignified cat may fetch a ball for its
human, but if the human persists in continually throwing the ball away,
assume that the human truly does not want it, and leave it.
Any small item is a potential toy. If a human tries to confiscate it, this
means that it is a Good Toy. Run with it under the bed. Look suitably
outraged when the human grabs you and takes it away anyways. Watch where it
is put so you can steal it later. Two reliable sources of toys are dresser
tops and wastebaskets. Below are listed several types of cat toys.
Bright shiny things like keys, brooches or coins should be hidden so that
the other cat(s) or humans can't play with them. They are generally good
for playing hockey with on uncarpeted floors.
Dangly and/or string-like things such as shoelaces, cords, gold chains
and dental floss also make excellent toys. They are favourites of humans
like to drag them across the floor for us to pounce on. When a string is
dragged under a newspaper or throw rug, it magically becomes the Paper/Rug
Mouse and should be killed at, all costs. Take care, though. Humans are
sneaky and will try to make you lose your Dignity. Note that playing with
shoelaces when the human is trying to tie them is another form of Hampering.
Within paper bags dwell the Bag Mice. They are small and camouflaged to
be the same colour as the bag, so they are hard to see, but you can easily
hear the crinkling noises they make as they scurry around the bag.
Anything, up to and including shredding the bag, can be done to kill them.
Note: any other cat you may find in a bag hunting for Bag Mice is fair game
for a Sneak Attack, which will usually result in a great Tag match.
In order, to get the energy to sleep, play, and hamper, a cat must
eat. Eating, however, is only half the fun. The other half is getting the
food. Cats have two ways to obtain food: convincing a human you are
starving to death and must be fed "now"; and hunting for it oneself. The
following are guidelines for getting fed.
When the humans are eating, make sure you leave the tip of your tail in
their dishes when they are not looking.
Never eat food from your own bowl if you can steal some from the table.
Never drink from your own water bowl if a human's glass is full enough to
The best times to inform humans of your dish's emptiness are when they
are unable to ignore you, such as when they are sleeping or on the toilet.
Should you catch something of your own outside, it is only polite to
attempt to get to know it. Be insistent - your food will usually not be so
polite and try to leave.
Table scraps are delicacies with which the humans are unfortunately
unwilling to readily part. It is beneath the Dignity of a cat to beg
outright for food as lower forms of life such as dogs will, but several
techniques exist for ensuring that the humans don't forget you exist. These
include, but are not limited to: jumping onto the lap of the "softest" human
and purring loudly; lying down in the doorway between the dining room and
the kitchen, the Direct Stare, and twining around people's legs as they sit
and eat while meowing plaintively.
Elixir of Life: Coffee is known to be rejuvenating for both cats and
human. Whenever a human sets a cup of coffee on the floor within your
reach, s/he is showing you great respect and worship. Softly blow the
divine liquid until cool (you may even put your paw in it to make sure the
temperature is just right) and then daintily drink it.
As mentioned above, in order to have enough energy for
playing, a cat must get plenty of sleep. It is generally not difficult to
find a comfortable place to curl up. Any place a human Likes to sit is
good, especially if it contrasts with your fur colour. If it's in a sunbeam
or near a heating duct or radiator so much the better. Of course, good
places also exist outdoors, but have the disadvantages of being seasonal and
dependent on current and previous weather conditions such as rain. Open
windows are a good compromise.
- Scratching Posts:
It is advised that cats use any scratching post the
humans may provide. They are very protective of what they think is their
property and will object strongly if they catch you sharpening your claws on
it. Being sneaky and doing it when they aren't around won't help, as they
are very observant. If you are an outdoor kitty, trees are good.
Sharpening your claws on a human is a definite no-no!
Water would be really great if it wasn't so "WET"! Dripping taps
are the best sources of fresh water in the whole house. Toilets are the
next best (but the water inside must be COLOURLESS and contain NOTHING!)
Therefore it is imperative that any sound of running water be immediately
investigated in case a free drink may be obtained. The bathtub is the best
place to lurk in the bathroom when a human is present. A plaintive meow or
two and perhaps hopefully licking the faucet usually will get most humans to
turn on the tap for you. If the bathroom door is closed, demand entry
noisily (see DOORS). The water dish is to be used only as a last resort in
case the humans leave the toilet lid down and the tub and sink are dry.
- The Vacuum Cleaner:
This appalling Beast is known by many names, "Cat
Eater" being the most prevalent. Normally pliable, agreeable humans will
turn into raging monsters while under its influence, running around the
house sucking up all the carefully shed cat hair and terrorising the feline
residents with evil glee. Nothing can stop it until the influence is over
and the foul device is put back into its closet. All you can do is run and
hide when you hear the engine roar to life and hope that It doesn't find
you. On some occasions, however, the humans are forced to open up the
vacuum cleaner and remove a swollen dusty bag from within. This is its
stomach, and must be destroyed if you can get the chance. Do not worry if
the human yells at you, for the yell is really that of the Beast in pain.
Humans have three primary functions: to feed us, to play with
and give attention to us, and to clean the litter box. It is important to
maintain one's Dignity when around humans so that they will not forget who
is the master of the house.
It is not known why humans like to sleep when it gets dark, just when the
day is young and the masters of the house are fresh and ready for play. It
is known, however, that sleeping humans are boring to be around and that
they occasionally must be roused to attend to our needs, such as to get
fresh food or water or to retrieve a toy that was batted under the sofa.
Almost all of them strongly dislike being dragged out of bed in their
so-called "wee hours". Some will even pretend to be asleep even when we
know they're not, hoping we'll give up and go away. Persistence is the key
to success in any case.
One nearly always successful method of rejuvenating a dormant human is the
"direct approach", namely jumping on the bed and doing one or more of the
following: trampling, licking and/or nibbling any exposed parts, purring,
meowing, head-butting, or playing "Catch Mouse" or "King of the Hill". This
may only result in your being ejected from the bed, but at least you now
have the human's attention. If the human is being stubborn, you may have to
resort to more drastic tactics, such as ripping down posters, rattling
blinds, knocking over and looting a wastebasket, knocking items off the
dresser, or singing at the top of your voice. -Eventually the human will
get up and do what you want, usually employing some bad language while doing
Warning: It is not advised to do this on a regular basis. It will very
likely result in your being "banished" from and denied access to the bedroom
altogether, in which case it becomes much more difficult to get them to
respond to your wishes. Thumping the door or yowling may be initially
effective, but will likely result in being further banished to the basement
or even the kitty carrier! Discretion is thus strongly recommended.
Of course, if the human gets up on his own in the wee hours to go to the
bathroom, you are free to get him to do your bidding while he is too sleepy
to put up much resistance.
Mornings: In order to provide and care for you,. the humans must leave the
domain every morning (usually before you take your first cat nap). To help
them on their way, either yowl loudly, massage their scalps with your claws,
or gently bounce on top of them in bed (see also Games). The best time to
do this is about 24 minutes before their clock begins to blare or ring. We
must protect them from the blaring noise because it could ruin their sense
The vet is the person to whom your human will take you when
you are sick. The place smells funny, there are usually other cats and dogs
in the waiting room, and awful things like needles and pill prescriptions
will happen there. The usual result is that you will get better, which is
good, but you just can't let those humans cat-handle you. The following are
some tips for dealing with vets and medicine.
Unless you are really sick, when you see the carrier come out, run and
hide somewhere inaccessible, such as under the bed or behind a couch. Once
the human finally grabs you, struggle gamely. Splay your legs out so that
it is difficult to cram you into the carrier. If the human is trying to put
you in with another pet, try to allow the other pet to bolt out the door.
In the car, meow plaintively all the way down to the vet's. If possible,
reach through the bars of the portable prison and try to caw the human as
s/he drives. At the vet's, splay your legs and brace yourself against the
carrier's walls if you can so that they can't dump you out easily.
If you are well enough, you must resist attempts to feed you pills or any
liquid medicine. As soon as you hear the pill bottle rattle, hide as
explained in part a). Resist attempts to open your mouth. Squirming is
good. Once the medicine is in, try to spit it out, preferably by shaking
your head vigorously. Refuse any food that looks or smells like it may have
had medicine sprinkled on it. Unfortunately, humans can be really unfair
and put it in tuna. In this case, accept grudgingly. Look aggrieved after
the medicine session is over.
If you have to throw up, get to a chair quickly. If you cannot
manage in time, get to an Oriental rug. If there is no Oriental rug, shag
is good. When throwing up on the carpet, make sure you back up so that it
is as long as the human's bare foot.
Undoubtedly the best way to get attention from a human is to jump
in his/her lap and purr. Few humans can resist because it makes them think
you like them (which may even be true!). Ear scratches, belly rubs, back
stroking: all these and more can be yours. Some cats like this treatment a
little TOO much and acquire the silly name "Lap Fungus". Lap sessions also
provide golden opportunities for shedding -- be sure to take advantage of
clothes which contrast with your fur (see also Guests). Unfortunately,
humans have the annoying tendency to want to get up to do their mundane
activities, like answering the thing that rings, or going to the Big White
Drinking Bowl. Protest this disturbance with accusing looks and plaintive
meows. Some laps may require "softening up" with a little kneading; just be
sure not to use the claws or you may have an unexpected flying lesson!
Humans need to know basic rules. They can be taught if you
start early and are consistent. You will then have a smooth running