Monday 10 March 2008

The T word

Dadump, dadump, dadump, dadump, dadump, dadump, dadump, dadump, dadump, dadump, dadump, dadump.
Scrtchhhhhhh, scrttchhhhh, scrttchhhhh, whoooooosh, swish, thump!
Purrrrrrow, mow, rrrrrreow, prrrrrow, ow, eeeeeeeow!

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the sound of my cats responding to the T word, starting from the bed, down the stairs, racing around the corner at the bottom of the stairs as fast as possible and skidding to halt, using my legs as a convenient stopping post, and then demanding the delicacy, now!

The T word is the one word that we have to use carefully around our furry little friends. Actually, I am the one that has to use it carefully, since it requires a voice of a high enough pitch to get the frenzied response. I just love to stand in the kitchen, armed with the can opener and a tin of tuna. A moment of anticipation, followed by "Toooooooooooonaaaaaaa!" After a slight delay, you will hear the whomp as a cat launches herself off whatever bed she is sleeping on, followed by the inevitable sequence of events outlined above. You have to make sure that you have positioned yourself in just the right place so that you can view the spectacle that is my cat trying to take a corner at high speed with no traction - we have laminate flooring, you see. As the cat leaves the carpeted comfort of the stairs, she will hit the laminate flooring at speed. Her legs will keep turning, but there is no longer any forward momentum. Claws try to grip and fail miserably. The backend starts to drift outwards as there is a loss of traction by the rear paws. The cat will try to countersteer with the front paws and steer out of the slide by increased acceleration, all the while looking slightly horrified by the indignity of it all - cats are supposed to be graceful, after all. She will finally regain control and hurtle at full speed towards the finish, the tuna, only to lose it all again as she discovers that her braking system also fails to operate on this particular surface. She sails past her intended target and usually ends up crashing face first into my legs or a kitchen counter, depending on her angle of approach. This will be accompanied by a soft, furry, satisfying thump. A moment of quiet and then all hell breaks loose in the meowing department if the tuna is not placed on the floor right then and there. Not that either of my cats actually meows - the noises that emanate from them are more usually crosses between meows and purrs with trills of various lengths inserted for added effect.

The sensitivity of my cats to the T word never ceases to amaze me. We have been carrying out experiments in the Don't Bug Me household to test this. We wait until the cats are fast asleep. And I mean fast asleep - asleep enough to not even budge when you poke them with a spoon. Asleep enough to not even crack an eye and give you that "Piss off, I am sleeping" look that only cats can do. Asleep enough for me to brush Willow for 10 seconds without actually losing my hand. We then take up the tin opener and place it on the can. We have determined that just the initial puncturing of the can is enough to set off the tuna response. But there is more to this natural wonder - the cats will hear this pfft as the opener pierces the can even with the TV on full volume, the taps running, the dishwasher going, and the fan above the oven on. The miracle of the cats ear. No matter how hard you try, we have found it impossible to open a can of tuna without two furry fiends winding around your legs within 2.3 secs.

The whole cartoon effect of my cats trying to go anywhere fast on the laminate floor is endlessly entertaining. My brother, aka the Alien in the Basement, and I have spent many hours amusing ourselves by throwing various small rolly objects around for the cats. If they are in the right mood, they will take up the chase. Of course, they are cats, so they can't look too eager to do anything that you might want them to and on many occasions we have to pretend that we are not interested in what they are doing. If they think that we are watching, they will just sit there, washing their paws, deliberately not looking at the rolly object. But sometimes, if you judge their moods just right, the entertainment will begin. Roll the object just past them and sit back and enjoy. Their whiskers will twitch and their little bums will start waggling in the air. They will start to hop from one back paw to the other - the tension will build, the excitement will grow and then - away she goes. Of course, this suffers from all the lack of traction problems mentioned above. The back legs circle and the cat goes nowhere for about 2 seconds. Then off she goes and inevitably misses the intended targeted, sliding right by, often ending up on her side in the process. Of course, she is a cat, so she will just lie wherever she ends up and start cleaning herself - well, she meant to do that, didn't she! What self-respecting cat would waste her time chasing around after small, rolly objects? Even more entertaining is making sure that the rolly object lands just in front of a nice solid object - a door or a wall will do. Well, I am sure that you can imagine what will happen...........


Anonymous said...

I have to add to this ... being the one that eats Toooonnnaaaaaaa on a regular basis, it amazes me.. they are not cats, but BATS.... you can time to noise of them upstairs to your feet .. uncanny .... and very amusing ...

We let Tess out the other day and she got a little lost (she is not the sharpest tool in the bed), so instead of calling Tess, we just called Tooooooonaaaaaaa... yup, she appeared.

Cartoon cats sliding across the floor has kept me amused, until Mr DBM moans about hazlenuts on the floor, and to the sad dissapointing looks from me, DBM, and two puss cats, he cleans up .... just mean, just mean !

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, the old 'holiday on ice' effect. Bert suffers from this when the chink of the biscuit barrel sending him hurtling to the kitchen. Cute x

Anonymous said...

Hi Mrs DBM, it's your one and only Auntie...for what it's worth I think it's the smell that gets them...pierce the tin and hey presto - that's how it works with my Harry anyway!

Anyway, hello there, and I will take this opportunity to wish you a very happy birthday for tomorrow - lots of love and best wishes to both you and Mr DBM X

Anonymous said...

Hi Auntie!
We did consider the effect of smell, but since the cats respond to any can being opened....although, they do seem more finely tuned to the tuna - perhaps there is a synergistic interaction between smell and sound? All I know is, I can't open a can of tuna in peace!
Thanks for the birthday wishes - Mr DBM is taking me somewhere, but I don't know where. Actually, I don't think he does either!