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You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can’t Tuna Cat… or Can You?

Have you ever heard the expression, “It’s like herding cats”?  Why do you think that expression exists?  Could it be that cats, unlike their canine counterparts, typically could care less if you want them to do anything.   Usually you do well enough to get a cat to come when it’s time to feed them.  And, just the opposite, most dogs can’t wait to greet you at the door, with tail wagging so expressively that their whole body shakes with enthusiasm, including the occassional tinkle.

Well, I’m not sure if our cats have decided to “disown” their feline natures, or if it’s because we treat them as if they are human, but our cats seem to behave more like dogs than than their species would usually ever admit to.

Their typical aloofness has been replaced by them either greeting us at the door, or racing down the stairs upon our arrival, from their comfortable afternoon nap and begging for our attention.  What?  Cats never beg, it is completely beneath them.   (Maybe this could be explained better by Jeane Nevarez, owner of two cats, who has done a great review of the book, The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats, by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson.)

 So, there they are, all mingling around the front door, brushing against us and wrapping their tails around our legs until we bend down and pet each and every one of them.   Ahh… to be loved like a dog owner!  The feeling is mutual and we return our love by showering them with praise and more pets than they could possibly want.  My wife excels in this area much more than me, but none-the-less, between the two of us, each cat is showered in love, giving them a sense of contentment no dog could ever realize.

What is also very interesting, to get to the meat of the title, is that I have managed to train our cats.  Yes, it’s true.  Let me explain.  Each night when it is time for my wife and I to retire, from blogging in the living room, and head to our bedroom upstairs, their is a mass exodus from our present quarters as most of them come running up the stairs, vieing for position to come racing into the bedroom with us as we settle down for the night.  More than once, she or I  have almost fallen up, or sometimes down, the stairs due to our cats perfect placement of themselves right where our next step is due to come down. 

 Once in the bedroom, I have actually now trained them that the bedroom is for sleep.  If they can’t settle down, then they must leave the bedroom and return only once they have settled down.  Of course, at first, since they have just burst up the stairs, their mere momentum of entusiastic bounding makes it difficult for them to settle down.   So, I tell them to get on the bed, to which they heed.  But soon, curiousity will get the best of one of them and they jump down from the bed to satisfy their urge, trying to figure out if that is a real mouse in the corner or just  a shadow of the curtains dancing in the breeze of the fan.

I give them one chance to get back on the bed, or be put out.  They know this because as soon as I get up to put them out, they race back toward the bed and resume their position.  Occasionally, one will jump down for a second time and sure enough, as soon as I get up, back to the bed they race, usually to bed down for good. 

However, lately, they have started making the choice.  They know the rule, no playing once in the bedroom, but sometimes, they are just still way too excited, so they consciously make the choice when I get up, to run towards the door, to be let out, rather than being put out.  They do their running around, outside the bedroom and when they are ready, they come back and let us know and in they come where they head direclty to the bed and settle down with the others.

Who knew, you could train a cat?  Have you ever experienced anything like this?  To find out more about me and my family, click on the About Me page at the top.

10 Responses

  1. I loved this hilarious and well written article. The only thing I have ever been able to train my cats to do is to come into the house at night. The key here is never to leave food out for a cat or a dog that you want to train. Food is served only twice every day. As soon as dusk falls they return, eat, go outside again to do their business and then come back in to sleep.
    Best wishes for happy blogging.

  2. That’s funny. I’ve trained my cats- they come to their names (although one cat comes no matter which feline name I call; the other reponds only to his own) and will sit on command for treats or dinner. The second cat learned this from a dog he used to live with, and first kitty has picked it up. Smarties! Thanks for the mention.

  3. @timethief: Thanks for the compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed the story and can relate.

    @jeane: No Problem. I love that about your cats. Yes, they are smart. I think all cat people agree that cats are very smart. This must be why they seem so difficult to train; they know what is going on. lol

  4. Really neat article..I find it really interesting that you can actually train cats..pretty cool ….

  5. @dani: I thought so too. Thanks for the comment!

  6. I am totally a cat person. I have 2. It sounds like you have your cats trained better than I have my kids trained! My cats are not trained but they don’t do anything that is a nuisance anyway. One of our cats is more like a dog, like you mentioned. She greets me at the door and follows me when I go for walks. She also likes to wallow in the dirt. I always think of Pet Sematary and the cat who “came back” from the grave when I see her coated in dirt. Cute and interesting article!

  7. @robin: Thank you for the comment. I am glad that you enjoyed the article. It’s fun to see that you can relate with your cat. Nothing like a cat wallowing in the dirt. That’s funny!

  8. We SO have the same issue! Our cats are 14 and 1 so obviously the 14 year old climbs up in the bed at night and settles in….in the middle of course. The 1 year old usually gets wound up at 10pm! It’s taken us weeks but she’s finally learned that if she brings a toy to bed it will be confiscated and hidden under a pillow! It takes her a bit but she finally settles down. Of course in the mornings she’s a snuggle monkey and has to be held whilst we’re making tea….she wakes up slow!

  9. […] You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can’t Tuna Cat, Or Can You? […]

  10. […] You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can’t Tuna Cat…or Can You?   […]

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