1) We will allow you to say “Calm down, you crepuscular maniac!” because the reason we get the “night crazies” is that we’re crepuscular mammals, meaning we’re most active at twilight. We share this trait with rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs … and vishus deer!
2) You may refer to us as your “Digitigrade darlings” because we are just that. A digitigrade is an animal that walks on its toes. We share this trait with woofies, but not humans. You humans, like bears, are plantigrades – you clunk around on the soles of your feet.
3) You may call us your “Loose-skinned lovebugs” because we do have very loose skin. This allows us to turn easily inside our own skin when you humans, or another cat, or a predator has a grip on us. It also lets our catmoms carry us around by the scruff of our necks. (Hint: massaging the loose skin on the scruffs of our necks is very soothing for us.)
4) You may request “Don’t get your vibrissae in an uproar” because we do, in fact, have dozens of movable vibrissae (whiskers) not just on our faces, but all over our bodies, and they are prone to stand up straight when we get rattled.
5) We will tolerate your occasional shriek for us to “You obligate carnivore, get off that counter!” when we stalk your ham or chicken. But you must understand that as obligate carnivores, our teeth, our digestive systems and our entire physiology makes us meat eaters and lacks efficient processes for digesting plant matter. That’s why we yack up grass.
6) When we refuse to eat, you may order us to “Get your vomeronasal organ off its high horse” even though we’ll ignore you. Our vomeronasal organ, or Jacobson’s organ in the roofs of our mouths, sometimes gets used to the smell of the same food over and over again, and it wants to be excited by something new. This same organ gets excited when we smell something interesting and start doing that open-mouthed sniffing thing.
7) We will permit you to call us “squirrelly” because squirrels and cats are the only mammals who can survive a fall at terminal velocity. This is because we have flexible spines, no collar bones and a righting reflex, letting us land on our feet. However, don’t ask us to try this at home, because we don’t always land unharmed!
8) We will ignore your occasional “Oh no, I see your membrana nictitans!” because you’re being anatomically correct. Our membrane nictitans (nictitating membrane) is our third eyelid. Don’t be alarmed; it doesn’t always mean we’re sick – we could just be happy or trying to take a nap. We use our third eyelid to clean dirt & junk off our big eyes, and to block out light. We see better than people in the dark, so we need that third eyelid to catnap all day in the daytime!
9) We will also overlook at times “You bonehead!” because we do, in fact, have 29 bones in our skulls and you poor humans have only 22. This could possibly be because our brains are more worth protecting than yours!
10) You may say “You think you’re hot stuff, don’t you?” because we are hot stuff compared to you. Our normal body temperature is 101.5, while yours is only 98.6.
11) You can call us “wildcats” when we run through the house with our tails pointed in the air, but you would be wrong, as usual. We domestic cats are the only cat species than can hold its tail upright when walking or running. Wild cats either tuck them between their legs or hold them straight out.
12) You may call us “picky eaters” but you would be wrong again. Domestic cats can hunt and eat about 1,000 different species; big cats eat fewer than 100.
13) We don’t mind at all if you call us “hepetalactone addicts.” This is a good thing! The catnip plant contains an oil called hepetalactone which does for us what marijuana does to humans. Just be sure to keep lots of Temptations on hand for when we get the munchies!
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