My Cats Are So Helpful

This week I came down with Three-Day Killer Death Flu. I also had a high-pressure deadline at work, so my cats didn’t get as much attention as they’re used to. Fortunately, instead of complaining, they decided to help out around the house.

I woke up yesterday morning to find that the cats were cleaning their toys.

Seffie's favorite non-laser toy
They may be messy eaters, but at least they wash their own toys.

I took that picture on my phone and posted it to Facebook. As I was typing the caption, my cat Seffie came into the kitchen. By the time I’d finished typing (I’m a slow phone typist), she’d had taken the toy out of the bowl and was playing with it. Apparently it had been soaking long enough.

This morning, I woke up to this:

That's right -- I didn't clean up the dry food from the floor. I was overworked and sick, okay? Don't judge me.
It’s deja vu all over again.

So I took out the toy and changed the water. I also give them fresh food every morning; when I turned around after throwing out the old food, this is what I saw:

Finally, a cat picture.
Apparently the blue toy needed washing again.

The blue toy may not be obvious in that photo, but you can see it in this close-up.

Not just a pretty face.
And the cycle continues

I wonder what I’ll find in the kitchen tomorrow.

Update: I’ve started a Things I Found In My Cat’s Water Bowl tumblr.

BREAKING NEWS: I’ve Chosen a Name For My Cat

A couple weeks ago, I asked for cat name ideas and got some really good suggestions. In the end, though, I decided to base my new kitten’s name on two of her most prominent personality traits:

  1. She spends a lot of time in the dark nether regions of my bedroom closet but always seems happy to come out when called (or when she just wants to eat or play), and
  2. She purrs a lot.

So the obvious choice was Purrsephone. But that’s too many syllables (and maybe a little too cutesy for everyday use), so I’m calling her Seffie.


In other news, Seffie is getting along really well with my other cat, Thunder.

Thunder and Seffie
Thunder and Seffie, ten days after her arrival

Some other Seffie observations:

  • Sometimes I’ll throw a toy, and she’ll chase it, pick it up, and bring it back to me. To a casual observer, it might appear that she’s playing Fetch, but really she just likes picking up objects and carrying them to wherever she happens to be going.
  • She purrs all the time. I think her purr threshold is set really low (so that if you could somehow measure a cat’s happiness on a scale of 1 to 10, and most cats purr at a happiness level of 8 or higher, she probably purrs at anything over 6).
  • She’s difficult to photograph. This morning she and Thunder were being really cute, and I tried to get some video — but I was sitting in a sunny spot, and when I picked up my phone, Seffie raced off to chase the light reflected on the wall.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about what’s going on with my kitchen sink — it’s a long story. And it’s not over yet.

Update: I’ve discovered that the two cats have very different approaches towards dealing with houseflies. Thunder will wait for the fly to tire itself out; he basically follows these steps: stalk stalk stalk stalk stalk stalk stalk stalk stalk stalk stalk stalk stalk stalk creep creep pounce. Seffie’s approach is more direct: zoom zoom jump zoom jump zoom zoom zoom jump zoom jump zoom zoom jump zoom jump.

When Memes Collide: Unfortunate Pairings from Catroulette

By now you’ve probably heard of Chatroulette, the website that pairs people up for anonymous online video chats with random strangers. Here are some screenshots from a similar but lesser-known service catering exclusively to cats.

1. The Cat in the Hat meets Limecat.
The Cat in the Hat meets Limecat in Catroulette / Chatroulette

2. Maru meets Schroedinger’s Cat.
Maru meets Schroedinger's cat in Catroulette / Chatroulette

3. Archy meets Keyboard Cat.
Archy meets Keyboard Cat in Catroulette / Chatroulette

I’m actually not the first person to think of the name “Catroulette” — it’s also the name of a cute site that collects images from (apparently) real Chatroulette sessions involving cats. But the best use of the name by far goes to this cat adoption site in Belgium.

Read or add comments.

Dear Cat-Hater Haters: Please Stop. You’re Not Helping.

This is a departure from what I usually post here. The tagline for this blog is “please don’t take anything you read here seriously”, but I hope people actually will take this seriously.

Cat blissfully ignorant of what will happen nextI’m a cat person. I have two cats; when I make travel plans, the first person I call is my cat-sitter, and when I return home, the thing I look forward to most is being greeted by my cats. I’ve learned how to type with a cat between me and the keyboard. While writing this post, I’ve stopped a couple times to do important cat-related things (like throwing toys across the floor so one cat can chase them, or picking up a cat and carrying him over to the wall so he can sniff the light switches). In other words, the only reason I’m not a card-carrying crazy cat lady is that, as far as I know, there is no card-issuing crazy cat lady organization.
Continue reading “Dear Cat-Hater Haters: Please Stop. You’re Not Helping.”

Video Review: Vinay and Maru Prove that P ≠ NP

P vs. NP is one of the most famous unsolved problems in math. Recently, mathematician Vinay Deolalikar circulated a paper that contained a possible solution to that problem. There’s been lots of discussion on the Internet about this paper; surprisingly, though, the companion video series has been largely ignored.


In Vinay and Maru Prove that P ≠ NP, Deolalikar presents the material from his paper with the assistance of Maru, who is possibly the most entertaining cat on YouTube. Each episode features video imagery of Maru with narration by Deolalikar. In Episode 1, Deolalikar defines what P ≠ NP means — basically, that the solutions to some problems are hard to find but easy to verify — while Maru interacts with a large cardboard box. Finding a way into the box is a difficult problem for Maru; eventually, he solves it and goes on to demonstrate (repeatedly) that verifying the solution is easy. Of course, the fact that Maru found the initial problem difficult doesn’t prove anything; it’s possible that someone could discover a simpler box-entry-finding algorithm tomorrow. Episode 1 gets two thumbs up from me — the narration is clear and informative, and Maru’s performance is outstanding.
Continue reading “Video Review: Vinay and Maru Prove that P ≠ NP”

Sofa, Cat Toy, or Work of Art? The CatSofa is All Three

Thank you for your interest in CatSofa, the world’s only claw-friendly living room furniture.

How It Works

The CatSofa is an upholstered sofa with a twist — instead of a single layer of upholstery, the CatSofa features twelve layers of fabric in different, coordinating colors. When your cat scratches the sofa, she exposes hidden layers of upholstery, creating a stunning work of art. The more your cat scratches, the more attractive your sofa becomes!
Continue reading “Sofa, Cat Toy, or Work of Art? The CatSofa is All Three”