I like to think of myself as an amateur cat behaviorist. All this really means is that I wonder why my cats do anything and read a lot of books on the subject. And while I have answered many of the “What was that for?” questions, things my cats do still confuse me.
For instance, my cat’s favorite toys are fuzzy mice. There’s something about the combination furry thing/slight rattling noise that seems to appeal to her. She plays with them, carries them around, shoves them under the furniture and puts them in food dish. The first three are normal kitty hunting/play behavior, but I don’t understand why the hell she leaves them in the food dish. This would make sense if she would just put them there, eat, then walk away – at least then she could’ve just lost interest – but she deliberately puts them in the bowls. We have three cats and three bowls and she will take the time to put a toy mouse in each bowl. One of the other cats, Kyra, hates having mice in the bowl she usually eats from – naturally, this is the bowl where my cat puts them most often. We’ve seen two or three in there at a time. Though no scientific study in the world has ever proved that cats emote the same way we do, mine certainly seems to have a vindictive sense of humor.
Kyra herself is another bundle of fur and what-the-hells. She insists on being ‘tucked in’ at night. At around 9 o’clock every night, she howls until someone chases her into my parents’ bedroom, tosses a throw blanket over her when she jumps on the bed and then turns on the light on top of the chest of drawers. If you fail to do any of these three things, 5 minutes later she’ll be back downstairs howling again. I have no idea why those three things in that particular order – she’s a cat, it’s not like she needs an escort, blanket or nightlight.
The third household perplexity, Maya, only wants to sit on your lap while you’re at the computer and has somehow learned what ice cream sounds like.
And this doesn’t go into the aren’t-you-supposed-to-be-a-carnivore eating habits. My cat, Samus, will eat absolutely anything. This makes sense, since I found her as a starving street kitten, but from her early, varied, try-anything diet she has taken out a fondness for raisins and spicy food. Cats have taste receptors for umami, so that might explain the raisins, but they’re supposed to hate citrus and hot, spicy scents, like chili peppers, so I don’t understand why mine not only ate kimchee flavored ramen, but came back for more. Maya loves ice cream, which I guess isn’t too weird, but she adores strawberry ice cream – the difference between ‘loves’ and ‘adores’ here being the difference between a couple of dainty licks and enthusiastically lapping up an entire spoonful.
I’m sure some of these things may have a reasonable, scientific explanation, but I may never find it.