Kitty LeFey’s Cosmos: Please, Please Me

Kitty LeFey’s Cosmos: Please, Please Me

Dogs have been the primary beneficiaries of very much study and very great good will. And cats? Let’s just say it has been less so…until recently. The end result of a changing tide is that the scientific world is starting to catch up on the reality that cat lovers have been living since the first opportunistic ferals decided to see what agriculture was all about.

A harness won’t distract Grecca when lunch could arrive any second (Carrot’s watching!)

The intrepid ancestors of our favored felis catus were drawn to human settlements by the rodents that were there to take advantage of our cultivating grains to make fermented beverages (i.e. safe to drink)  and bake bread (i.e. bread good). It was only natural that we fell in love with the whiskers, purrs, and swooshinesses of those semi-tame cuddle bugs. They protected our fields, probably enjoyed our fires quite as much as they do now, and eventually came to keep our feet warm and our heads overly warm at night.

Since those early days, in our homes and at such marvels of human engineering as Tabby’s Place: A Cat Sanctuary, we have had ample opportunities to learn what cats are all about. We can understand their spoken and non-verbal languages (just not their secrets). We know they return our affections because they show us in a million different ways every single day…except when strangers stop by to observe their behavior. At home, our cats hide or check out visitors, glare disparagingly, or make new friends – to each depending on preferences and predilections.

Boobalah is eager to visit more friends

At Tabby’s Place, we who know the cats best – as a whole and individually (both them and us!) – recognize that behaviors shift depending on who is around. We know who loves us.  We also know whom we love: every…single…cat.

Not only do we love and understand (at least well enough for these purposes) our cats at home and at Tabby’s Place, we understand and love dogs too (GASP!). We don’t expect one to be unlike the other simply because one was studied carefully (dogs), and the opposite of those findings were bizarrely assumed to be true of the other (cats). That’s not good science; that’s bias. But, the research is finally, slowly starting to catch up.

Angelo enjoying retirement

Without waiting for the results of various ongoing studies, there surely will be one big finding that shall become clear to all who think, mistakenly, that cats are not at all like dogs. First, to clarify, while there are some differences, most differences are minor –  behavioral, dietary, etc. Many differences are more about individuals than entire species. And, yes, cats like to play fetch. Now, are you ready for this not-very-astonishing, unscientifically proven, yet completely-verifiable-by-many-pet-lovers finding?

This is going to definitely not shake your world.

The finding is…

…wait for it…

…you probably already know…

  • Dogs are eager to please
  • Cats are eager to be pleased
Taylor Ham is almost ready to go

To be clear, cats and dogs are all very, very pleasing, hence our continued preferences to share our spaces and our bank accounts with them. As for cats, their wanting us to please them doesn’t mean that they are, therefore, unwilling to please us. It’s just that cats are very peculiarly particular about the timing and the terms surrounding the doing of those things that we would like them to do. It takes time, patience, pets, treats, and the precisely right mood, and the softest breeze coming in just so off the nearest mountain range to roll through the forest and eventually whisper gently indoors in order to train a cat to climb high steps then dive into a pool or to jump through hoops. There are some cats that will with sufficient coaxing. There are more dogs that will do so very readily, simply because they are more eager to please than cats. Yet, cats, too, are very trainable.

Baby storing more energy for his next visits

Training at Tabby’s Place if very important. There is clicker training for specific situations. There is the unintended training regarding meal times (That goes in both directions. Humans are very trainable indeed!). And, the amazing Jae, our Volunteer Coordinator, has recently been harness training Grecca. Trifecta is in training too. What they’ll both learn is how to be therapy cats, so they will be able to participate in outreach programs like Aged to Purrfection.

Since Carrot, Angelo, and Steven have all retired, the active participants are down to only three. Grecca the Great and Trifecta the Terrific are hopefuls for joining the ranks to bring the total up to five. Both of these individuals share traits and behaviors that make them prime candidates to join big ol’ Baby, tender Taylor Ham, and beloved Boobalah on the active roster. Will they? Only time will tell, but things look promising. In the meantime, the success of Paws to Read and Aged to Purrfection prove that there is no lack of ability, but there may just be a slight lack of…yawn…energy…or interest.

Apropos to nothing except titular inspiration, click here for a beat that should give us all a boost.

Apropos to everything, check out Trifecta in training:


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