[ExI] you can walk a cat, if he lets you

robot at ultimax.com robot at ultimax.com
Mon Jan 25 22:25:33 UTC 2021

>> Well, not everyone has a dog, and cats don?t play that game.
> Cats do play that game!  It just takes a little bit of training to get
> them used to the harness.
> (And you have to put up with all the strange looks you get).   :)
.  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I had this wicked smart lynx-point Siamese named "Spanky" (his name when 
he was given to me).
(Spanky was so clever he could even send email.  This was in the 
mid-1990s when there were half a dozen discrete steps required to do 
that.  One day I came home and spotted the connection status light on 
the dialup ISBM modem was lit and that there was a "you have mail" 
message on my Mac IIsi's screen.  For security, I *never* leave my 
computer connected when I leave home.  I rushed over, spun my office 
chair around, and there was Spanky sitting it calmly licking himself.  I 
clicked the box, and a message full of garbage popped up.  After saying 
"whiskey-tango-foxtrot-interrogative" to myself for a few minutes, I put 
it together--
the cat had managed to initiate a connection, which is possible on the 
Mac with a keyboard shortcut (I forget which keys) but you have to be in 
the correct active window,
then managed to switch active windows to Eudora (which was usually 
running in the background) which theoretically you could do by shifting 
the mouse and clicking at the right instant,
then instantiate a new message (Ctrl-N which requires 2 paws),
then populate the fields (To:, From:, Subject:, content, which works so 
long as you manage to hit Tab every once in a while),
then Send the message which can be done with a single carriage return 
*if* the cursor was in the right place of the new active window.

The message that was waiting for me was a bounce report, of course, b/c 
the outgoing message was gibberish, composed by a cat walking on the 
keyboard.  Like those monkeys eventually managing to typing 
Shakespeare's plays.

Still, for a cat, he got pretty far.  If I'd had Autofill enabled (or if 
Spanky had better spelling/luck with his paws), somebody might have 
actually gotten that message.  Then I would have had to explain why to 
that person I appeared to be sending incoherent email.  In retrospect, 
that would have be a lot of fun, and that way, there'd be a witness too.

There's a great passage from RAH's /The Moon is a Harsh Mistress/ in 
which Manny the protagonist is having a soliloquy on the nature of 
self-awareness, to reason out if "Mike" the lunar supercomputer was 
really alive.  Manny asks the reader:
"Is bacteria self-aware?"
"I don't think so."
"Almost certainly."
"How about people?"
"I don't know about you, tovarishch, but *I* sure am."

On to my actual comment (see, I'm driving the point home instead of just 
giving it carfare).

I had dog-walking duty one day, and being lazy, I tried to walk Spanky 
with a harness at the same time.  He just sat on his butt in the 
driveway and refused to budge.  I tugged on the harness to get him to 
move.  After a couple of tugs, without warning he did a four-footed leap 
and executed some complicated mid-air maneuver involving a somersault or 
something.  I think I saw one rev on the roll axis, and one on the pitch 
axis.  Apparently none on the yaw, since he was pointed in the same 
direction when he landed.  Really, you'd have to have been an Olympic 
ice skating judge to parse the motion.  Anyway, Spanky landed in one 
place, and the harness with the lead still attached (and me still 
holding the dumb end of the lead) landed in another.  It was the most 
amazing feline acrobatic act I've even witnessed.  He just stared at me 
and licked himself.

I gave up and just walked the dog anyway.  To my surprise, Spanky 
bestirred himself and trotted along.  When Kewpie pooped, Spanky pooped; 
when the dog peed, he peed.  Otherwise he kept pace with the dog, 
neither ahead nor behind.  So this became a thing with us--it did 
startle the neighbors, but they got over that.  Now as you know, 
primates and canines are cursorial hunters, felines are generally not.


So after a few hundred meters, Spanky would be worn out and panting.  So 
he'd give me a plaintive look, then I'd have to pick him up and carry 
him the rest of the way.

This is why they say, "dogs have owners but cats have staff".

Lynx-point Siamese is my favorite breed of cat, because they're so 
freaking smart, and social, and slinky, and beautiful, and have such an 
amazing range of vocalizations.

Spanky's been gone 16 years, but I still miss him.


On 2021-01-24 16:24, extropy-chat-request at lists.extropy.org wrote:
> Date: Sun, 24 Jan 2021 21:23:19 +0000
> From: BillK <pharos at gmail.com>
> To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Subject: Re: [ExI] rent a dog
> On Sun, 24 Jan 2021 at 19:18, spike jones via extropy-chat
> <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> Well, not everyone has a dog, and cats don?t play that game.
>> _______________________________________________
> Cats do play that game!  It just takes a little bit of training to get
> them used to the harness.
> Loads of videos.........
> <https://duckduckgo.com/?q=taking+cats+for+a+walk&t=ffab&atb=v154-1&iar=videos&iax=videos&ia=videos>
> (And you have to put up with all the strange looks you get).   :)
.  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> BillK

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list