SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Column: Humor

Catfood Gravity: It's not just a good idea, it's the law



June 05, 2017
Monday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
It is a rainy day in Ketchikan.

jpg  Dave Kiffer

Yeah, I know that is redundant.

We live in a rainforest, not a sunforest. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

But that means that the birds that flock to the seeds on our deck are busy elsewhere where it is not raining. They pretty much fly 10 miles north or south of Ketchikan, where it is not raining.

It makes you wonder why we have decided to settle in the wettest place around. Elsewhere - even in Alaska - it is summer. Heck, even in the southern hemisphere it is probably more summery than it is here right now.

It's funny because even on this island there are places where the weather is less inclement. Even on the other side of Gravina. Probably on the other side of Pennock. Probably on the other side of the Bar Harbor Breakwater.

But no, we chose to live here, in this spot, in this sun deprived realm.

This place where "Ketchikan" is a Tlingit word that means "place you don't want to live year-round."

Actually, that's not true. But in this world of alternate facts it has a certain "truthy" ring to it.

But I digress. Bitterly.

Anyway, the birds are gone and the cats are not amused, so they have taken to knocking things off the table. And the shelf. And the bed stand. And the computer desk.

Why do they do that?

I saw a cartoon in the Memesphere recently that debunked the anti-science, flat earthers perfectly.

"If the earth were truly flat," it noted. "Cats would have knocked everything off it by now."

You betcha.

Being a curious type myself, I have decided to try to figure out why cats do this. What compels them to knock things off everything?

First, I consulted the experts. Pretty much every possible life eventually has been studied by people desperate for doctoral degrees. And for those who already have those degrees, there are always grants to be had for studying everything else.

After all, who can forget such recent Ignobel Prize Winners as Itch Relief by Pretending to Scratch. A Psychophysical Study and  Duration of Urination Does Not Change With Body Size.

So it stands to reason that some budding animal behaviorist must have obtained PhD-hood by conclusively determining "Why Cats are Obsessed With Knocking Things on the Floor."

Apparently not. 

According to the  International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants  (I am not making this up) "the research has just not been done yet."

Well, piffle.

So I have been forced to go straight to the source, the cat's mouth so to speak.

We have three cats. I asked them why they insist upon knocking things on the floor. What's up with that?

"Meow, meow"

"Purrr, purr, purr, trill trill."

"Mek. mek, mek."

Fortunately, I have learned over the years to speak cat. It's not hard. They really are only saying two or three things.

"Feed me."

"Scratch my cheek."

"Scratch my cheek and feed me, now"

Yeah, I know there are those of you think you can have deep conversations and enduring connections with your fur babies. But, in reality, cats are only concerned with you scratching their tummies, both on the outside and the inside.

But still, I pressed on with my quest.

I asked Cat 1.

"That's a great question," he replied. "Feed me."

I tried a couple more times and got the same response, finally he conceded a minor interest in Newtonian physics inspired by the time that a tasty baby bird once fell out of tree nearby.

"You could say I have been trying to replicate that delicious experience ever since," he added. "Speaking of which. Feed me. Now."

Ever notice how "now" rhymes with "meow." That is not an accident.

It was less fruitful confabbing with Cat 2.

"That's on a need to know basis, human," she replied. "And right now, you only need to know one thing. Feed me!"

Since Cat 3 is the youngest, I held out hope that he might spill the beans, or at least tip over the Kitty Kibble.

"I don't know," he said, after scratching his own chin. "Stuff kinda makes a fun noise when it hits the floor. And it always fun to watch a human jump up off the couch to see what it going on."

That made a little bit of sense. I have often observed that a cat will stare at you after knocking something on the floor. As if to say, "hey, look what I did."

"No, that's not it," Cat 3 continued. "What we are actually saying is 'feed us or else we'll knock something else on the floor.' "

Uh huh.

Meanwhile, it continues to rain. Because, that's what it does in Ketchikan in the summer.

I'm bored. And no one seems to be paying any attention to me.

Maybe I should just knock some cat food on the floor.

That should get me an enthusiastic 12 paws up.



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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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