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Rules for Cats Who Have to Run a House

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1. Introduction

The following is a manual of guidelines for the busy cat(s) who will have a house to manage after adopting one or more humans. It is, of course, impossible to cover all possible situations, as those humans are always up to some sort of mischief, but the compiler and contributors to this guide have endeavoured to cover as wide a variety of topics as possible. It is important that this document be kept out of the hands of humans, who will undoubtedly find a way to use it to their advantage.

2. Food

In order to get the energy to sleep, play, and hamper, a cat must eat. Eating, however, is only half the fun. The other half is getting the food. Cats have two ways to obtain food: convincing a human you are starving to death and must be fed now; and hunting for it oneself. The following are some guidelines for getting fed.

a) When the humans are eating, make sure you leave the tip of your tail in their dishes when they are not looking.

b) Never eat food from your own bowl if you can steal some from the table.

c) Never drink from your own water bowl if a human's glass is full enough to drink from.

d) The best times to inform humans of your dish's emptiness are when they are unable to ignore you, such as when they are sleeping or on the toilet. If you insist on waking a human at what it considers a "ridiculously early hour" for breakfast, be warned that the human may be as likely to throw you outside or in the basement as to feed you.

e) Should you catch something of your own outside, it is only polite to attempt to get to know it. Be insistent; your food will usually not be so polite and try to leave. If you can't be bothered to eat the food you've just caught, be considerate and don't waste it; it makes a perfect gift for humans! Carefully pick it up and carry it to the human's house and, if the door is closed, leave it on the doorstep. If the door is open, or there is a cat-flap, take it inside and leave it somewhere highly visible. The gift will be even more welcome if it is still alive! Live birds and mice make the best gifts as humans love a good game of chase just as much as you do, although be careful not to help them; it's their gift after all.

f) Table scraps are delicacies with which the humans are unfortunately unwilling to readily part. It is beneath the Dignity of a cat to beg outright for food as lower forms of life such as dogs will, but several techniques exist for ensuring that the humans don't forget you exist. These include, but are not limited to: jumping onto the lap of the "softest" human and purring loudly; lying down in the doorway between the dining room and the kitchen, the Direct Stare, and twining around people's legs as they sit and eat while meowing plaintively.

g) Coffee is known to be rejuvenating for both cats and humans. Whenever a human sets a cup of coffee on the floor within your reach, s/he is showing you great respect and worship. Softly blow the divine liquid until cool (you may even put your paw in it to make sure the temperature is just right) and then daintily drink it.

h) Occasionally there will be disagreements over what you and the humans will deem as edible. The appropriate action, should the stuff in question be too repulsive to ignore, is to bury it. Scratch at the floor and try to drag over objects to cover the offending item. This informs the ignorant human that it really belongs in the litter box.

2.1 Catnip

Most cats think that this strange-looking plant is Food of the Gods and better even than tuna. There are some, however, who are sadly deprived of the ability to enjoy this wonderful treat and will look upon the others with a mixture of confusion and disgust at the utter lack of Dignity of those partaking. If you are one of the latter, please skip to the next section.

Catnip is available in two forms, in the wild as an odd-looking plant that grows in delightfully fragrant, though often rather flattened, patches, and from the humans in a concentrated dried form. Unfortunately, the humans know of our weakness for catnip and will try to hold it out from us, often employing some very ingenious methods to do so. If the humans are careless enough to leave any catnip within reach, it is imperative to get it no matter what you have to tear apart to do so. Otherwise the humans will use it to attempt to coerce us to do things which would otherwise be beneath us.

The greatest hazard of catnip is that it causes those cats under its influence to utterly lose their Dignity. They roll around foolishly, purr at maximum volume, tear around the house at top speed, and do other things no sane cat would be caught doing. Do attempt to control yourself, especially if your humans have a "video camera" and are prone to using it.

3. Water

Water (also known as Cat Solvent) would be really great if it wasn't so wet! Dripping taps are the best sources of fresh water in the whole house. Toilets are the next best (but the water inside must be colorless and contain nothing!) Therefore it is imperative that any sound of running water be immediately investigated in case a free drink may be obtained. The bathtub is the best place to lurk in the bathroom when a human is present. A plaintive meow or two and perhaps hopefully licking the faucet usually will get most humans to turn on the tap for you. If the bathroom door is closed, demand entry noisily (see Doors). The water dish is to be used only as a last resort in case the humans leave the toilet lid down and the tub and sink are dry.

If a human has a sufficiently wide-mouthed glassful of liquid, immediately stick your face into the glass. If the opening is too narrow, dip your paw into the liquid, swirl it around, and give it the taste test. You may be pleasantly surprised to find beer or even milk! In any case, if the liquid is good, continue to sample, but only while your human is distracted. Some of the best water is ornamented with those cold, hard buoyant cubes that bob up and down in the liquid when pressed lightly. If your human protests, lick the condensation on the outside of the glass.

4. Sleeping

As mentioned above, in order to have enough energy for playing, a cat must get plenty of sleep. It is generally not difficult to find a comfortable place to curl up. Any place a human likes to sit is good, especially if it contrasts with your fur colour. If it's in a sunbeam or near a heating duct or radiator, so much the better. Of course, good places also exist outdoors, but have the disadvantages of being seasonal and dependent on current and previous weather conditions such as rain. Open windows are a good compromise.

A) Snoring is not a talent unique to humans; if the cat is sharing a bed with two humans, the well skilled cat can cause one of the humans to be blamed/swatted/smacked for the deed by the other.

B) If your humans don't let you into the bedroom at night, make them suffer for it. Even if they give you a nice warm room of your own to sleep in at night, with a catflap to the outside world, that just isn't good enough. There are several ways of registering your disapproval.

a) Trash the room they give you to sleep in. After all, the humans don't sleep in it, so why should you?

b) Fight noisily with other cats in the neighbourhood, just outside their bedroom window. Make sure that you appear in the morning with as many fresh scars as possible. Spend some time perfecting an aggrieved "Well, I wouldn't have all these injuries if you only let me sleep in the bedroom at night" expression.

c) When they finally rise and take a shower or a bath, locate the appropriate drain pipe and yowl up it. That amplified and disembodied "Meow" is sure to surprise them, as is the length of time you can do this without getting hoarse.

d) When they finally come downstairs, and call for you, refuse to use the catflap to enter the house. There's a perfectly good front door they can open. Of course, if they should anticipate you by opening the front door and calling, ignore them. You should only appear by the front door and yowl once they've closed it again.

5. Play

This is an important part of your life. Get enough sleep in the daytime so you are fresh for your nocturnal games. Below are listed several favourite cat games that you can play. It is important though to maintain one's Dignity at all times. If you should have an accident during play, such as falling off a chair, immediately wash a part of your body as if to say "I MEANT to do that!" It fools those humans every time.

5.1 Games

a) "Catch Mouse". The humans would have you believe that those lumps under the covers are their feet and hands. They are lying. They are actually Bed Mice, rumoured to be the most delicious of all the mice in the world, though no cat has ever been able to catch one. Rumour also has it that only the most ferocious attack can stun them long enough for you to dive under the covers to get them. Maybe YOU can be the first to taste the Bed Mouse!

b) "King of the Hill": This game must be played with at least one other cat. The more, the merrier! One or both of the sleeping humans is Hill 303 which must be defended at all costs from the other cat(s). Anything goes. This game allows for the development of unusual tactics as one must take the unstable playing theatre into account.

Warning: Playing games (a) and (b) to excess will result in expulsion from the bed and possibly from the bedroom. Should the humans grow restless, immediately begin purring and cuddle up to them. This should buy you some time until they fall asleep again. If one happens to be on a human when this occurs, this cat wins the round of King of the Hill.

c) "Tag" (Also known by humans as "Charge of the Light Brigade"): Obviously this game also requires two or more cats, and may include a dog as well. One cat is "it". The other(s) chase him around the apartment until they catch up to him. Then follows the "Scrum", after which the cat who caught the other becomes "it" and is chased around. Great fun, but has the greatest potential for loss of Dignity from maneuvers such as the Throw Rug Wipeout and the Non-Carpeted Floor Skid. Whenever such a situation occurs, all feline participants must immediately wash themselves. Dogs are generally too stupid to do this and may continue to play. In this case, the dog automatically becomes "it" and should be subjected to the Pileup.

d) "Tube Mouse": This is a game played in the bathroom. Next to the Big White Drinking Bowl is a roll of soft white paper which is artfully attached to the wall so that it can spin. Inside this roll is the Tube Mouse. When you grab the paper, the Tube Mouse will spin frantically as it tries to escape from you. When the Mouse is exposed, it dies of fright and stops spinning. But that's OK because you now have a great new toy to pounce on, play with, and shred! Part two of the game is to make the angry human believe that the other cat did it. This is related to another fun game, "Snowstorm", in which you try to make it look like a blizzard has occurred in the room. You can track shreds all over the house for greater enjoyment. Be warned that this variant often results in the coming of the Vacuum Monster.

e) "Fetch": Only dogs will run after a ball or stick that humans throw, take it back to them, and continue doing this until they drop. As established earlier, dogs are not bright. A dignified cat MAY fetch a ball for its human, but if the human persists in continually throwing the ball away, assume that the human truly does not want it, and leave it.

f) "Kibble Soccer": Any number of cats can play. The game begins when the referees go to bed. The player runs to the bowl where the dry cat food is kept, and executes a "place-kick." The player does this by attempting to kick one kibble from the bowl with a paw. Using the nose and tongue ("heading") is allowed, but this is considered bad form. Often the bowl must be tipped, rocked or rattled. Once the kibble is out of the bowl and in play, the player proceeds to bat it around the room as quickly as possible. This is accomplished with short alternating swipes with the front paws, running behind it as it moves (this is also known as the "kibble dribble"). If the kibble gets stuck at the intersection of two walls, the player must attempt to put it back into play with a "corner kick."

If the kibble is still on the playing field after 30 seconds, the player is awarded a point. She is then allowed to eat the kibble, after which she returns to the bowl to put the next one into play. No points are awarded for kibbles that are kicked out of the playing area (under the stove, behind the refrigerator, etc.). These are left for the cockroaches, and other spectators. The player must put a new kibble into play.

For equipment, any dry kibble will work, although Science Diet round kibbles roll particularly well. The referees control the pace of the game by waking up (usually after the first few points have been scored) and imposing obstacles between the player and the kibbles. The referees do this by placing covers on top of the bowl, placing the bowl on a counter top or shelf, or otherwise hiding it. An advanced player is measured by the degree of ingenuity displayed in overcoming the obstacles between herself and the kibbles and resuming the game.

The game ends when all the kibbles are eaten or out of the playing field, or when a referee puts the player in the penalty box.

g) "Rumpus Raising"

Step 1: Warm up by tearing through the hallways and over furniture at high speeds. Be sure to drag your claws and make zzzzzrt noises on the rugs. Furniture that is off limits during the daytime makes great springboards. (Even more fun with two or more participants.) Important style points are gained during this step. 2 extra points if you get a yell from a judge.

Step 2: Find objects that make noise and activate them. Door stoppers that go SPROOOOOOOONGONGONGONG when you run by them, wind chimes and blinds that rattle when disturbed, and loose objects that go thud when they hit the carpet are best. Technical points are awarded in this step. The more complex the device the better. 5 points for knocking over the phone so it goes BEEP BEEP BEEP *Please hang up* BEEP BEEP...

Step 3: Make the loudest possible noise. Glassware and remote controls are useful here. It might be beneficial to slightly open the judges' door before this step. Final creativity points are awarded now.

Step 4: Look innocently at the dog and fish when the judges storm into room and turn on the lights. Pretending to be asleep is good form. 5 bonus points if another pet gets blamed, and 7 points for style if the judges stub, trip or completely fall over the objects knocked over!

h) "Skiing"

This game is played when your human has the newspaper lying on the floor for reading. Run down a hallway toward the newspapers at full speed, leap onto the paper and see how far you can slide. The slippery advertisements are best for this. This game is even more fun if your human is unaware that you are going to play. It can be followed by a good round of "Catch Mouse" (newspaper variant). It can also be played on throw rugs.

5.2 Toys

Any small item is a potential toy. If a human tries to confiscate it, this means that it is a Good Toy. Run with it under the bed. Look suitably outraged when the human grabs you and takes it away anyway. Watch where it is put so you can steal it later. Two reliable sources of toys are dresser tops and wastebaskets. Below are listed several types of cat toys.

a) Bright shiny things like keys, brooches or coins should be hidden so that the other cat(s) or humans can't play with them. They are generally good for playing hockey with on uncarpeted floors.

b) Dangly and/or stringlike things such as shoelaces, cords, gold chains and dental floss also make excellent toys. They are favourites of humans who like to drag them across the floor for us to pounce on. When a string is dragged under a newspaper or throw rug, it magically becomes the Paper/Rug Mouse and should be killed at all costs. Take care, though. Humans are sneaky and will try to make you lose your Dignity. Note that playing with shoelaces when the human is trying to tie them is another form of Hampering.

c) Within paper bags dwell the Bag Mice. They are small and camouflaged to be the same colour as the bag, so they are hard to see, but you can easily hear the crinkling noises they make as they scurry around the bag. Anything, up to and including shredding the bag, can be done to kill them. Note: any other cat you may find in a bag hunting for Bag Mice is fair game for a Sneak Attack, which will usually result in a great Tag match.

d) Ignore anything that appears to be a store-bought cat toy. After all, in the old days, cats had to fashion their own toys. Store-bought toys are an affront to a "real" cat.

6. Supervising (a.k.a. Hampering)

It is well known that humans are incapable of performing even the simplest of tasks without feline supervision and/or assistance. This supervision is absurdly known by the humans as "hampering". If one of your humans is engaged in some close activity and any others are idle, stay with the busy one. It would take a large book to describe all of the activities which need to be supervised, so only a condensed list is presented below.

a) When supervising cooking, sit just behind the left heel of the cook. You cannot be seen and thereby stand a better chance of being stepped on and then picked up and comforted.

b) For book readers, get in close under the chin, between eyes and book, unless you can lie across the book itself.

c) For knitting projects or paperwork, lie on the work in the most appropriate manner so as to obscure the maximum amount, or at least the most important part. Pretend to doze, but every so often reach out and slap the pencil or knitting needles. The worker may try to distract you; ignore it. Remember, the aim is to hamper work. Embroidery and needlepoint projects make great hammocks in spite of what the humans may tell you.

d) For people paying bills (monthly activity) or working on income taxes or Christmas cards (annual activity), keep in mind the aim: to hamper! First, sit on the paper being worked on. When dislodged, watch sadly from the side of the table. When activity proceeds nicely, roll around on the papers, scattering them to the best of your ability. After being removed for the second time, push pens, pencils, and erasers off the table, one at a time.

e) When a human is holding the newspaper in front of him/her, be sure to jump at the back of the paper. They love surprises.

f) As often as possible, dart quickly and as close as possible in front of the human, especially: on stairs; when they have something in their arms; in the dark; and when they first get up in the morning. This will help their coordination skills.

g) Always sleep on the human at night so s/he cannot move around.

h) When a human is attempting to "make the bed", hop on it and curl up in the middle, or pounce on the sheet the human is trying to rearrange. If the human tries to ignore you by covering you with the sheets, move around and try to mess things up. Protest loudly when you're evicted.

i) Laundry presents many opportunities to hamper (hence the other name for the laundry basket, the laundry hamper). Laundry fresh from the dryer is a perfect bed, since it is warm and soft. As soon as it is put on the bed for sorting, arrange yourself for a nap. If the human removes you, keep returning until the laundry isn't warm anymore. Now it's play time. Pounce on anything the human tries to move around for folding, especially socks and nylons. For added fun, grab a sock and hide under the bed.

j) When a human is working at a computer, s/he isn't paying attention to you. Fortunately, this problem is easy to remedy. You can easily obstruct the human's view of the screen with your beautiful tail, or if it's low enough, with your even more beautiful body. Trampling on the keyboard is always good for some attention as well. Pay special attention to the keys marked "Esc", "Del", and "Brk". If you need to nap while supervising your human, good places are the keyboard, on top of the plastic thing with the cord that the humans laughably call a "mouse", or on the human's arms. If the human insists on removing you from these choice locations, there's always the lap. If possible, while in the lap try to drape yourself on one of the human's arms.

k) Guidelines for where to sit or lie down.

1) It is considered bad form to lie on the bare floor, couch, or bed. An exception is made for the human's favourite chair, which you are allowed to sit on no matter what (or who) is there.

2) On a bed, there will often be laundry or clothes lying there. It is your duty to lie on them to get your beautiful fur on them. If there is a choice, choose either the cleanest item or the item which contrasts most strongly with your fur. If your human protests, act cute.

3) It is also your duty to lie in an area that makes your human contort to the greatest extent if s/he wishes to share the bed/couch with you.

4) Even resting on a book or a newspaper on the floor is preferable to just lying on the floor. Newspapers are particularly important to sleep on if your human has them on the floor for his/her reading convenience.

5) Select a chair to sleep on that hampers your human the most. For example, if your human is doing a craft on the kitchen table to prevent your interference, it is your duty to take a nap on the chair your human would like to be sitting in. No other chair at the kitchen table will do.

6) If kicked off any preferred seating, it is of critical importance that you not immediately go about your business. You must either sit still for a time, washing yourself to save face, or lie on the floor to make your human feel guilty. If the human cheats by moving your resting chair and/or sitting in a different one (in a situation such as the kitchen table example above), you may be able to continue hampering by jumping into the human's lap. If the human has to get up to get something and dumps you off, immediately occupy the chair and look smug. Of course, the human will just switch chairs or remove you again. This game can be played for hours.

7. Scratching Posts

It is advised that cats use any scratching post the humans may provide. They are very protective of what they think is their property and will object strongly if they catch you sharpening your claws on it. Being sneaky and doing it when they aren't around won't help, as they are very observant. If you are an outdoor kitty, trees are good. Sharpening your claws on a human is a definite no-no! Some humans come equipped with "jeans", which can be scratched without inflicting too much injury. Attempts to climb up them will result in further attention, albeit perhaps not the kind you wish.

8. The Vacuum Cleaner

This appalling Beast is known by many names, Cat Eater being the most prevalent. Normally pliable, agreeable humans will turn into raging monsters while under Its influence, running around the house sucking up all the carefully shed cat hair and terrorizing the feline residents with evil glee. Nothing can stop It until the influence is over and the foul device is put back into Its closet. All you can do is run and hide when you hear the engine roar to life and hope that It doesn't find you. On some occasions, however, the humans are forced to open up the vacuum cleaner and remove a swollen, dusty bag from within. This is Its stomach, and must be destroyed if you can get the chance. Do not worry if the human yells at you, for the yell is really that of the Beast in pain.

9. Doors

To get a door opened, stand on your hind legs and hammer it with your forepaws and/or yowl. Once the door is opened, it is not necessary to use it. After you have ordered an "outside" door opened, stand halfway in and out and think about several things. This is particularly important during very cold weather, rain, snow, or mosquito season. Protest if the human uses a foot to "encourage" you to leave.

If a human goes into a room, especially the bathroom, and closes the door to exclude a cat, meow pathetically and try to stick your paws under the door to open it. If the human relents, lets you in and then closes the door, immediately demand to be let out. If the human lets you out and closes the door, immediately demand to be let in again. This is especially fun when it's the bathroom and there are guests. This game can be played until the human wises up and hoses you with a squirt gun. Scuttle out of range and wash yourself, to pretend that the assault on your Dignity didn't happen.

Sometimes doors can be opened by cats without the aid of humans. Such doors must be kept open for the cat(s) to investigate within at any time. Swinging doors are to be avoided at all costs; their nickname "Tail-Biter" tells it all.

If a door that is usually kept closed, such as a closet door, is opened, you must immediately rush in to investigate to see if anything has changed since the last time you were in there. Resist the human's attempts to remove you before you have completed your investigation. Protest loudly when the human removes you anyways.

10. Humans

Humans have three primary functions: to feed us, to play with and give attention to us, and to clean the litter box. It is important to maintain one's Dignity when around humans so that they will not forget who is the master of the house.

One way to keep your human healthy is through agility training. You can do this by running ahead of your human, maintaining a distance of about one and a half of the human's paces, and suddenly stopping to clean yourself. If the human doesn't trip over or boot you (a very real hazard, especially from beginner humans), s/he is fit and able to avoid all sorts of danger in his/her world. A bonus from this exercise is that the sight of the human will be very amusing and you can share the experience with your friends on the back fence.

10.1 Waking Them Up

It is not known why humans like to sleep when it gets dark, just when the day is young and the masters of the house are fresh and ready for play. It is known, however, that sleeping humans are boring to be around and that they occasionally must be roused to attend to our needs, such as to get fresh food or water or to retrieve a toy that was batted under the sofa. Almost all of them strongly dislike being dragged out of bed in their so-called "wee hours". Some will even pretend to be asleep even when we know they're not, hoping we'll give up and go away. Persistence is the key to success in any case.

One effective method of rejuvenating a dormant human is the "direct approach", namely jumping on the bed and doing one or more of the following: trampling, licking and/or nibbling any exposed parts, purring, meowing, head-butting, light taps on the eyes, or playing "Catch Mouse" or "King of the Hill". This may only result in your being ejected from the bed, but at least you now have the human's attention.

If the human is being stubborn, you may have to resort to more drastic tactics, such as ripping down posters, rattling blinds, knocking over and looting a wastebasket, knocking items off the dresser, singing at the top of your voice, or even curling up on the human's head (often the only visible part). As well as being warm, in this way you will be aware of any movement made by the human, probably even before he is aware of it. You will be unlikely to wait for long. Another effective tactic is to jump, walk or knead on the human's abdomen, where the bladder is located. If the human hasn't been to the Big White Drinking Bowl during the night you can be sure of a rapid response. Eventually the human will get up and do what you want, usually employing some bad language while doing so.

Warning: It is not advised to do this on a regular basis. It will very likely result in your being "banished" from and denied access to the bedroom altogether, in which case it becomes much more difficult to get them to respond to your wishes. Thumping the door or yowling may be initially effective, but will likely result in being further banished to the basement or even the kitty carrier! Discretion is thus strongly recommended.

Of course, if the human gets up on his own in the wee hours to go to the bathroom, you are free to get him to do your bidding while he is too sleepy to put up much resistance.

10.2 Mornings

In order to provide and care for you, the humans must leave the domain every morning (usually before you take your first cat nap). To help them on their way, either yowl loudly, massage their scalps with your claws, gently bounce on top of them in bed, knead their chests, purr, and/or drool on them. See also "Waking Them Up". The best time to do this is about 24 minutes before their clock begins to blare or ring. We must protect them from the noise because it could ruin their sense of hearing.

10.3 Guests

a) Quickly determine which guest hates cats the most. Sit on that lap. If you can arrange for particularly bad "tuna breath", so much the better.

b) For sitting on laps or rubbing against trouser legs, select fabric which contrasts well with your fur. For example: white-furred cats go to black wool clothing. Note: Velvet takes precedence over all other cloth.

c) For the guest who exclaims, "I love kitties!", be ready with aloof disdain, apply claws to stockings or arms, or use a quick nip on the ankle.

d) When walking among the dishes on the dinner table, be prepared to look surprised and hurt when scolded. The idea is to force your humans to reveal that they tolerate this behavior when company is not there.

e) Always accompany guests to the bathroom. It is not necessary to do anything, just sit and stare.

10.4 Laps

Undoubtedly the best way to get attention from a human is to jump in his/her lap and purr. Few humans can resist because it makes them think you like them (which may even be true!). Ear scratches, belly rubs, back stroking: all these and more can be yours. Some cats like this treatment a little TOO much and acquire the silly name "Lap Fungus". Lap sessions also provide golden opportunities for shedding; be sure to take advantage of clothes which contrast with your fur (see also "Guests"). Unfortunately, humans have the annoying tendency to want to get up to do their mundane activities, like answering the thing that rings or going to the Big White Drinking Bowl. Protest this disturbance with accusing looks and plaintive meows. Some laps may require "softening up" with a little kneading; just be sure not to use the claws or you may have an unexpected flying lesson!

10.5 Confusing Them

Humans (for the most part) love order and predictability. They especially like their pets to be predictable. So if you are in the mood to indulge in a little low-risk mischief, behaving irrationally is an excellent option. The usual method is to simply tear around the house at top speed talking to yourself and perhaps launching a frenzied attack on an unsuspecting toy. If there are two or more cats in the household, you can take turns chasing and wrestling with each other. This is usually good for a shake of the head from the human, along with "Crazy cat(s)" muttered under his/her breath.

Another way to baffle the humans is to interrupt your passage across a carpet (at whatever velocity) with a sudden vertical leap into the air. Then continue on as if nothing had happened. If you're skilled enough, you may be able to convince the human(s) that there are "rug worms" in the house. A third way, which isn't quite as fun as the others but which tends to get better reactions from the humans, is to stare fixedly at a blank wall, turned-off TV, corner of the room, or whatever, and pretend to carry on a conversation with another cat. The humans, who may already be convinced that you're from outer space, will think you're talking to your friends, the "Jupiter People". If they start talking about mailing you to Mars, it's a good idea to lay off this prank for a while.

10.6 Organization

Let's face it, humans are a disorganized lot. They need constant supervision in order to get things done right and on time, such as feeding their masters, retrieving lost toys, etc. Humans also need assistance in keeping their masters' home organized. They have to be continually reminded that things belong on the floor, not on shelves, bookcases, tables or dressers where accessing them may be inconvenient for their masters. It will be up to you to keep your household properly organized. Feel free to take items such as pens, buttons, waste paper (such as the stuff they call "tax return"), and unsuitable toys and relocate them to better spots, such as the water bowl, under the stove, or down the hot-air ducts (humans are always grateful if you do this with tax returns). This should be done when the humans aren't around, as they will always interfere. When the human discovers your handiwork, he will praise you with such sayings as "Stupid cat!" and "You little monster!" At this point, you should say "You're welcome!" with purring and rubbing against his/her legs.

11. Vets And Medicine

The vet is the person to whom your human will take you when you are sick. The place smells funny, there are usually other cats and dogs in the waiting room, and awful things like needles and pill prescriptions will happen there. The usual result is that you will get better, which is good, but you just can't let those humans cathandle you. The following are some tips for dealing with vets and medicine.

a) Unless you are really sick, when you see the carrier come out, run and hide somewhere inaccessible, such as under the bed or behind a couch. Once the human finally grabs you, struggle gamely. Splay your legs out so that it is difficult to cram you into the carrier. If the human is trying to put you in with another pet, try to allow the other pet to bolt out the door. In the car, meow plaintively all the way down to the vet's. If possible, reach through the bars of the portable prison and try to claw the human as s/he drives. At the vet's, splay your legs and brace yourself against the carrier's walls if you can so that they can't dump you out easily.

b) If you are well enough, you must resist attempts to feed you pills or any liquid medicine. As soon as you hear the pill bottle rattle, hide as in part a). Resist attempts to open your mouth. Squirming is good. Once the medicine is in, try to spit it out, preferably by shaking your head vigorously. If the humans manage to get the pill into to your mouth and are still holding you waiting for you to spit it out, swallow, but keep the pill in your mouth. Then after being let go, find a suitable hiding place and spit it out. Make sure that the humans do not find the hiding place, so they think that you took the pill. Don't use the same hiding place twice. Refuse any food that looks or smells like it may have had medicine sprinkled on it. Unfortunately, humans can be really unfair and put it in tuna. In this case, accept grudgingly. Look aggrieved after the medicine session is over.

12. Illness

a) If you have to throw up, get to a chair quickly. If you cannot manage in time, get to an Oriental rug. If there is no Oriental rug, shag is good. When throwing up on the carpet, make sure you back up so that it is as long as the human's bare foot.

b) When you get sick in the house, you should hover around the general area until a human spots the mess. You should act as if you are guarding the stuff for the human and then quickly vacate the room.

c) If taken outside, you should take every opportunity to scarf down as much grass as possible (while not being spotted). After ingesting a "critical mass" amount, whine and scratch at the door to be let back in the house. After entering the house head for the traditional illness locations and let it rip.

d) If the urge strikes at night when your human is asleep, you can retch as loudly as possible so that the human will wake up. That failing, choose a location where the human's bare foot is likely to find it. They don't see very well in the morning and need assistance in locating the mess. If the human has neglected you by leaving (see Mornings), cover the fruits of your labours with whatever is handy, such as papers from the desk. That way you can soil another object besides the carpet.

13. Cat "Clubs"

When a group of humans who share a similar interest get together on a regular basis, it is often called a "club". Needless to say, cats thought of the idea first, and some of the cleverer humans have discovered that we have our own. Listed below are the ones that the humans have identified, along with their names for the clubs; for security reasons (in case this document falls into the hands of a human) the ones they haven't identified have not been listed. As with humans, cats are not restricted to membership in one club and may belong to many.

a) The "Lap Fungus" Club
Members of this club specialize in enslaving humans for the purpose of sleeping on their laps. As soon as a human is seated, his/her lap becomes available and should be occupied at once, after which time the cat can get as much attention as s/he wants. See also Laps. Club motto: "Sit down and I'll be your friend."

b) The "Chatterbox" Club
Members of this club love to talk to their humans, giving advice and/or criticism on practically anything they do. They are convinced that given enough time, they will be able to teach even the densest human how to take verbal commands. Club motto: "What do you mean, shut up?"

c) The "Garbage Truck" Club
Members of this club firmly believe that human food is God's gift to cats and that the kitchen and/or dining room are the centre of the universe. Anything that falls onto the floor is to be eaten immediately, and if the cat can contrive to encourage the human to share voluntarily, so much the better. Hopping onto the counter to clean the plates or getting into the garbage can to check for leftovers are both considered acceptable, and the Master Garbage Truck is the one who can do this without getting squirted or otherwise "punished" by the humans. Club motto: "I'll help you clean that!"

d) The "Elephant Cat" Club
It is usual but not necessary for there to be more than one member of this club per household. "Elephant" cats for some perverse reason enjoy making their nocturnal games, such as "Kibble Soccer", "Tag", and "Rumpus Raising" (see Games) as noisy as possible by thundering around home and knocking things over or off the tables, counters, etc. They believe that half the fun is getting the human to participate too. Club motto: "Did you see the look on his face when..."

e) The "Bed Hog" Club
Cats who are members of this club like to sleep in their humans' bed. Of course, in order to sleep comfortably a cat needs some room and it is often necessary to push the sleeping humans around a bit to make it, especially if there are two humans and/or two or more cats. In households with more than one club member, skilled cats who cooperate can make the humans resemble pretzels (which are great snacks, by the way) by morning or even fall out of the bed entirely. Club motto: "Move over, you big lummox!"

f) The "Early Breakfast" Club
Cats belonging to this club love to walk into their human's bedroom at some early hour, say, 1 a.m. They then awaken the human (see Waking Them Up and Mornings) insisting on being fed. These cats believe that their humans can be trained to be awake during prime play time. Be aware, however, that humans are stubborn and may instead lock cats out of the bedroom, squirt them or do other anti-social things instead of feeding them. Club motto: "Life begins after midnight."

g) The "Door Into Summer" Club
This Club mainly performs its activities during the cold months or when it is raining. After a human obeys the master's command to open a door and a blast of cold air fills the room or rain splashes the cat, the cat wrinkles his/her nose and walks away. The ritual continues at each door in the house (sometimes including closets) until the human either kicks the cat out the door, or decides to ignore the cat altogether. In the first case, the cat must bounce up to the window and squawk to be let in while looking as pathetic as possible. In the second, the cat must attempt to make the human want to let him/her out. See Hampering for suggestions. Club motto: "Just because it's nasty out front doesn't mean it is at the back."

h) The Heat-Seeking Missile Club
These cats believe in keeping warm at all costs. The best method is to lie right up against the heating vent. Make sure all the warm air is absorbed into your fur. Careful grooming will be necessary to prevent a bad dandruff problem. When the heat is not running, more creative solutions must be found. Caving into the cat bed, human bed, or any afghan or blanket available is good. It's best if the blanket was already mounded up, so that the cat is completely invisible underneath. As a last resort, curl up on a lap or with another cat. Club motto: "It's cold out there!"

i) The "Fraidy Cat" Club
To this club belong the cats of nervous and/or neurotic disposition. Any strange object or human is to be treated as a mortal danger until it is absolutely it isn't dangerous. They even have to keep an eye on the humans they know, just in case. These cats know all of the good hiding spots in the house/apartment, including the ones that humans swear no cat could fit into, and are generally of little use to anybody except when it is checkup time at the vet's and it is important to be invisible. Club motto: "Yeek! What's that?"

14. Bad Weather

Bad weather, in the form of rain, snow, and/or excessive cold or heat, is always the fault of the humans. If the weather is inclement when the human opens the door to let you out, back away hastily and try another door. See also the "Door into Summer" Club. Be sure to stare accusingly at the human during this session. If all doors have the same bad weather and you manage not to get booted out, hop onto a window sill and gaze mournfully out at your domain. Then try again in about half an hour.

15. On Kittenhood

Being a kitten is probably the best time of a cat's life. As a kitten, you can do almost anything and get away with it because, as the humans say, "Aww, (s)he's so cute!" Practice the "butter won't melt in my mouth" Look of Total Innocence now, as it is much more effective than when you are full-grown and "should know better". Even if you are caught in the act of some mischief, the Look can can considerably reduce the scolding, and if mixed with the appropriate amount of fake penitence, get you picked up and cuddled.

Be sure to make full use of all your excess energy by tearing around the house at full speed, attacking anything that moves, climbing the drapes, scooting across tables, counters and shelves, taste-testing plants and cords, and generally driving the humans crazy. When exhausted, flop down anywhere comfortable and sleep. After waking up, eat and continue the fun! You will quickly learn that night-time is the best time for playing because so many things can hide in the shadows.

16. Conclusion

Humans need to know basic rules. They can be taught if you start early and are consistent. You will then have a smooth-running household.
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