Thursday, 27 January 2011

Yet another reason why my cats hate me

Recently, I've been up to no good doing meagre psychology experiments on my family. Nothing important, nothing recordable, just a little bit of fun that I found weirdly interesting. Oh - and to your inevitable questions - no, it's not something I do often, yes, it's not the usual thing to do, and perhaps, only if you ask me first.

Experiment 1: Which way?

It's no formal experiment, I warn in advance. It consists of this: there's a doorframe between my kitchen and little utility room thing in my house, and my cats often run through it to escape the claws of my cat-hugging, -kissing, -dressing up and generally -tormenting sisters. Remember those moments when you're unnecessarily picked up, swooshed around like a centrifuge, then have a Tesco bag wrapped ungainly around your waist? No? Well, my cats do. All too well.

So, with humans there are those moments when you're walking past someone, then they get out of the way, then you get out of the way to the same side, and then you do the same on the other side, then there's that awkward feeling (which Luke informs me must be accompanied by some sort of tortoise) that usual results in romance in films but in normal life leads you to become embarrassed. Embarrassed because you're being a dick in the street or wherever, and because the person faffing around with you in such follies is not Cameron Diaz and the faffing around will not end in a light-hearted relationship, with true love and Ashton Kutcher somewhere in between.

My plan was to do this on my cats, in that doorway I was telling you about a few paragraphs back. And it's fun to see how they interact and react with that: my thick cat took ten side-switches before he realised this wasn't getting anywhere and that he'd probably be better off somewhere else. Ten switches! Ten! I told you he was thick, didn't I? Funny little bugger, though.

The other cat of mine was not so easy to trick. He's clever. Or rather, clever in relation to the thick one. Which isn't saying much - just that he possesses more than three independent brain cells. As a result of being so vastly clever and being some kind of feline genius, he sees fit to treat us all like shit and act like a total jerk. If he were a human, he'd be one of those guys who's grumpy, but not funnily so like Jack Dee or (occasionally) yours truly, grumpy like that old guy on the bus who kept shooting you condemnatory stares and who no one likes. The person who constantly revisits the thought "I hate my life because all the people in it are idiots" for that much-needed ego boost every lonely Friday night. That's my cat. He shoots you this cat-stare (different from human stares, might I add) that is the epitome of hatred and disgust. Like us humans are below him. Anywho, he took three side-switches before he backtracked a bit and sat down to wait for me to move.

See the big difference between thick and clever cats? It's amazing how even cats have the brains for such problem-solving. They think in much the same way as us, working out where they need to go, how they're going to get there, and moving to a different place to solve the problem of me being in the way. And it's not just that; their brains don't just allow them to keep changing sides forever - they have the intelligence to see that a problem will keep persisting, so find another way round. It's amazing how similar yet more simplified the minds of cats are. Incredibly simplified in the case of the thick one.

Experiment 2: Got milk?

Taking the whole 'experimenting with my family' schpiel to a whole new level, here's my second experiment. Not with my cats, but with my family - that's right, people. Can I just get two things clear here, before I explain:

1. This experiment has no meaning or psycho-analysis explanation
2. This experiment was basically just an effort to see if I could get my family confused over something.

So it's not amazing. Here's what I did: in my family we use semi-skimmed and non-skimmed milk cartons from the God of retail that is Tesco. Or, as we call it, 'the green milk' and 'the blue milk' - judging by the caps, for we don't read/look at the labels. Simple, huh? Yeah, but what if I swap round those instantly recognisable coloured milk bottletops? Well, firstly, I've changed a vital part of breakfast routine! But did anyone notice? Not consciously, it seemed. My sister did once remark that 'the blue milk tastes different', so I guess I've succeeded in some way. Also, I tricked myself directly after swapping the caps for a second time, haha. Try it sometime, it's a quick but interesting experiment, even if it doesn't give many results, let alone analysable ones. Because there's nothing like a good psychological experiment when you're among family. Or, in other words,



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