Highly Capable Cat

My cat, Frances Mittendorf, is very responsive. He knows his name and nicknames and answers to them. And in case you think he answers to just anything, he doesn’t. I called him Steve once to test this, he ignored me. I called him Bruce Boxleitner, nothing.

He’s a very bright cat. I’m sure everyone thinks his or her cat is advanced, but Frances can operate doors. And I don’t mean he can push a door open with his head or his paw, of course he can do that, I mean that I once watched him observe me operating a doorknob, and then shortly thereafter run up to a closed door so that he could put his paws on either side of the knob, apply pressure until it turned, and then open the door. It was disarming. He’s also very cagey. He has a stuffed monkey (called Monkey) that’s about the size of a mouse. He regularly moves Monkey around the house, but does so only when you’re not looking so that you can never really prove that it was he who did it; you can only conclude that it was through deductive reasoning. Frances is seven years old and has had Monkey since he was a kitten. Monkey moves, on average, 2-3 times a week. I have seen Frances with Monkey in his mouth exactly once. This means that Frances has managed to move Monkey at an undetected to detected rate of somewhere in the neighborhood of 800:1. This cat is smart.

This morning we hit a whole new level of creepy cat smarts. As I mentioned, Frances knows his name and nicknames. He answers to Frank, Frankie, Franzo, Mitts, Mitzi, buddy, and one or two others. If you look directly at him while saying it, he also may or may not respond to “hey you” ““ he doesn’t like terse language, so generally he ignores this variety of address. Because he knows his name, he knows when you’re talking about him. He doesn’t like being talked about. I used to get around this by spelling his name, but this morning, I discovered for the first time that he knows the spelling of his name now too.

This discovery went something like this: Frances was being a cranky turd. When he finally stopped being a meowly pain in the”¦ear and curled up on the foot of the bed with his head down, I wanted to make a comment to my mate, Gary Blonde, about Frances being a pain in the”¦ear but knew that if I said his name, he’d raise his head and start meowling at me again. So I instead said, “F-R-A-N-C-E-S” is being a pill this morning.” As soon as I got out “F-R-A-N” Frances’s ears were perked. By the time I finished saying “”¦is being a pill this morning” he’d jerked his head up and was glaring at me, his pesky hooman. He contined to glare at me until I backed slowly out of the house.

So the reason I write this is, does anyone know of a highly capable cat curriculum? This cat needs some intellectual stimulation or he’s going to do something regrettable.

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