Robert Phillips | ACT Author Insights

Feline Tactics

 29 Jul 2017   published by: Robert Phillips

Cats may be smarter than people. (Well, mine has outsmarted me many times). They have many tactics to ensure they get what they want. Feline theology tells them that the great Mama Puss placed humans on Earth to be their servants. The world is their oyster: the mice and birds are intended as tasty snacks.

Two major preoccupations of cats are food and comfort.

To get food, my cat uses several tactics, on a graduated basis:

  • The plaintive mew. ‘Please feed me. I’m a poor starving pussy cat that hasn’t been fed for at least half-an-hour’.
  • The stare. Puss doesn’t say anything. He just stares at me as if to say, ‘you know what I want.’
  • The persistent meow. ‘Feed me! Feed me’. I call puss my randomly-programmed mobile alarm clock: at any time of the day or night, he’s likely to wake me from my slumbers to stagger off to the kitchen and throw something in his bowl.
  • Jumping up on one’s chest and demanding ‘FEED ME!’
  • Being naughty. Getting my attention by jumping up on the table and attacking the Kleenex box or my papers.

Note that cats have built-in price detectors. They can tell when you’ve bought a less expensive brand of cat food, and will turn up their noses accordingly.

As far as comfort goes, humans are under the illusion that they own the furniture that they buy, like sofas and beds. In fact, they are merely keeping them warm until the pet arrives. We go out to work so they can live in comfort.

A favourite feline tactic is to wait until their human has been sitting on the sofa for a while, warming it up nicely. The cat then meows for food. The human gets up and goes to the kitchen, but the cat doesn’t follow them. When the human gets back, the cat has curled up in their nice warm place on the sofa.

As for bed, the favourite feline tactic is to curl up on one corner of the bed, as if to say, ‘I’m only going to take up a little bit of the bed, so you won’t even notice I’m here.’ But as the night goes on and they warm up, they spread out, always across the bed and never along it. They eventually block off at least half of it, usually in the middle, so one is forced to sleep in a narrow strip on the edge.

Another favourite feline tactic of course, is to be cute and cuddly. They can’t help being cute, and their cuddliness is more out of self-interest. They like curling up on a nice, warm human. They also like being patted and scratched behind the ears. Human enjoy patting and stroking them, because of the tactile sensations. So it’s a win:win situation.

There’s nothing quite like the sound of a contented cat purring. It’s probably a smug purr. The great Mama Puss designed humans to appreciate contented cats.