In Part 1 of Cat Talking, I conceded that, although it’s been scientifically demonstrated that people who talk to their pets–anthropomorphize–are more intelligent than those who don’t, I might not be quite so smart as other pet talkers. In fact, I admitted my IQ might be three points below that of the sea sponge.
For the moment, however, let’s forget all that and assume I’m as smart as all the rest.
Yesterday’s subject was William, who doesn’t take direction.
Today I write about Ernest, who, wonder of wonders, does.
We’ve had our battles. He clings. He stomps on me. He stomps on the keyboard. He stomps on me . . .
So I set out to teach him to lie down.
Lie down. Lie down. Lieeeeeee dowwwwwwwwwn. Lieeeeeee dowwwwwwwwwn. Lieeeeeee dowwwwwwwwwn. Lieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee dowwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.
Somewhere in the 1.5 million repetitions, he not only figured out what I wanted him to do, but he started doing it.
For a while, we fought over positioning–he wanted to lie facing away from me, with his rear straddling my forearm, for maximum tummy exposure. See photo above.
Now he lies down facing me, his head on the laptop. He does it voluntarily. Just jumps onto the chair beside me and plops himself down.
Our system isn’t perfect. He lies down only on his right side, never his left. And he seems to think a laptop must be present.
But I am impressed. In fact, I am gobsmacked.
I’ve had many intelligent cats. But Ernest is the first cat I’ve ever trained to do something he didn’t want to do. I’m impressed with him, and I’m impressed with me.
And I think we’re both way ahead of the sea sponge.