I was watching the news this morning before leaving for work and caught the end of a story, (well, I say story...) that the Cats Protection League have produced a guide to cat behaviour. It seems that some people don't know what certain cat behaviours mean.
They include (and I kid you not)
If your cat is purring - It is contented.
If your cat is walking towards you with its tail up - It is greeting you.
If your cat is wiping its cheek on the furniture - It is scent marking its territory.
You would, in my opinion, be very special (In an 'I ride on a special bus with a five-point harness and specially flavoured windows for me to lick' way) to not know all that already if you'd ever spent more than five minutes with a cat.
There was one thing that I thought 'Oh, that actually makes sense.' However, and it was:
If your cat lies down, stretches onto it's back and presents its belly to you, it's letting you know that it's so comfortable in your presence, that it feels like you are no longer a threat to it.
It does not mean 'Yay two-legs, tickle my belly.' as anyone who has ever tried this will testify... What you get if you do is the whole 'Did you think that I was a cat? Sorry, I usually describe myself as a furry bag full of razorblades' treatment and your arm looks like something out of Hellraiser.
There are some very odd things about cats which aren't so obvious though, especially to a dog person like myself - Although we do have a cat, called Pop, I have slowly trained her to become more dog-like so that I don't get so easily confused.
Here are a couple things to look out for:
Cats are attracted to people who don't like cats - This is perfectly true, cats will indeed be attracted to people who don't like them, do you know why? If you watch a cat for any length of time, you'll notice that they do a kind of slow blink every once in a while and then turn away... Go and watch one now, You see, it did it... Unless it was asleep, then I'd have to question why you were watching a sleeping cat for twenty minutes.
Anywho, that slow blink is a gesture of approval, it's the equivalent of John Thomson's Fast Show character 'Louis Balfour, the host of Jazz Club' turning to the camera and saying 'Niiiice!'. So, picture the scene, you're at someone's house, they've got a cat and you don't like cats, you don't even like to look at cats, you'd never think of even sniffing, licking or playing a melodic harmonica solo to a cat. so you close your eyes and look away.
Cat thinks 'Hey! a new friend, and he likes me enough to have learned my language!' then it jumps on your lap, nestles down in your nether regions and slowly pumps its claws into any area where hair mysteriously started to grow during puberty. Because you're polite and don't want to offend anyone, you just sit there like a swan... Unmoving on the outside, but screaming like a lunatic on the inside - That is Swans right? Actually, thinking about it, I might have swans confused with something else - Not sure what, it'll come to me probably.
The headbutt is another cat thing that has a meaning, it's kind of a question. Your cat is saying 'Are you mine? you used to smell like me, but you don't anymore.' The initial 'butt' is the question, if you don't push the cat away, squirt it with one of those plant spray bottles or hit it with a telephone directory, then it will assume that you are its property and re-scent you with its cheek glands.
This is the cat marking you as its property, confirming your status as a chattel, something that the cat wholly owns, but allows to move around within certain boundaries, known only to the cat.
Our cat does this to our dog, often. Here is a picture of our dog, trying to tear my throat out in a loving and caring manner.
He is not as kind to the cat... There is chasing, and a little light, occasional biting.
But when you get down to it (No, not with the cat you skanky pervs) cats are simple animals with simple drives for everything they do. If you look into it deeply enough it tends to be because they despise you with all of their black little satanic hearts. You are just there to service their every whim.
There, I said it cats are evil. I think Terry Pratchett might have said it best: 'If cats looked like frogs, we'd realise what nasty, cruel little bas*ards they are'
And they are, if a child plays with its food, it means that they're making the word 'Bumholes' with their alphabetti spaghetti, wheras if a cat's playing with its food it means that it's biting the leg off a baby bird and then jabbing it with its claws while it flails spastically about until one of its eyes pops out. (And yes, I have given myself extra points for using the word 'spastically' correctly and in context)
You can, and I have seen this happen to Mrs Dandy, feed a cat a plump, juicy prawn... Which it will proceed to eat, wash itself all over and then hunt you down and kick your ass by jumping from the ceiling fan, grabbing onto your ears with it's front paws and slicing your face open like an over-ripe beef tomato with its hind ones.
There is anecdotal evidence that they smother babies in their cots. According to Japanese sailors, they can bewitch you with their tails (I guess this really depends on how long you've been at sea). It was a commonly held belief that black cats are an incarnation of the Devil, which is a little racist, but I applaud the basic sentiment. and in the 9th Century, King Henry the First of Saxony was so seduced by a cat (History does not record whether he'd ever sailed on a Japanese boat) that he made it illegal to kill cats, a crime which carried a fine of sixty bushels of corn. If that isn't evidence of witchcraft then I don't know what is.
This is our cat, Pop
She look like a perfectly normal, fuzzy little animal, until you realise... That her eyes don't have any pupils...
I leave you with a bit of ugly Feline doggerel.
There once was two cats of Kilkenny,
And each thought there was one cat too many.
So they quarreled and fought
and they scratched and they bit
Until there was only their nail,
and the tips of their tails
Instead of two cats, there weren't any.
And I think that sums it all up perfectly - Cats? Just say no.