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The Slice

Smart cats

Let's pick up where today's print column left off.

“My cat, Ed, was smart enough and fast enough to figure out how to catch a hummingbird last summer,” wrote Karen Mobley. “Unfortunately, it got stuck and I had to do the Heimlich to get the beak out before he choked to death.”

Let that be a lesson to you, Ed. Stop killing birds.

“Several years ago, I had a cat with an injured leg,” wrote Cathy McCoy. “We babied and fussed over that cat for several days until, one day, we noticed that she was limping on the wrong leg. Of course, if she had been truly smart she would have been limping on the leg that had been injured.”

Maybe she thought switching legs would earn her even better treatment.

“Every morning I get up and do some exercises which include bending over and touching the floor,” wrote Ken Otteman. “Mittens the cat comes from wherever she is in the house and stretches and rolls over each time I touch the floor. If I do not rub her back she gives me a look and a mew. When I get down on the floor to do roll-ups and push-ups she is right there waiting for her back, chin and ear rub. How many people have an exercise coach cat?”

Usually their role as personal trainers involves demonstrating how to take power naps.

“Lilly knocks on doors when she wants in,” wrote Becky Rainer.

And she knocks on her humans when she wants out.

“I think my cat should be considered the smartest cat ever just for the fact that she lived for 23 years,” wrote Marilyn Frei. “I finally had to put Kev down earlier this year after she had a spinal stroke. She spent the first 11 years of her life on a farm where she had to outsmart coyotes, cattle, tractors and trucks. After moving to Spokane she had to learn how to be a city (mostly indoor) cat. Kev had a unique instinct to be a comforter and companion for me following several surgeries and during any illness or injury. At these times she would stay by my side all day and all night, sleeping on my bed or snuggling with me on the couch or in a chair. Other times she was aloof and kept to herself. I miss her.”

That's not the first time I have heard that some felines seem to know when they are needed.

“Our cat Lisette is 13 years old,” wrote Michelle Batten. “Every evening while we are watching TV she wakes up and comes into the room and jumps up on the arm of the sofa beside my husband. She puts both paws on his shoulder and then strokes his face with her right paw until he gets up and gives her some wet food. She has been doing this for several years. She is good.”

Sounds like she has her routine down pat.

“Our cat Maow is smart because he is curious, knows when it's time to eat, and when to rest up for his next adventure,” said Steve Powers.

Sounds like a pretty good schedule.

“Hairy, one of two resident cats, is smart enough,” wrote Ellen Sherriffs. “He's smart enough to have a position with excellent benefits and a better retirement package than my own. All he has to do is smell like a cat to deter the garden mice from moving in. The balance of his day is spent sleeping on his face.”

Another good schedule.

“My 17-year-old kitty could retrieve the ball and meow with the ball in her mouth,” wrote Gale O'Connor. “She also could walk with us down to the lake and back up with us, which was about one mile. Many sweet memories of her.”

Back in the early 1980s, Mae Greenwood once walked door-to-door at night, soliciting donations for a charity. Her husband had to stay home with an infant. So Mae took her dog on a leash.

“At the second or third home I noticed that my cat, Smokey, was walking along with us. Many neighbors commented on my protectors and were amazed that Smokey sat and waited on their porch and then walked off with the dog and me to the next house. He was a very smart and devoted cat.”

Marilyn Courrier's cat, Shadow, once went inside the neighbor's house, which also has a pet door. The guy who lived there noticed Shadow in his kitchen. “Our neighbor says the cat looked at him, looked at the closed cat door, looked at him and bounded to the cat door, nudged the door up with his nose and leaped through the flap to freedom.”

So do cats form the thought, “I'm bustin' outta here”?

Perhaps with a bit of keyboarding help, a cat named Grady sent an email to The Slice noting that he was smart enough to adopt John and Ruth Williams after a previous owner dumped him beside a dirt road. “Today I live the Life Riley,” said Grady.

If only all pets were so lucky..


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About this blog

Features writer Paul Turner is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review in the Features department. He writes "The Slice" column, which appears six times a week and produces general features stories for the Today section.

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