Our Evening Ritual

As much as I love cats for what they are, they’re not exactly the trainable type. As their “person” (because, really, can anyone actually *own* a cat?), you’ll be lucky to get them to actually do anything on command, and it’ll happen mainly by getting the cat to do something they already wanted to do, anyway.

For example, the cat I had during middle school and high school, Sylvester, used to sit on top of the fridge and turn his head upside-down. We thought it was so cute that we started catching him at it, telling him to “be cute,” and giving him a treat. After a while, he would “be cute” on command, especially if you were already armed with a treat.

Cats can definitely recognize and respond to certain vocabulary words, though not quite as many as a dog can. They can also tell time — some cats better than others.

When Aaron and I got our cat, Mei, about five years ago, I took it upon myself to train her to know when it was time for dinner, and to say please (or at least “meow”). It took Mei quite a while to pick up on this as a kitten, even though I repeated the same words and the same actions at the same time every day. By now, though, it’s our evening ritual.

Postscript: I played this mp3 so many times — to edit out the hum of the refrigerator, and to test the niftyplayer I downloaded — that I confused the shit out of Mei, since she kept hearing my voice say “the words,” even though it’s well after “time.” So, I gave her kitty treats.