The Cat Rules List

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14. 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. Each entry consists of a brief description of typical club members, the average human's reaction to a member's activities, nicknames for club members, and the club's motto.
The Bed Hog Club
Cats who are members of this club like to sleep on 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.
Human reactions: cuddling, nocturnal yoga positions, expulsion of Cats.
Nicknames: Big Lump, Extra Blanket, Bed Warmer.
Club motto: "Move over, you big lummox!"
The Bed Weight Club
Some members of the Bed Hog Club (usually also members of the Lazy Slug Club) have figured out how to maximize their comfort by immobilizing sleeping humans so that their tossing and turning does not disturb the Cats. The tactic requires at least two Cats, both of which should be relatively mass-enhanced (never "fat"!) who should settle on the covers on either side of the human, effectively restricting movement. This is not wise if the human likes to sleep near the side of the bed!
Human Reactions: "What is that horse doing on the bed?", stiffness from immobilized.
Nickname: Leadbutt, Lump.
Club Motto: "Don't even think about moving!"
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.
Human reactions: "No comments from the peanut gallery!", "Shaddap!"
Nicknames: Motormouth, Blabbermouth, Noisy, Backtalk.
Club motto: "What do you mean, shut up?"
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.
Human Reactions: Annoyance, foot under the butt to fling you out anyways.
Nicknames: Waffler, Stupid Cat, Politician.
Club motto: "Just because it's nasty out front doesn't mean it is at the back."
The Early Breakfast Club
Cats belonging to this club love to walk into their human's bedroom at some early hour, say, 3 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.
Human Reactions: Grogginess, ignoring, throwing things, general hostility.
Nicknames: Pest Kitty, various expletives
Club motto: "Life begins after midnight."
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.
Human Reactions: Throwing things, squirting, chasing, shouting.
Nicknames: Bigfoot, Thunderball, Godzilla Cat, Light Brigade.
Club motto: "Did you see the look on his face when..."
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 certain 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.
Human Reactions: Laughter, dragging from under the bed, cruel jokes.
Nicknames: Coward, Mr/Ms Invisible, Spooky, Furry Chicken.
Club motto: "Yeek! What's THAT?"
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. Lurking under a baby's high-chair at feeding time is an excellent source of free food that won't get you shouted at, since (probably, for once) you're actually doing the lazy humans a service.
Human Reactions: Squirting, chasing, throwing things, ejection outside.
Nicknames: Stomach with Legs, Garburator, Bottomless Pit, Greedo, Oinker, Treat-Seeking Missile.
Club motto: "I'll help you eat that!"
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.
Human Reactions: Indifference, "Where'd all this Cat hair come from?"
Nicknames: Comfort Creature, Hot Stuff.
Club motto: "It's cold out there!"
The Hedonist Club
Members of this club (and it is a very large one!) firmly believe that they can do whatever they want to and that no rules, human or otherwise, should apply to them. If they're hungry, they want food NOW; if they want to be petted it had better be NOW; no area should be "off limits", including counters and dressers; and so on. Attempts to discipline Hedonists will have no effect at all, no matter how draconian the punishment or how soaked the Cat gets from repeated squirting. Closed doors are a Great Affront to Hedonists who view them as a Restriction of Freedom. See also DOORS. This includes cupboards, cabinets, and closets.
Human Reactions: Shouting, swearing, chasing, squirting, ejection from house.
Nicknames: You Little Monster, Menace To Society, various expletives.
Club motto: "No? What does that mean?"
The "Hiyo Silver!" Club
Cats who belong to this club have discovered that riding on their human's shoulders is a good, albeit somewhat precarious, way of staying with and supervising the human, as well as a free source of transportation. Since humans are much taller than Cats, shoulders also provide an excellent launch point for otherwise inaccessible areas like high shelves which often have things on them which must be investigated for potential as toys and/or food. Getting on the shoulders is the easy part; directing the human to where you want to go (i.e. the shelves) is not, especially if the human has figured out that you want to go there and deliberately avoids it. Sadly, there is no way to direct them, so it is best to just climb on and hope the human's activities naturally lead him or her to your desired destination. Be careful about using claws! Though the human expects a certain amount of claws due to your needs to maintain balance, excessive use will lead to unceremonious dumping. So will too-frequent attempts to Hamper, such as ear nibbling, hair chewing, swatting with the tail, or changing positions, as well as being "too fat".
Human Reactions: Petting, scratching, dumping, "I am not a perch!".
Nicknames: (Cat fur colour) Rider, High-Jumper.
Club motto: Move a bit closer to that shelf!
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.
Human Reactions: Petting, scratching, acceptance, reluctance to get up.
Nicknames: Cuddler, Blanket Substitute, Shedding Machine.
Club motto: "Sit down and I'll be your friend."
The Lazy Slug Club
Membership in this club consists primarily of Cats who have passed the prime of their lives, and now regard being active as something to be avoided and inertness as an art form. A member's favourite game is "Snooze" (see GAMES). Any activity consists primarily of moving from one favourite sleeping spot to another, or to the litter box or food dish, though the occasional fit of playfulness is usually unavoidable due to the energy that does slowly build up. Humans usually refer (in a less than respectful manner) to members as Lap Fungus, Couch Fungus, or [insert any approximately horizontal surface] Fungus. This sort of lese-majeste should earn a human a shredding, but few members can be bothered to do more than glower balefully or twitch the tail. Lazy Slugs are easily recognized by their willingness to be brushed. After all, if the human is willing to groom them, why not let them have their wish? And it does reduce the hairball problem.
Human Reactions: Incredulity, checking for signs of life.
Nicknames: Lump, Obstacle, Still Life.
Club motto: "Zzzzz".

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. TERRITORY MARKING

When marking your territory (spraying or plain urinating), make sure that it is in a place which the human *must* notice, such as the middle of the bed, on wallpaper, or against the fabric of a sofa or chair. Marking your territory is important if the human is silly enough to bring "company" for you inside the house. YOU are king of the household, not the human, and if the human has any Catsense at all, it will know this. Also, if the human has washed the blanket or other item which you have marked, be sure to wait a couple of days, and mark the item again in the very same place.

18. DOGS

As a species, dogs are animals which are in every way inferior to Cats. They are noisy, smelly, dirty, totally dependent on humans, and stupid (have you ever seen a Cat tangle with a skunk at all, let alone more than once?). Unfortunately, they are also for the most part larger than Cats. They are aware of their inferiority and quite resentful of it, using their greater size to harass Cats by chasing and/or barking at them at any opportunity in feeble attempts to make themselves appear superior to their betters. Dog-baiting can be a vastly entertaining sport if the dog is safely tied up in its yard or inside its human's house. A Cat with nerves of steel can perch on a window sill and wash him/herself while the dog within hurls itself at the window on the other side in a frenzy of rage. Of course, should the human inside let the dog out, said Cat had better have somewhere to run for shelter! Of course, this is not to say that Cats and dogs can't be friends or even live with the same humans, especially if both are raised from birth with each other, but these are exceptions. If you are on friendly terms with other cats, you can cooperate with them in dog-baiting to lure the dumb beast into a spot where you can all beat it up together. This can be risky if the dog is large and of a nasty temperament, so judge your target carefully!

19. PLANTS

Humans enjoy decorating our homes with plants, which is a good thing because they make the rooms look more like the great outdoors and you can rest beside them in the window and look more like the wild thing that you are. Many are also good for snacking when you're in the mood for munchies and the food bowl is empty. Unfortunately, many can be quite poisonous to Cats, so be very careful what you choose to sample. The last thing you want is another trip to the Vet! Because humans value their plants, they can be used to enforce discipline with threats to knock them over, off shelves, or by pretending to nibble them. If there are plants in the bedroom, they can be used to wake the humans by getting up close and rustling the leaves loudly and, when you have their attention, starting to push the pot off the shelf. Be prepared to run or dodge the squirt bottle though, as they can be very protective of their greenery. Freshly cut flowers also add colour and life to a room, and present opportunities for snacking (though again be careful of the poisonous ones), discipline (see above), and general Hampering by forcing the humans to put them out of reach before they leave and hence slowing them down. Be careful though, as the vases contain Cat Solvent that could splash you when you tip them over.

20. 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.


Send other rules or suggested modifications to me, Harold Reynolds. The original author of the small list of Cat Rules is Cynthia Whitney, originally published in the October 9, 1989 Family Circle magazine.


The following agents of the Cat Slave Intelligence Service have made valuable contributions to the Cat Rules, at great risk to themselves:

Lisa Abildskov, Dave Blackburn, Lucy Burr, Vicki Burtch, Guy and Julia Burton, Lormè Coetsee, Karen Davis, Eva Denison, Carolyn Devries, Thomas DiSessa, Denise Donaghy, Angi Douglas, Marcia Dycus, Sandy Feldman, Kevin Fox, Mary Fox, Angelina Galindo, Paul Gilbert, John & Dee Hagger, Brenda Haramis, Jamie Hilverding, Ulrike Jaeger, Jocelyn Jenik, Beth Johnson, Derrick Kirk, Connie Kleinjans, Karen Kotchek, Doug Kropp, Barb Kuchera, Dennis Kunze, Anne Lafayette, Phillip Lafleur, Matthew Lecher, Ashley Madaris, Jules May, Patsy Mays, Megan McGuire, Dave Merriman, Kathy Minicozzi,Susette Newberry, John Novello, Mollie O'Dell, Wes Peters, Kris Porto, Sally Santiago, Chris Schenck, Werner Schwab, L. Scott, Evelyn Shockley, Deborah Simon, Susan Hattie Steinsapir, Kelly Tapani, Molly Thomas, Scott Thomas, Susan Turner, Julian Vrieslander, Brian Ward, Erin Valentino, Michael Varney, Catherine Wightwick, Larry Williams, Steven Woodford, Elizabeth Worden.

Illustrations contributed (with many thanks!) by Paul J. Lareau, and placed by Laurie Miller, former maintainer of the The Malcolm Cat Protection Society (in Cyprus) WWW site.

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