The study (the 103rd of its kind) involved animal wrangling 20 cats, who volunteered so we humans finally “get it” that no other animal is like them. No longer forced to live a life of misunderstood head butting and lap kneading, these felines finally let the — cat out of the bag — and the caterwauling of their owners over the study didn’t get more than a tail twitch.
“We’ve been meowing about this for years but humans are stupid,” stated Oscar, lead cat lab rat. “People try to kennel us in with dogs but dogs are all, like, ‘Pant, pant. We luv you. We luuuve you. Take us with you everywhere. Even if it’s just to the bathroom. Because when you gotta go, so do we.’ Us cats? We’re more like, ‘Yo. Dude. Whatever.'”
One finding, in particular, blindsided researchers. And it made them look at their kitties with something close to Stephen King-like horror.
Researchers call it “The Get.”
Seems the Rolling Stones were wrong when it comes to our feline familiars. Cats always get what they want. They just don’t want you to know you’ve been got.
Over the course of the study, the cats were observed 24 hours a day, seven days a week for an unknown period of time. Over 1,000 pounds of Fancy Feast and 2,000 pounds of kitty litter (no name brand) were used. No word on who put their hands up to clean out the litter boxes.
Scientists recorded the actions of the subject cats, based on a series of role-playing scenarios.
- Supposition: Cats don’t play when you’re away. Volunteers were given a key to the door of the fake “home” set and told to shake the keys vigorously before turning the lock and entering. In every case, the subjects levitated up from their cat nap, which usually (but not always) took place in a basket of fresh-out-of-the-dryer clothes. At blazing speed, they pounced on the laptop to delete their history of the cat chat site, “Frisky Feline Foursomes.” This was followed by a quick hide of their burner phone inside a stuffed Garfield sitting on the sofa. No one needs to know how many minutes they spent talking to “1-900-KitKat.” Then a relocation of their cat dish to the middle of the kitchen floor, where the volunteer was sure to stub their toe. Then a leap to the top of the table where they assumed the “position” — heads pointed directly at the door, tails curled around their paws, whiskers quivering in anticipation.
Conclusion: Cats are into play in a big way. Especially if it’s kinky play. But it’s just a way to pass the time because the food bowl is empty.
- Supposition: Cats do the rub-luv as an expression of affection. Volunteers entered, and the cats bounced to their feet, making pitiful meowing sounds, while staring directly into the eyes of the volunteers. Although the volunteers were instructed to ignore the actions of their cats every volunteer rushed over and began to rub ears. This ear rubbing quickly transitioned to full-body stroking, with the volunteer bending ever closer whispering words like, “Hey there, sweetie. Momma’s so happy to see you! Are you happy to see me? Did you miss me? Huh? Huh?” When the volunteer’s voice could go no higher, the cats started in with some head-butt action. This lasted until the volunteers began to sweat under their coats, and cat fur got all up in their noses, at which point the cats rolled away and began to lick everywhere the volunteers hands had touched them. All but one volunteer leaned into their cats, engaging in full-facial rubbing. The one volunteer who abstained did so because they saw a not-quite-dead mouse on the floor and promptly fainted.
Conclusion: Cats rub up against you to push you closer to the kitchen because their food bowl is empty.
- Supposition: Cats want you to watch them all the time. At 6:30 pm, volunteers were instructed to stand and move quietly into the mock-up galley kitchen, where they found a can of Fancy Feast Chicken & Giblets, and a can opener. As soon as the volunteers touched the can opener, the cats were overcome with a feline frenzy and began a figure-eight dance move that would do Beyonce proud. Researchers found that the optimum time from opening the can to delivery to the cat dish on the floor, was about 12 seconds. Any longer and the cats began to meow in stereophonic sound while clawing their way up to the counter by way of the volunteer’s legs.
Conclusion: Cats could care less if you see them or not. As long as you see their food bowl is empty.
- Supposition: Cats play to be closer to their human. Volunteers were asked to cut a four-foot piece of yarn off a ball of wool, wind a few inches of this strand around their hand, and walk backwards, dangling the end of the yarn in front of their cat’s face. The cats played along with seeming enthusiasm. For about two minutes, before getting distracted by a dust bunny under the sofa. Volunteers moved on to a fake mouse. Scientists were fascinated by the cat’s reaction to the mouse. The more the mouse moved, the harder the cats pounced. It was classic prey/predator behavior and very exciting to witness first hand! Until the lead scientist read the side of the box the mouse arrived in to see the words “catnip-enhanced” written in sparkly gold glitter.
Conclusion: Cats will pretend to play for as long as it takes you to notice their food bowl is empty.
- Supposition: Cats knead because they need us. At 11pm, volunteers were instructed to get into their pajamas, use the toilet, and turn on the tap to brush. Once the tap was turned on, the cats leapt to the counter and proceeded to bat at the water pouring out of the tap. The cats made no effort to clean up any water their paw batting had sluiced across the counter. (Did I mention these were all male cats?) Within seconds of the tap being turned off, the cats shot out of the bathroom and on to the center of the bed. Where they proceeded to knead at the duvet cover, with their eyes down to slits, purring loudly. Once under the covers, volunteers found that their cats lost interest in kneading the cover and instead chose to sit dead center on their chests, where they started up kneading again, despite repeated attempts by the volunteers to get them to stop already. This behavior continued until the volunteers sighed heavily, pushed back the covers, and schlepped into the kitchen, in search of another can of Fancy Feast and the can opener.
Conclusion: Cats only need us for our opposable thumbs when the food bowl is empty.
What do these findings show? That it doesn’t matter how much we fool ourselves into thinking our beloved felines are in it for the love, to cats, it’s all about “the get.” They want us to get the food and to get it NOW.
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