CC the Tabby Cat: Her Life and Times; and 10 Things Tabby Cats Hate
Justice for Tabby Cats!
I'm CC. I'm a silver tabby cat. As such, I consider myself to be an expert on the likes, dislikes, and proper care of tabbies.
This lens is part of the SquidPaws animal tribute on Squidoo. Technically, it's supposed to be an opportunity for humans to pay tribute to their "pets"; but who better to pay me tribute than myself? And what better way to pay tribute to all tabby cats than to help you improve yourself as a human minion?
You see, I have strong opinions about the way that humans interact with my species, and since my species is superior, a sense of noblesse oblige requires me to share those opinions with you. You humans do a lot of things that drive us cats absolutely crazy. An ignorant human can cause a lot of problems for us, and then, when we try to solve those problems in a reasonable, cat-like way, we get blamed for being "bad". The good news is that by learning about tabby cats, and why we do what we do, you can avoid doing those things that drive us nuts.
And so I present to you ten things that tabby cats absolutely hate -- and what you, if you aspire to be a worthy human minion, can do about them. The Ten Things Tabby Cats Hate are interspersed with details from my life, to give my human fans an opportunity to learn a little more about me, and what Addy (my human) loves about me. Because of course, you've been dying to know.
Things Tabbies Hate, Number Ten: People Who Think We're NOTHING Like Humans - Tabby is a Mammal, Just Like You
Tabby cats hate it when humans think that we're nothing like them.
Some humans think that cats are unaware, that we don't have needs, drives, or feelings like humans do. The fact is that cats and humans are both mammals, and that means we have a lot in common. If you remember your high school biology, you know that mammals are warm-blooded, have hair or fur on their bodies, and give birth to live young.
What you may not know is that all mammals share a similar brain structure, which means that they share the same emotions. Just like you, Tabby can feel fear, anger, desire, disgust, sadness, and happiness. We can be bored, anxious, and depressed. If you think Tabby is "being bad", she's probably acting out of distress.
About My Human
Addy spends a little too much time painting, playing music, and typing on her computer, and not enough time doing my bidding. But as far as naked apes go, she's OK in my book. She provides healthy meals, fresh water, and a more or less clean litter box. She can also be relied upon to take us to the vet when we need it -- don't tell her I said this, but that's a good thing.
If I yell at her long enough and loud enough, she will usually be reminded of her priorities, and come play with me. She also maintains a body temperature of 98.6 degrees Farenheit, which makes her good for sitting on.
Things Tabbies Hate, Number Nine: People Who Think We're JUST LIKE Humans - Tabby Doesn't Have a Prefronal Cortex
Tabby cats hate it when people assume we're too much like humans.
Some people seem to think that we're little versions of themselves, with the ability to plan things, make decisions, and understand cause and effect relationships. People who think this way expect cats to understand the "rules" they've set up. For instance, they think that they can leave an open can of tuna unattended, and that Tabby will somehow "know" that she's "not supposed to" eat it.
In fact, Tabby has no idea about what she's "supposed" to do. Cats are driven by emotion, instinct, and the information provided by their senses. In this case, Tabby's senses are telling her that there's food on the counter top. Her instincts are telling her to eat it. Her emotions tell her that tuna is a source of contentment -- that is, until her human walks in and punishes her for "breaking the rules".
At that point, she'll feel fear. She'll also feel conflicted; she knows something bad will happen if she tries to eat the tuna, but her instincts are telling her to eat the tuna. If this goes on for too long, she'll become stressed, and possibly depressed, which can lead to other behavior problems.
Wouldn't it be easier if you didn't leave the tuna on the counter in the first place?
The Life and Times of CC the Tabby Cat
For the edification of my public.
I was born in an Iowa barn in the autumn of 1994. My siblings and I spent the cold Midwestern winter inside that barn, nice and snug with our mother. When the warmer weather of Spring came, I began to get restless, and decided to seek my fortune. My mother gave me one last bath before I left, and charged me to educate the world about Tabby Cats.
I headed into town, and soon found myself on the campus of a small liberal arts college. The students there gave me my due, setting out bowls of food and letting me in and out of their dorm rooms, even though cats were technically "against the rules." As if cats care anything for rules!
A young woman named Jaden decided to adopt me formally. She made sure I got all my shots and had me spayed. When she left campus for the summer, she left me in the care of her friend Addy. Originally I was supposed to go back and live with Jaden at the end of the summer. When she came back to campus, however, she had news for Addy. After she graduated that semester, she would be moving in with her fiance -- whose apartment building didn't allow cats. Can you imagine, "not allowing" cats? The nerve!
By that point, Addy couldn't imagine her life without me anyway, and I decided to stay with her to give her life meaning and purpose.
Things Tabbies Hate, Number Eight: Lack of Privacy and Boundaries - Tabby needs her space!
Tabby cats hate it when they don't have a place to get away from it all.
Imagine, for a moment, that you weigh about 8 or 12 pounds. You stand about a foot off the ground. And you live with giants who are 10 to 20 times your size, and that these giants have long arms and hands with opposable thumbs, and that they can use these hands to lift you off the ground at any moment and hold you there.
Do you think you'd want the giants to back off once in awhile? Would you want a place to go where you knew you could nap in peace? I bet you would. If Tabby is hanging out under the bed or the couch, or on top of her cat tree, it probably means she doesn't want to be bothered right now.
CC is Not My Real Name ...
.. but I'll tell you what almost was!
CC is a nom de plume, taken to keep Addy from being overwhelmed with fan mail (she can barely deal with her own mail, and she doesn't even get that much of it). My first name does begin with the letter C. The second "C" stands for "Cat". Sometimes Addy is not the world's most original thinker.
My name was given to me by my original human, Jaden. She had a list of names she was considering and asked her friends to vote on them. The name Addy liked was "Pixel", after title character in a book called "The Cat Who Could Walk Through Walls". She has since learned a great deal about the power of naming cats -- if you give us a name, we will live up to it -- and she is now very glad I was not called Pixel.
Things Tabbies Hate, Number Seven: People Who Don't Spay or Neuter - Too Many Tabbies!
Tabby cats really hate it when people don't spay or neuter their pets.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I'll say it again, even though I hate going to the vet under any circumstances. SPAYING OR NEUTERING IS NOT OPTIONAL.
It is estimated that a pair of breeding cats can produce about 400,000 kittens over their breeding lifetimes. That's right; two breeding cats can make four hundred thousand more breeding cats! Think about that for a minute.
Those cats have an average lifespan of only two years, and their lives are brutish and nasty. They fall victim to cars, disease, and predation by larger animals -- but not before producing more kittens, who will in turn lead short, brutish, and nasty lives. Please stop the cycle. Spay or neuter your cat!
CC the Tabby Cat's Favorite Toy
Things Tabbies Hate, Number Six: Being Bored - All work and no play make Tabby a dull girl
Tabby cats hate being bored.
We're intelligent, sensitive creatures, and we are driven to seek stimulation. If you don't provide us with stimulation, we will get bored, and that will lead us to make our own. We will chew on your electrical cords, scratch up your Louis XIV chair, and knock your grandmother's Waterford vase off the shelf. We're not trying to be "bad", we're just bored, and we need to do something about it. We don't have a choice.
The good news is that you do have a choice. You can prevent a lot of problems by providing us with toys to keep us occupied, and with scratching furniture for us to vent our scratching instincts. An occupied tabby is a happy tabby.
What Addy Loves Most about CC the Tabby Cat
Addy and her husband Stuart love me because I'm 8 lbs of body weight, but a metric ton of attitude!
Things Tabbies Hate, Number Five: Being Lonely - Tabby needs love!
Tabby cats hate being lonely.
Domestic cats are not cooperative, like dogs, but we are social creatures. We may not admit it, but we enjoy spending time with you. If you're out of the house a lot, we may get lonely, and this can lead to depression. Depression can lead to behavior problems -- and at its worst, it can even be fatal to your tabby cat.
It's important that you spend quality time with us. Play with us, pet us, and sit with us. We need love just like you do.
Photos of CC the Tabby Cat - You may feast your eyes upon my gorgeousness.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Things Tabbies Hate, Number Four: Sudden Changes to the Litter Box - Change can make Tabby nervous!
Tabby cats hate sudden changes to the litter box.
Cats have good reason to be finicky about our litter boxes. You people don't understand this because you have nice clean bathrooms with doors you can open and shut with those opposable thumbs of yours, which you think are so great. But we know that when we relieve ourselves, we're putting ourselves in a potentially vulnerable situation. We're letting our guard down, so to speak. We're leaving ourselves wide open to attack by another cat or a much larger animal.
Abruptly switching litter brands, suddenly putting a hood on the litter box, or getting a new litter box entirely are all things that can make us suspect trouble. We're used to things being a certain way, and when that changes, we have to wonder if some unseen danger lurks close by. When all you have to go on are your instincts, your instincts may tell you to go elsewhere.
You can solve this problem by making changes gradually. If you get a new litter box, put it in the litter area for a couple of weeks, while keeping the old box. Gradually move it closer to the new box. Then fill it with litter, and see if your cats make the change themselves. If you're changing litter brands, it's best to begin by mixing a small amount of the new litter with the old litter, gradually increasing it over time.
CC the Cat's Favorite Scratcher Toy
Things Tabby Cats Hate, Number Three: Inadequate Litter Area - Tabby needs privacy!
Tabby cats hate it when their litter area doesn't meet their needs.
As I said, when we cats relieve ourselves in the wild, we know we're making ourselves vulnerable. This is why we prefer our litter box to be in a private place that feels safe. The litter box also needs to be big enough that we can fit into it comfortably. That being said, individual cats can have distinct preferences about their litter boxes. Some of us prefer an open box so we can see what's going on around us, and others prefer a hooded box so we can feel hidden. Many cats prefer not to share a litter box with other cats, and a multi-cat household can be a much more peaceful place if each cat has their own box.
CC Recommends: Happy Tabby
Things Tabbies Hate, Number Two: Dirty Litter Boxes - You want me to go *where*?
Tabby cats hate a dirty litter box.
You people take a mighty hunter like a tabby cat, born to roam free, meant to do our business in the fresh air of the great outdoors, and you expect us to use a tiny, smelly box instead. Then you whine about cleaning it once in awhile. And if you don't keep it clean, and if we must of necessity go elsewhere, you act like we just ruined your priceless antique rug.
I kid. Addy doesn't have anything that nice.
Anyway, think of what it would be like if the only place you had to go to the bathroom was a nasty porta-potty that hadn't been cleaned in a month. That antique rug might start looking pretty good, right?
How CC the Tabby Cat Bonds With Her Fellow Mammals
These are a few of my favorite things
It's good to have a human or two around the house. Humans can be very entertaining, especially when they try to play-fight and play-hunt. They're just so slow!
One of my favorite games came about when Addy put a sheet over the top platform of my scratching post. I like to hide on the bottom platform behind the sheet, and bat at whoever walks by. Addy and Stuart know that I keep my claws in when I'm playing with them, so they move their hands around the sheet from the other side, and I chase them. I always catch them, too.
Another great game is when Stuart puts a stack of paper on the floor, and I attack the paper, and it slides all over the room. It's really fun! Stuart complains about it, because he says he needs to spread out and put all of his "taxes" into "piles" and keep them there. Apparently they're "important". But I think he's just being a drama queen.
In addition to Addy and Stuart, I live with a co-kitty named Piglet. Piglet came to live with us when she was a tiny kitten -- only 3 pounds. Now she's 16.5 lbs, but I made sure she never figured out that she's twice my size. Piglet is too lazy to play much, but she does have a nice long plume of a tail which is fun for me to chase.
Things Tabby Cats Hate, Number One: Declawing - Tabby needs her claws!
Of all the stuff tabbies hate, declawing is the worst!
Declawing is mutilation. A lot of humans don't know this, and casually have their cats declawed whether or not there is even a scratching problem. Of all the things humans do to cats, this has to be the worst!
Declawing is not a simple question of "taking the nails away". The operation, which is major surgery, requires amputating the entire top joint of the cat's digits. Ligaments and tendons are cut. Muscle and bone are removed. It is a very painful operation with a very long recovery period. In fact, many cats never fully recover, either physically or psychologically.
A cat's claws are her most important defensive weapons. A cat who has been declawed knows full well that she is defenseless, and her personality might change radically in response to that stress. Some declawed cats become extremely fearful, hiding from everything and everyone, while others become extremely aggressive, to make up for their missing defenses.
That's All, Folks!
I hope I taught you something today.
There you have it. Ten things tabbies hate, precious biographical data about Yours Truly, and lots of beautiful picture of tabbies to look at. I hope I've inspired you toward ever-higher standards of human minionship. May you remain an obedient and faithful servant to your tabby cat.
I'll be back soon with another lens about tabby cats ... but in the mean time, I think I see a pile of "taxes" on the floor. Gotta go!