Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cats Don't Have to Look for a Job

Playing Catch

Unlike his human, Quint has a full-time job. He was born with it. Hunt for food, eat what you've caught, sleep, repeat. As an indoor cat, he finds that hunting for food is a simple matter of walking into the kitchen and seeing what's in his bowl, but that doesn't mean he is unemployed and it's no reason to rest on his laurels. Nope, he practices his craft constantly.

Carol and I call it playing, but Quint is a very serious little toy mouse hunter, very serious. He stalks that little mouse all over the house. He never lets his right paw know what his left paw is doing as he animates the little furry toy and then chases it, pounces on it and kills it, again and again, until the mouse runs under a door and into a closet. He hasn't figured out how to open the doors for himself, yet, so he depends on Carol and I to release the mouse from the closet, or dig it out from under the dresser, and then the game begins anew. He lets us know that he needs our help by coming to wherever we are and asking. He always knows right where the mouse is hiding and he will herd us in that direction as we walk through the house. If we're not around, he'll lie down outside the particular closet door under which the mouse has "run" and wait. As soon as someone comes home, he demands that we help him find the mouse.

In his more reserved moments, he will gather up his toy mice and place them on the floor beside his food bowl so that when he's ready to practice his hunting skills he'll know where they are. Quint is a pretty organized cat and likes to keep his toys neat and orderly. We have a box in the kitchen where we store some of his less favorite toys. Usually, when he's done playing with those toys, he'll put them back in the box. We like that about him. Me, I leave my toys all over the house.

The last couple of evenings, when Carol and I are playing with him in the kitchen, he'll dash off with one of the mice in his mouth, chase it all around the house and then bring in back into the kitchen, dropping it in front of one of us, ready for another round. We've started giving him treats for doing that. I suspect the game is taking on a whole new dimension.

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