Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Situational awareness.

My cat, Random Numbers, is very attuned to her surroundings. One of her most interesting quirks is that she listens carefully for the sound of the latch's *click* whenever a door is swung shut. If she hears hinges squeak or the door hit the jamb and there's no sound of the latch engaging, she will be there within moments, reaching under the door with her paw and pulling it open to venture into The Place With The Old Cats And Soft Food or The Forbidden Basement Of Mysteries.

I had hypothesized that it was the sound of the latch that brought her over to investigate, and tested that hypothesis this morning while stepping through the "cat lock" into the dining room: I swung the door to, but left my hand on the knob and didn't engage the latch. As if on cue, she hopped off the futon in the living room and started strolling nonchalantly my way and then I pulled it 'til it clicked. Her ears twitched at the sound, and she immediately stopped in her tracks, looked over at me, and then ambled off in another direction.

Mm-hm. I'd wondered how she always seemed to sense when those doors weren't latched almost immediately. Now I know, and knowing is half the battle.


Anonymous said...

I'm reminded a storyabout how Goats always seem to escape their pens.

"They ain't very smart, but they have NOTHING else to think about all day."

Mark Alger said...

There is something in a cat that cannot abide a closed door.

When we lived in a high-rise apartment, our Murphy exhibited an odd variant of this. He would hear the door to the public hallway open, run to the hinge side of the door -- behind the leaf, mind -- and mew through the crack like a kidnapped child crying for release.

Never did figure out what that was all about.


OA said...

I'm reminded a storyabout how Goats always seem to escape their pens.

"They ain't very smart, but they have NOTHING else to think about all day."

8:46 AM, December 02, 2009

Clearly you've never seen a goat suck its pecker.

Kristopher said...

Cat hunting 101. don't close the door all the way.

It's like throwing an empty Garand clip to get a Kraut to break cover.

Hat Trick said...

The next obvious step is to mess up her operational theory and latch the door carefully so that it doesn't click. See how long she struggles to get the door open when she thinks it's not latched

rickn8or said...

Hat Trick--
And when she figures out the how and the what and the who of THAT, she'll "mistake" Tam's favorite shoes for her litter box.
You can't win with a cat; all you can do is fight them to a (temporary) draw.

Kristopher said...

You CAN win with a cat. You just need to find a good recipe.

Wai said...

I have a few good recipes.
(I kid ::wink::)

Brigid said...

Barkley will go to the door a good 5 minutes before one of you shows up. He can't possibly hear the vehicle that far away. Can he?

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

My cat has figured out how doorknobs work - I've actually watched him reach up, grab the doorknob between both front paws, and try to turn it. It's only the lack of opposable thumbs that keeps him out of rooms I don't want him going into. He can't get enough friction to do it.

Cats are tool users... humans are their tools. If they ever figure out how to overcome that lack of opposable thumbs, we're doomed. DOOMED I tell you!