The Cat Rules List

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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 is a good, but not exhaustive, selection of 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

1. 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 (not to be confused with Bedding Mice, see below), 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!

2. 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. A more extreme version of this is to stage a loud fight with another cat sleeping on the bed, which will immediately wake the sleeping humans into a state of confusion. If there is a dog sleeping by the bed, you can try to get it involved in breaking up the fight, which will add greatly to the confusion. This stunt will more than likely result in getting everyone expelled, so play it sparingly.

WARNING: Playing games (1) and (2), especially the noisier version of (2), 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.

3. 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.

4.

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. A simple variant of this game can be played with Kleenex, which come in boxes in such a way that when you swipe one, another one pops out. You can make a very impressive Snowstorm with a box of Kleenex, and can do it in the living room, which is harder to clean up. Be warned that these games will bring out the VACUUM MONSTER.

5. Fetch: 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. A small minority of Cats will fetch favourite toys like pipe cleaners, twist ties, or other small plastic things. They claim it's great exercise and doesn't deprive them of too much Dignity.

6. 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.

7. 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!

8. 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.

9. Magic Curtain: It can take some time to teach the humans this game, but it is worth the effort. You need a curtain which reaches down to the floor (vertical venetian blinds will do). Hide behind the curtain and command the human to throw a small toy (really a mouse, of course) at it. The key part is to restrain yourself as long as you can to fool the human into thinking you aren't going to pounce. When the human reaches for the toy, attack the toy and kill it. Half the fun is in attacking the "mouse", the other half is in watching the human jump back to avoid getting his hand shredded. Variation 1: Sometimes the curtain or blind itself magically transforms into a Curtain Monster, which must be killed immediately! Grab it, kick it with your hind feet, wheel around on your back like mad and tear as much as you can! The Curtain Monster and the Martians that live behind it are tough opponents, but with persistence you will be victorious.

Variation 2: You are at the bottom of Mount Everest (the curtain) and there is a tempting morsel at the top which you must reach before it runs away. Climb as fast as you can before the morsel disappears and/or a human grabs you and throws you outside.
10. Tunnel: Convince your human to move the couch out a little bit from the wall, just enough so that you can move between the wall [Image] and the couch. Demand that your human throw a toy (preferably a small ball) for you to chase. Instead of chasing it through the open room, run behind the couch, tunnel along, miraculously emerge from the other end and grab the toy. Your human will be deeply impressed by your sophisticated move, and will readily throw the toy again and again.

11. Snooze: A good game to play with the other Cat(s) in the house is to see how many different places you can sleep in one day. You mark your sleeping spot with an appropriate deposit of hair, which is a necessary part of any Cat-owned apartment. It is important to play this game at least weekly, since the humans are always removing the markers. Bonus points go to the unusual spots, like the top of the fridge, TV, or air conditioner, and even on top of the Vacuum Monster slumbering in its closet. Of course, if the Vacuum Monster should awaken while you're sleeping on it, there will be potentially serious consequences!

12. Cupboards: As you will have noticed in your explorations of your household, the floor-level kitchen cupboards are all interconnected. The object of the game is to dart inside when a human opens a cupboard door and immediately make your way to the farthest reaches out of range of the human's grasp. If you can get a partner to run it with you to divide the human's attention, so much the better. Often you can open the doors yourself and don't even need the human there. This skill is especially useful if there are some tasty treats being stored in the garbage can that you want. If the human gives up easily, you now have a nice safe dark place to curl up, snooze, and deposit hair. Humans love to wash their pots and pans before using them. If the humans keep the garbage can under the sink, you may also have a free meal or two if anything is worth eating (provided you can get into it). If you and your partner are feeling frisky, great wrestling matches can take place in the darkness, with lots of crashes and clangs to make it sound like the Tournament of the Century! More fun can be had by scooting back and forth and putting your paw under the door and meowing to let the human think you want out that door, but when the door is opened, run to another before you can get grabbed. If the human is prone to flushing you out with a squirt bottle, make as much of a mess as possible when making your escape to let him/her know your displeasure. Be sure to wash yourself upon exiting the kitchen to retain your Dignity and glower at the impudent human while doing so.

13. Telephone dialer: Many of the newer things humans call telephones (with which they spend far too much time talking to other humans while not attending their masters) have lots of little buttons which you can use. The little ones without numbers are often "speed dial" buttons, which means that if you can turn the phone on (look for a "speaker phone button") you can make phone calls too! Since humans love to talk on the phone, they will be glad to hear your melodious voice greet them! Their feline masters will be even more pleased if you make your call early in the morning to save them the trouble of making the humans wake up early. If you can call long distance, so much the better! Serves those slug-like humans for sleeping during prime play time and leaving their masters unattended!

14. Bat the Blinds: This is a fun game that can be used as an alarm clock for dormant humans or as a signal that a Cat wants to go outside. All that is required is vertical blinds in the bedroom. It is best played when there are more than one Cat in a household. When the humans are asleep, one of the Cats should go over to the blinds and attack them with the purpose of making as much noise as possible. Run and hide under the bed when a human gets up and blearily opens a door to go outside, while the other Cats play possum on the bed so that the human doesn't know who did it. Different Cats can do this at different times, with the objective of seeing how many can attack the blinds until all are thrown out by the enraged humans.

15. Table Cloth: For whatever reasons, sometimes your humans will put a large piece of (usually white) cloth on their dining table. If you are a dark-haired cat, this means you are obliged to try to deposit as much of your hair on it as possible. If you are present while they are putting the table cloth on, you also have an opportunity to Hamper. Leap up and snag an edge with your paw as the humans are trying to adjust it so you can try to pull it to the floor. You will be immediately shooed away, of course. Once the humans have set all the stuff on the table, do this again. You will get lots of toys, as well as plenty of nesting material, but it's impossible to do this silently and you will get forcibly ejected and barred from the dining room. If you wish to be more subtle, hop on the table and begin shedding activities, (scratching, grooming, and/or sprawling). See how much hair you can deposit before the humans notice and throw you out. The more Cats there are, the more variety of colour you can add to the table cloth!

If the table cloth reaches nearly to the floor, you have an instant fort. Lurk underneath it until a human passes by, then leap out and grab an ankle! Run back under the table where they can't get you. Be prepared to be flushed out by a squirt bottle though.

16. Bat the Toe: This game involves some risk of exposure to Cat Solvent, but is worth it because it annoys the humans greatly. If the human leaves the bathroom door open (due to your diligent training -- see DOORS), and if the human is taking a shower rather than a bath, lurk beside the shower stall or bathtub and wait until he/she is finished, steps out, and reaches blindly (due to water in the eyes and/or a lack of glasses) for a towel. As soon as a foot comes within reach, bat at the big toe with a paw and run out of the room. If you can escape without being splashed or spotted while lurking, you win. It is not wise to try to play this too frequently, as the human(s) will quickly catch on and will gleefully try to soak you with Cat Solvent and force you to retreat with loss of Dignity.

17. Bedding Mice: These mice (not to be confused with Bed Mice, see above) appear during the human's weekly ritual known as "Re-Sheeting the Bed". This is the perfect time to hunt for Bedding Mice, which appear in many shapes and sizes just as the fresh bedding lands on the bed. It is also the best time to make sure the bottom sheet contains enough hair and dander to trigger the human's allergies later in the week. The human will usually shake the sheet toward the head of the bed. It is imperative to attack by jumping straight up and landing on the sheet as it floats downward. This action ensures that the sheet will land over the Bedding Mice, which can be seen as lumps or an occasional small hillock on the bed. These small, tasteless, but usually colorful mice can be pummeled into oblivion by the use of the rapier swipe or the one-two hind kick, employing one or both back legs. If you're not quick, the human slave may find you've flattened too many Bedding Mice and make the bed with you in it. This can be difficult to get out of, especially if the human makes the bed in a military manner, uses hospital corners on the sheets and blankets, and tucks in everything up to the pillows. You may instead be escorted to the door and locked out of the room for your efforts, in which case other, more devious (and hazardous), methods will be needed to install the necessary Cat hair, such as burrowing under the covers while the human(s) is/are in bed, or going after the Bedding Mice when the human is making the bed after getting up in the morning. In any case, the pursuit of Bedding Mice is definitely a form of HAMPERING.

18. Wrestlemania: This is a great game for at least two Cats who are both bored and full of excess energy. It can be initiated by one Cat either goading the other into attacking, or by a surprise attack from either a high object (table, chair, Cat scratching post) or from behind. Any form of kick, nip, swat, slam, throw, or other maneuver (fair or not) is permissible, so long as no injury is performed on the other participant(s). If more than two Cats share the same house, they may join in at any time, or perhaps use the diversion to get onto the counter or some other Forbidden Place for some deviltry of his/her own. The goal of the game is not just to burn off the excess energy, but to make as much of a mess as possible over as large an area as possible, so make every effort to knock things over, scatter and shred papers, and leave hair everywhere. Growling and hissing are optional, but not recommended because the humans might think it for real and break it up early. Wrestlemania comes to an end when the participants are exhausted (uncommon), or are bombarded by thrown things or Cat Solvent by the humans after the nebulous line between entertainment and destruction is crossed, or if the match occurs at night, when a human charges into the Battle Zone swearing and throwing things. In these latter cases, the prudent Cat(s) will bolt for cover until the rage passes.

19. Laser Tag Team: This game requires a human with a small, harmless laser pointer. Some Cats believe that grabbing the elusive red dot on the floor, wall, sofa, other cat, etc., will get them the tastiest treat ever (the harder it is to get, the tastier it must be, right?) and will go nuts trying to get it, seriously compromising their Dignity in the process. Always keep tabs on where the laser pointer is so that the humans can't surprise you and make you lose even more Dignity by suddenly leaping after it. Humans love this game because they are naturally lazy and don't have to do anything to make their Cat get his exercise. Other Cats wisely regard the red dot as something beneath their notice. A flashlight that can be focused into a point makes a reasonable substitute for a laser pointer.

20. Phantom Cat Behind the Door, Curtain, etc.: In this game, the Cat on one side of the door or curtain pretends to have never seen the other before. The objective is to drag the other Cat to your side of the door through a one-half inch tall opening under the door or curtain. Meanwhile, the other Cat will see the disembodied paws as swift-moving (albeit odd-shaped) mice and leap to the attack, getting his paws under the door where the reverse happens. This can be great fun, especially when it's dark and it's the humans' bedroom door, but of course it will be a short-lived game.

21. Piano Hop: As the title implies, there must be a piano in the household in order to play, the keyboard of which must be exposed. It is simple -- hop on the keyboard and walk along it. If a human is trying to play the piano at the time, you must try to evade his/her attempts to sweep you off before you reach the end of the keyboard. If nobody is there, keep walking back and forth until a human charges in, tosses you off and closes the keyboard cover. If there are other Cats in the house, the winner of the game (which must be played over several days due to the keyboard closing) is the one who can prance around the longest. Double points are scored for night-time escapades. Attempts to distract the human made by one Cat while the other plays the game can be anything from barfing on the carpet to sharpening claws, wanting out, etc.

22. Duvet Dive: The purpose of this game is to get into the humans' bed before they do at their bedtime. (There's no point in playing before their bedtime, since you'll always win!). At the beginning of each day (what the humans consider the end of the day), they go through a routine before going to bed. The routine differs for each human, but after living with them for a while you'll be able to figure out the tell-tale signs. At the last possible minute when the human(s) is/are ready to get into bed, tear into the bedroom at top speed, leap on the bed and burrow under the comforter, duvet or whatever they have, and under the sheets. The first human in gets to have you wrap yourself around him/her. Use claws (gently!) to warn the human not to move around once you are comfortable. Unfortunately, humans know how to dislodge you, using either extreme cuddling (which, when under warm covers, soon results in overheating), getting another human to rattle your food dish, or in the worst cases unleashing any mini-humans in the household on you.

23. Dresser Drawers: The dressers in a human's bedroom contain most of their clothes, including many the humans don't want other humans to see, called "underclothes". Should a dresser drawer be left slightly ajar, you can probably pry it open enough to reach in with a paw in a fishing expedition to see what your claws can snag. If it's underwear, you can have a great wrestling match with it (and if you have another Cat in the house, with the Cat). Make sure that when you get tired of playing with the underwear you "kill" it and leave the body where your human (and especially any guests) can see it when they come home. Lamps, couches and the top of the stove are good places. Socks, on the other hand, should be "killed" and left in the most remote and difficult to reach spots, like behind couches, under beds, and so on, so that the humans have to hunt for them. You should also only play with one from each pair, to increase the hampering factor of your fun game.

24. Living Room Surfing: This is best played by one or more cat(s) with a "turbo scratcher" (a round plastic thing with a scratching pad in the middle and a trough around the edge with a hard rubber or plastic ball in it), although any large, flat, solid object will do. The object of this game is to make as much of a racket as possible. You start out by staring at the "turbo scratcher" and going into a full, fanny waving crouch. You then make a flying pounce, land on the thing and slide as far as you can on it. The bigger the pounce, the more points you earn. Uncarpeted floors make the best playing fields, because you can really get up some momentum. With practice, you can make a sound like a squeaky subway brake. It is considered good form if you can simultaneously bat the ball around the trough. You earn extra points if you can manage to careen into a piece of furniture. The best time to play this game is around 4:00 a.m., because the resulting screeches, rattles and thumps are bound to awaken not only the judges, but any humans living (and trying to sleep) downstairs. The judges will usually be too groggy to realize what is happening right away, so you can get in a few good pounces and screeches before they become alert enough to get up and chase after you. The humans downstairs will usually react with questions, such as "What the HELL is that cat doing?!" or "What kind of orgy are they having up there?" CAUTION: This game must be played very sparingly if one or more of the downstairs humans is called "Landlord" or "Landlady" by the other humans in the house.

25. Ice Capades: This is easy to play. All you need is an uncarpeted floor and your own four paws. You start off at one end of the room by going into a full crouch, then running as fast as you can. Once you have gotten a full head of steam, you then make a sudden stop and turn yourself around. You get five points for each time you manage to do this without bumping into the wall, a door frame, or the furniture. Extra points are awarded if you manage to slide onto something and make a mess. VARIATION: If there is an accessible wooden or Formica table, leap onto the table and slide on it. You get ten points if you manage to do this without falling off. Again, extra points are awarded if you slide onto something and mess it up, 2 extra points if you manage to knock something onto the floor, 3 extra points if you slide onto a set of papers, music, etc., and knock all the pages out of order.

5.2 TOYS

Any small item, such as Q-tips, is a potential toy. If a human [Image] 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.

  1. 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. When in the kitchen, the object is to eventually slide the toy under the refrigerator or stove "goals" and then attempt to get the human to retrieve it for you so you can do it again.
  2. Dangly and/or stringlike things such as shoelaces, cords, gold chains, dental floss, and rubber bands 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. Fishing poles with small toys attached are favourites of humans who want to destroy Dignity, because they are just so hard to resist. Beware the tactic of the human spinning around in circles while you charge vainly after the toy, especially if you are on a smooth floor and can't get good traction. Respond to hilarity by baleful stares and washing yourself, then walk by the toy with your nose in the air. Then leap on it when the human isn't suspecting. It works every time.
  3. 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.
  4. A somewhat risky approach to catching Bag Mice utilizes the Bag Slide. This is accomplished by performing a classic crouch (including full butt-wiggle) 5-6 feet from the mouth of the bag, then charging into the bag at full speed, causing the bag to skitter a great distance across a wooden floor (Note: This does NOT work on wall-to-wall carpet!) CAUTION: Be prepared for a significant impact with walls, chairs, etc. if you've really built up your momentum!
  5. 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. However, if the toy appears to be interesting, you may wait until the humans are sleeping before you play with it (but be sure to keep quiet so they don't figure out you actually like it).
  6. Some cats find ice cubes to be great toys, as they can slide across smooth floors for great distances. Ice cubes can only be obtained from the freezer (it is *not* recommended that you try to fish any from drinks or knock them over, as the humans will immediately confiscate the toys and probably hurl you bodily outside!) if you pester a human while he/she is getting something from it. Once the new toy is released into your custody, it's play time! Be careful not to lick it though as you may find it sticks to your tongue!
  7. Your human is more likely than not to have other humans come to visit. Sometimes they will all just sit around and talk, which is great because you have the opportunity to get lots of extra attention (see GUESTS). However, sometimes they'll set up some sort of game and start playing, which is not so great because they aren't noticing you. Many human games (and all jigsaw puzzles) have lots of little pieces, and are really Cat Toy Bonanzas, but the humans will not want to share them with you for some reason. If they are playing on the floor, rectification of this injustice is relatively straightforward. You can charge across the board scattering pieces everywhere and snatch one in the confusion. The subtle approach, where you act really friendly to one of the humans so you can get close to the board and then snitch one, requires more patience. If you have a partner who can create a diversion, say by running across the board as in the first case, you can then zip in during the uproar and snitch a piece while the humans are distracted. A third option is to just plop yourself down in the middle of the board and say "Pet me!". With luck, a piece or two will get stuck in your fur (especially if you're long-haired) and you will have a new toy when you're ejected from the board.
  8. Playing on a table presents a greater challenge, as the board is much more inaccessible. Try ingratiating yourself by curling up on a lap, and occasionally sticking your head over the table edge to see what's going on and perhaps try to knock a piece or two off the table with a paw. Jumping on the table is risky but potentially rewarding, as the humans may not expect such chutzpah (or chutzpaw in your case). If a corner of the game board extends over the table edge, you can stand on your hind legs and reach for it; if successful you could bring a whole avalanche of toys down!
  9. Unfortunately, all of these actions are liable to make the humans very angry, so you'd better have a safe place to run with your toy, unless you're a Hedonist (see CAT CLUBS) and enjoy playing fast and loose with your life by baiting the humans. This activity also counts as HAMPERING.
  10. Another great toy is what the humans call a ping-pong ball. They are white and very light and as a result are easily batted around the house. Some Cats enjoy playing with them in the humans' bathtub (which must be totally free of Cat Solvent, of course!) because the ball can't go very far. Again you must beware of getting too involved with the toy because the humans will usually be watching and you will risk losing your Dignity.

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