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Pet Peeves

Hey Science, thanks for the hypoallergenic cats. That's terrific, really. High fives all around.

But hey, small request? While you're in there messing around with meow-meow genes, could you also program them NOT TO INCESSANTLY MEW AT 6:17 IN THE MORNING???! Because that would be great. Thirty bonus points if you can apply the process to existing cats, so we retrofit this knucklehead:

A.k.a. "The Klaxon"

(Yes, okay, we accidentally fed you at 6:17 AM one time. Like, three years ago. But we are never never never never going to do it again, do you understand? Never. Your official feeding time is seven o'clock ... plus the four minutes per "meow" that pierces our bedroom door prior to seven o'clock that I add out of sheer spite.)

In fact, Science? Why don't you just go whole hog and program cats with some basic groundrules. You know, like Asmov's Three Laws of Robotics. Something along the lines of:

  1. A cat may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. This includes transmogrifying from "adorable kitty enjoying a tummy rub" to "bandsaw" without warning.
  2. A cat may not barf on the floor or, if the barfing is unavoidable, will only barf on kitchen tile, rather than the goddamned carpet.
  3. When I am struggling under the weight of an overstuffed armchair, carrying it from the the living area to the kitchen so the cleaner guys can come and steam the seven gallons of cat barf out of the carpet, a cat (specifically: Louie) may not suddenly decide that this would be a wonderful moment to affectionately rub against my legs. Seriously Louie, stop. Go away. Stop. Get out of here. Come on, if you don't knock it off I SWEAR TO BAAL I'M GOING TO DROP THIS MOTHERLOVING SOFA RIGHT ON YOU YA FREAKIN MORON!
Or if it's easier, Science, just twiddle dog DNA until they shit in a box, and I'll just get some of them next go 'round. That's pretty much all cats got going for 'em anyhow.

Posted on June 11, 2007 to Great Ideas




Posted by: Max on June 11, 2007 10:14 PM


Posted by: Hobe? on June 11, 2007 10:20 PM

You call shitting in a box a good thing? I just want mine to hold it until outside and also to not jump the fence and run off for hours and sometimes days at a time.

Posted by: The Ninjalectual on June 11, 2007 10:20 PM

I recently began dumping piles and piles of cat food in mine's dish before going to sleep.

THE MEOWING STOPPED! For reals. And he doesn't even overeat. Almost like I took the fun out of food by always having it available.

New problem: cat does the scrabble-on-hardwoods, run-into-walls thing post-poo at 5 AM instead, now.

Posted by: Kate on June 11, 2007 11:56 PM

My very small dog goes in a litter box. Best and wost of both worlds.

Posted by: Julie on June 12, 2007 12:16 AM

My cat systematically knocks everything off my night stand as noisily as possible. For the grand finale, he steps on the PAGE button my cordless phone. This happens anytime between 4-7am.

Posted by: narineh on June 12, 2007 3:20 AM

I had a similar problem with my cat. What worked for me was a recommendation from a friend, a self-proclaimed "cat whisperer". She told me to take the cat's food away first thing in the morning, and return it in the evening. It really did work with my stupid cat.

However, if you keep the bedroom door closed, you may be out of luck. As I'm sure you know, cats tend to dislike closed doors.

Posted by: Jon on June 12, 2007 5:39 AM

Why not get an auto feeder? Our bipolar, mildly retarded cat used to meow all of the time in the morning. We bought an auto feeder and set it to feed her at 6:00 am. It seems to do the trick for early morning meowing. It has done nothing for the bipolarism or the whole retarded thing. We also got an auto waterer for her.

Now, all that is left is getting an auto petter for her so I no longer have to touch her. Oddly enough, my cat is programmed to transmogrify from "adorable kitty enjoying a tummy rub" to "bandsaw" without warning as well. Must have been a bad run at the factory.

Posted by: Adam on June 12, 2007 5:40 AM

I see Louie is pitch black. Does Louie, like Zelda, enjoy knocking something off a table downstairs during the dark dark night, then lolling on the staircase to trip the unwary investigator? Does Louie, like Zelda, want a lot of unpleasantness?

Posted by: braine on June 12, 2007 6:38 AM

We trained our dog to only throw up on hardwood or linoleum. The other night we were all asleep in bed and he moved himself to the edge of the bed, leaned over, and puked on the wood floor like some sort of frat boy or something. And I was proud.

Posted by: Kate on June 12, 2007 7:07 AM

Mine don't meow at me in the morning. They just play "knock the blinds against the window" until I get up and throw things at them. Or they play that favorite cat game, "Find the sleeping human's bladder". Wow, they love that one!

Years ago, I had one who actually managed to learn that "pawing humans before they're ready to wake up" = "getting thrown off the bed". He adopted the habit of sitting beside me and closely watching my face for any sign of opening eyes. Two-thirds of my mornings started with a black cat head completely filling my field of vision, followed by a low rasping "rroooooow" as soon as there was a confirmed eyeball sighting eyeball.

Posted by: Dorothy on June 12, 2007 7:15 AM

Your cat poops in a box? Lucky.

Posted by: Jessie Mae on June 12, 2007 7:48 AM

We spent rougly $150 on a hoover carpet shampooey/vacumey thing specifically to compensate for the freaking orange cat barf. It was worth every single penny. If it broke I would run out and buy another one without hesitation. No more renting a "Rug Dr." or hiring dudes.

Posted by: masukomi on June 12, 2007 8:02 AM

Since we are making groundrules regarding barfing, why don't we just program them to barf in the kitty litter box? That would save us all a lot of trouble.

I never had much of a problem of my two cats incessently mewing at 6:17am as much as one of them incessently mewing ALL NIGHT LONG! This does not happen every night, just on nights where I would really like the sleep. This is coupled with hyperactive attack mode where she claws every surface and item in my apartment that could possibly be clawed.

Posted by: Jen on June 12, 2007 8:07 AM

Dude. Just spray them with the handy spray bottle you keep by the bed. Mewing stops. PROBLEM SOLVED.


Posted by: Dee on June 12, 2007 8:10 AM

I agree with The Ninjalectual. My number one reason not to own a cat is that I am not even remotely okay with having a box of poop in my house.

Posted by: Audrey on June 12, 2007 9:59 AM

I wonder...do cats understand daylight savings time? Will the meowing just get earlier in the fall? Hmm...must ponder this...

Posted by: lacroix on June 12, 2007 10:58 AM

"She told me to take the cat's food away first thing in the morning, and return it in the evening."

This is one of the cleverest and most diabolical cat rearing ideas I have ever heard.

Posted by: Elizabeth on June 12, 2007 11:17 AM

My kitty used to leap on top of the bathroom vanity lights in the wee hours of the night - and scream because he couldn't get down. Once I made the mistake of getting him down so I could sleep in peace (and so the neighbors wouldn't lynch me), and that became the "game".

Then the "band saw" effect became the bonus round of the game, as I tried to capture him from "up there" to get him down.

GREAT POST. As always. I can has Yeti.

Posted by: Zoom on June 12, 2007 11:22 AM

It's not so much the dog-like begging for food at ungodly hours which bother me, it's the "I have food in my dish, but I'd like an escort to the food area" wake-ups I get.

Posted by: Jen T on June 12, 2007 11:29 AM

aww, The Klaxon is cuuute.

I trained a cat to puke hairballs on the kitchen tile. It took a long time of grabbing her as soon as she started retching and throwing her into the kitchen and keeping her there while massaging her back (like burping a baby!). Positive reenforcement and a stern "get thee to the kitchen" eventually worked. But she gave me a dirty look each and every time and I'm sure as soon as I moved out she went into my room and puked, but for a while there...

Posted by: Jesse! on June 12, 2007 11:32 AM

Adam - "bipolar, mildly retarded cat" is redundant. Just say "cat".

Posted by: scott on June 12, 2007 11:37 AM

First, let me say that I did enjoy the humor in this post. Let it not be said of me that I have no sense of humor.

Second, our cat used to drive us nuts wanting to be fed five minutes earlier each day until she was walking around the bed meowing at 5am. We bought a timed feeding dish, set it to... what, 6am? I can't remember exactly... and thus ended the meowing. Of course, we had to listen to her trying to break into it 10-15 minutes before its scheduled opening time every morning, but that problem could've been solved by moving the dish out of earshot. Alas, we were too lazy for that.

Posted by: Lori on June 12, 2007 11:53 AM

My majorly bipolar cat has a 6th sense for anyone, anywhere in the house sitting on a chair like object and will immediately run across the house to receive potentially dangerous tummy rubs.. Combining this with an intense dislike for closed doors makes using the toilet LESS than private. Heaven forbid the door isn't opened for him or else constant mewing will draw everyones attention to the activity being performed in the bathroom.

This is especially great for parties!!

Posted by: Mike on June 12, 2007 12:45 PM

A friend passed on wise advice, and now I pass onto you:

When her lil pup and cat start making too much noise in the morning, she reaches for a special contraption that ends all noise.

The contraption? A crush soda can with pennies inside. Oh, and she also yells "BE QUIET!" Now all she has to do is reach for the can, and they sphincter up.

Posted by: Kelly on June 12, 2007 1:14 PM

My cat doesn't care about being fed, she just spends each night starving for attention and then watches for any signs of petting-capable hands in the morning. Like Dee's cat, she has learned to differentiate between a hand that is reaching to pet and one that is groping for the spray bottle. She still has not figured out how to push open am unlatched door, however....

Posted by: alejo699 on June 12, 2007 2:00 PM

I would also like to see cats that don't deliberately relieve themselves in the bed you're going to sleep in.

I house sit for some family for two months out of each year and, every year, one of the cats shits in the bed my first night there.

Posted by: Thomas on June 12, 2007 2:28 PM

Who's baal? i know a bhaal.

Posted by: Hans on June 12, 2007 3:14 PM

mine are in the kitchen overnight so i don't get yowling at all sort of hours. they don't transmogrify from nice cat to bad cat - they're just permanently evil and angry. or merely misunderstood....

Posted by: charlie on June 12, 2007 3:38 PM

Whoever said that cats are independent animals was full of shizz. My cat absolutely hates it when I'm in another room-- she'll follow me, at an alarmingly close distance so I'm sure to step on her, wherever I go.

She also doesn't like it when I talk on the phone, which makes taking conference calls from home interesting. I think she believes that I'm neglecting her because I'm not talking TO HER. At that very moment.

Posted by: Sara on June 12, 2007 5:27 PM

This post reminded me of my cats. They use to wake me up just as soon as I slept. I wasn't allowed to sleep when they did. What? Were we guarding any loot? lol!

Posted by: Ruby Redux on June 12, 2007 6:37 PM

This post reminded me of my cats. They use to wake me up just as soon as I slept. I wasn't allowed to sleep when they did. What? Were we guarding any loot? lol!

Posted by: Ruby Redux on June 12, 2007 6:40 PM

This post reminded me of my cats. They use to wake me up just as soon as I slept. I wasn't allowed to sleep when they did. What? Were we guarding any loot? lol!

Posted by: Ruby Redux on June 12, 2007 6:45 PM

Surely my cat is sneaking off to your house at night, because you just decribed her to a T.
She also likes to jump on my back while I'm faking sleep and stare at me for a few awkward minutes before leaning in and meowing pleadingly into my ear.
Addemdum: please barf when I'm awake so I know about and don't walk barefoot through cold cat barf first thing in the morning.
You know, much as I love that experience.

Posted by: Jen on June 12, 2007 6:58 PM

I'm sure there is some Christian group messing with DNA to make their precious little fetuses not gay (probably Dick Cheney and his lesbian porn writing wife).

Can we genetically engineer Republicans out of existence? Seriously, 6 years of Bush is enough to maek a bleeding heart liberal communist gay like myself see the potential of selective eugenics.

I'm sure Cheney eats a box of kittens every morning on his throne of polished, pre-fucked Iraqi skulls.

Posted by: Gun Totin' Jesus Bot's Dad, Larry on June 12, 2007 7:38 PM

well said.

Posted by: lisey on June 12, 2007 8:32 PM

This is why my cat is named KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!.

Posted by: Mud on June 13, 2007 7:48 AM

Mud...Love it.
My cat HITS me in the face when he is hungry.
Between that and the dog licking my hand...ick.

My cat pukes on anything you might like..shoes, bags..again ick.

Why do I have cats???

Posted by: crunchy on June 13, 2007 9:23 AM

Trumpet also likes to yowl all night, mostly if he feels he hasn't gotten enough attention/playtime/petting/food/SOMETHING the night before. He also does the random bansaw mode, plus sometimes just scratching or biting the shit out of you mid-pet. He even LOOKS like your cat - creepy! But in addition to the above-mentioned activities, he also goes into Crazy Kitty Mode sometimes and climbs the trim surrounding any door to chill out and yowl on the top of it psychotically (a different yowl than Food Yowl or Attention Yowl, incidentally), which has a bonus of being both the noisiest and the most destructive activity he has come up with to date. Evidence.

But we recently moved into a new apartment, and many of the doors are either folding closet doors, or those slide-into-the-wall weird doors, and for some reason he seems to think these are less climbable. And when he starts the 5 AM inexplicable howl, we can shut him out on the glassed-in balcony/sunroom, where his food dish and litter box reside, and we can sleep until our normal wakeup time. He even seems to prefer barfing out there on the tile floor, instead of inside on the carpet.


Posted by: Virginia on June 13, 2007 11:03 AM

Your own cat meowing at your door is easily solved with a squirtgun. As I learned at my girlfriends house, where I introduced this technique, Cat's can be very intelligent when properly motivated.

My neighbors cat though, meowing at our, almost collective. front doors is a hell of a lot more annoying. So is her habit of gleefully walking into my house and hiding in any open cupboards or dishwashers without my knowledge. And the skill of 'asking' me for food which I do not have is, at first sight, not that bad, her doing it at frikkin' sunrise is

Posted by: Alcari on June 13, 2007 11:56 AM

My cat is a congenitally brain-damaged, Siamese, feral, barn cat. To make her more friendly (instead of clawing me in my sleep), the rancher I got her from suggested I just not feed her for a couple of days.

Now, it sounds pretty inhumane, but these are barn cats; they are used to a hard life.

It worked like a charm. She became very loveable. Well, stopped drawing blood, anyway. Six years later, she is mostly half-tame, purrs when I talk to her, and always gets fed on time.

BTW, my cat voices maybe three plaintive little meows a week total. Genetic samples (cat hair) are available for a small fee.

Posted by: Anonymous on June 13, 2007 6:03 PM

One of our 2 cats, is a foofy-looking boy that we rescued from a field in the middle of nowhere when he was maybe 6 weeks old. Vet pretty much told me to take him home, and make sure he was comfortable as he wouldn't last long... after about $300 of treatment, I must add. Now ~6 years later this "little" survivor looks like the freaking Fancy Feast cat, is huge, and has an insanely violent right rear foot. A split-second before BANDSAW mode, this evil foot will twitch, and that is your only warning. We actually appreciate this foot, as at least we know in advance when a bloodletting is imminent. Occasionally, this foot will also attack himself, and this can become a tazmanian devil-styled image - his foot attacking him, him biting that foot, plenty of growling, and any nearly objects being knocked around noisily.

Other cat gives no notice before the phlebotomy session begins. She is a torti. I am told that this fact alone is a scarlet letter branding us as idiots for choosing her at the pound.

Thank the gods that our dogs are far more sane. And just as confused as we are when the playfull belly-up pose becomes an all out vicious attack.

As I have said for years now, the problem with cats is that they have 5 ends, and 4 or them are razor sharp!

Posted by: tracy on June 13, 2007 8:54 PM

My black cat takes all of the work out of petting him in the morning. If I'm lying in bed with my hand on my chest, he'll pull my wrist with his paw until it's positioned to where he can get his head under it, and then stand up so that my hand slides down his back. Repeat as often as he wants. No work on my part needed.

Posted by: C. on June 14, 2007 10:38 AM

I can't believe anybody still thinks touching a cat's belly is ever a good idea. Every time I've done it, I've come away bleeding, or at least in pain.

A Dog Person

Posted by: MarkDM on June 15, 2007 6:23 PM

can we also fit something in for my cat so she'll be aware of what her tail does? i don't think she realizes it's part of her body. she has, on more than one occasion, walked by a glass of water, knocked it over with her tail & then looked at the mess like "who did THAT?"

Posted by: candy on June 17, 2007 2:04 PM

Man, you guys make my cats look like angels. I have a dish that just keeps the bowl full all the time. http://www.petsmart.com/global/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524441779503&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302025542&ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id=2534374302023690&bmUID=1182201439406&itemNo=0&In=ALL&N=2025542&Ne=2

If you start them on a dish like that when they are kittens they don't overfeed and stay at a healthy weight. It's only when they're realient on scheduled food times that they have the temptation to over eat because.. well.. they're not entirely sure WHEN they'll get to eat again.

This is particularly nice in the regard that I can leave for upwards of a week without worrying about the cats.

It may be possible to transition a cat to that sort of dish when they're older, but I've never tried. I just learned it because when I was little and we had 2 cats and we just left the cat food bag open in the pantry. Simple.

Scheduled eating is such a human concept I'm confused why so many people want to apply it to cats. (Dogs are stupid, so they don't apply here)

I still get puke on the carpet though. And the bed.


Posted by: Caleb on June 18, 2007 2:22 PM

Oh I love this post. I feel you, I feel you! I covered my cat with a large empty box when he was meowing at 5 in the fing morning. I did that for 3 days in a row. Drop it over his noisemaking head, wait a few seconds, take it off... if he meows again, repeat. Voila. No more meowing at gawd awful hours. Once, he did meow at night when we went to bed, and while the box was no where in sight, I used a large towel. Worked just as well. I originally wanted to use a squirt bottle, but my significant other was opposed to the idea - he said that he was afraid I would use the squirt bottle on him when he was annoying me. I think he's right.

Posted by: Kerri on June 20, 2007 10:41 AM