Friday, May 9, 2008

This is getting ridiculous.

I'm a patient cat. I have to be. The humans are oblivious to everything that doesn't directly affect them, as well as LOT of things that do. Let me give you an example. I believe in positive reinforcement, so I give the humans a lot of encouragement when I want them to groom me. I arch into the hand, purr enthusiastically, and roll around so that they can reach all the good spots.

When I'm done, however, positive reinforcement fails utterly. It is never enough to simply stop encouraging them. I'm lucky if they notice when I flick my ears back to say,"Okay, we're done now." A slap on the hand rarely gets their attention, so I usually have to yell. Often, I just have to leave. Sometimes I threaten to bite. Now and then, I do bite. I've drawn blood before. You'd think we wouldn't have to get anywhere close to that level, but there you are. They're oblivious. Sometimes, I think they can't be trained at all, but I keep trying anyway.

We've been moving from mini-house to mini-house for at least six different places now. At each place, we follow the same routine: they spray a comfortable cat-smell around, put out our perch, cover the bed with my favorite fuzzy blanket, and scatter our mats, food dishes, and toys about. Then they act like everything is normal until we get a little bit comfortable. As soon as they see me come out from under the bed during the daytime, they stuff us back into car and and we're off to visit another mini-house. Except for the fact that the humans smell a little different after each time they go out, I'd have to guess that this was some sort of experiment. I'm trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, but it's hard sometimes. I've said it before: torture is unconstitutional.

Even though I try to stick with positive reinforcement, I couldn't help myself. I had to get a little revenge at the last mini-house. It was full of interesting smells and the humans appear to know that they have no sense of smell. They always pay careful attention whenever we taste a smell. Often, they are distressed by the location of the smell, bringing out a whole host of cleaning agents and scrubbing down the area. So this time I waited until after they had their picnic on a bed, then I made a big production of tasting smells on the bed cover. He didn't seem to notice, but she got pretty excited. That bed cover got folded over several times, and then covered up with one of our blankets. And she washed her hands a lot.

Then she had to go and ruin her lesson by getting revenge on me. Don't they know that revenge just begets more revenge? You'd think it would be obvious. I especially liked it under the bed at this mini-house. It was the second place where not only could I get under the bed, but I could also get inside the bottom of the bed. I liked that a lot. So, here's what the human did to ruin it: whenever I came out from under the bed to grab a snack, she held me down and scrubbed me with damp towels. I did not encourage this behavior. In fact, I told her to stop every way I knew. I even bit. Harder than usual. Twice. She still didn't stop.

She always gets it when I bite, which is how I knew that she was just being petty. I would have had to resort to drastic measures if it had continued for much longer, but we left after a ridiculously short stop. The whole stay lasted only three meals.

To add insult to injury, she locked us in the "playpen" for at least an hour before we left. I hadn't even been under the bed, but I got a completely gratuitous wipe-down with not one but two extra-wet towels before she transferred us to the car. You'd think after fourteen years together, my humans might notice that we cats are self-cleaning.

So it came as no surprise that Jasper had to complain--LOUDLY and incessantly--for most of the drive before the humans could be bothered to cover the window. Do they really think we like all that sun and to watch things go flying by like that? It's unsettling, I tell you. But after the window was covered, I had some quiet time to think. I decided that someone had to stop the cycle of revenge.

Now we're at a new mini-house. I can't climb into the bed at this one, but the top of the bed is surprisingly comfortable. This mini-house is also quieter and has a good window. I've resolved to be better than the humans and stick to positive reinforcement. I'm giving both humans a lot of encouragement in the hope that we'll stay for more than two days this time.

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