Tuesday 21 August 2012
The Cat Dictionary (revised 2012 version)
To flail wildly and absurdly at the air with one's back leg as one's human attempts to "help" by scratching an itch which, in all honesty, you had perfectly well covered.
The noise that accompanies the eradication – or attempted eradication - of an ear mite.
The quality of feline true grit in the face of adversity.
The ancient and mysterious social law that governs the cat universe and allows cold-blooded killing machines to live in relative harmony, frequently under the same roof. When is it considered good form to steal an older moggy’s favourite spot on a favourite chair? What exactly makes it ok to virtually insert your nose into a fellow cat’s rear end one day, and it a passing sniff an outright offence less than twenty four hours’ later? How does a cat implicitly understand what a “garden” is, and where it begins and ends? Humans remain in the dark about all this, but catiquette provides the answers.
To live in a house with a human who has come to realise that it cannot reasonably contain any more cats. E.g. "Sorry, I can't take that rescue kitten, much as I really want to. I'm totally at catpacity right now."
Feline scholars are split upon estimating when the ancient language of dsdasighgdshsddc first emerged. Some put the date around about 1983, during the rise of the BBC Micro and the ZX Spectrum. Others claim that techno geek cats in San Francisco's South Park district were communicating in it as far back as 1974. Whatever the case, it is generally agreed that dsdasighgdshsddc has been in regular use since the early 90s. While often written off by humans as a random, unintentional series of letters generated by the patter of mischievous paws across a keyboard, what many people don't know is that dsdasighgdshsddc actually forms an entire exclamatory, often insult-heavy, feline language: a kind of profane moggy binary, if you like, being sent to other cats across the globe via a complex email system invisible to the human eye. Popular examples of dsdasighgdshsddc "dissing" include auoagfoylhgo ("Eat my tail scum!") and oiaiuhagiuggghafug ("Your mum was a Griffon Bruxellois!"). Of course, with the rise of the Internet, dsdasighgdshsddc has evolved, mutated and, some would claim, been irrevocably dumbed down. For example, jhjdhjdhdddddddvvvd ("Oh my god! How much do I want my owner to get off this computer and let me pad his stomach!") is now lazily abbreviated by many Generation Y cats to to a simpler, less poetic jhdvvvvd.
The telepathic process which leads a cat to only get properly settled on its owner’s stomach in the moments when that owner is most desperate for the toilet.
Crunchy yet slightly moist snacks that are passed off as a “treat” because they cost more and come in smaller, very slightly more lavish packaging, but essentially taste just like other more ostenstibly run-of-the-mill crunchy yet slightly moist snacks.
FUR MAT'S LAST THEOREM
The inarguable mathematical law that states that a cat’s affection will rise and fall in direct proportion to the amount of crap on its body at the time.
The bits of jellified catmeat that escape from the bowl and weld themselves to hardwood floors and kickboards – sometimes even if you don’t have kickboards.
To offer crucial moral support with while one’s owner is hard at work. More popular examples include “Painting” (brushing one’s tail against some fresh paintwork and leaving a hairy residue), “Carrying” (darting in between one’s owner’s feet when they are transporting a heavy tray of food between rooms) and “Testing For Bacteria” (licking some freshly buttered bread while one’s owner's back is turned).
A mouse held between the teeth in a perfectly horizontal manner (preferably with a slight downward droop at each end), so as to make the creature’s captor look particularly dashing. Out-of-vogue variations include “The Zapata Mousetache”, “Sidebirds”, and the rare-but-always-impressive “Handlebat”.
The act of pushing one’s cold wet nose into one’s owner’s hand or knuckle. Largely thought of as a gesture of affection, but sometimes given a bad press, owing to its alternative nickname, “Losing The Snot”.
To show one's anger subtly, via the medium of urine.
A particularly furious, zen kind of padding session, often, but not always, involving a far-off, determined look in the eye and immense wear and tear on soft human body parts. Also known as: “Marching” or “Cooking The Dough”.
The mysterious force allowing a contented cat to fold its limbs, head and torso into an area a quarter of the size of its usual body mass.
Tissues (preferably Sainsbury’s Rose-Scented).
Those meditative moments on the litter tray or the freshly hoed soil when one’s hard-set veneer of dignity is momentarily dropped, a certain faraway dreaminess comes over the eyes, and, just for twenty or thirty seconds, all in the world is right. Also known as "Reading The Invisible Newspaper".
SETTING A PISSIDENT
To urinate in a completely new and innovative place, instigating a trend for such action amongst your fellow felines. Born leaders but also generally kind of snotty, cats who set a pissident know that their originality comes at a price, and, upon seeing others follow lamely in their wake, can often be heard to mutter comments such as "now I know how The Beatles must have felt when they heard the Marmalade's cover of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da."
The mystic force that, without the need for discussion or consensus, will cause numerous cats in the same room all to clean their most hard-to-get regions at exactly the same time.
SLEEPING WITH THE FISHES
The particularly contented, lengthy state of REM that occurs after one has clandestinely intercepted one’s owners shopping bags in the wake of their last trip to the seafood counter.
The wobbly-lipped noise made by a cat when it looks out of a window and sees a wood pigeon “acting up”.
WAKING UP WITH WOOD
To emerge, bleary-eyed, from a nap and find a twig stuck to one's tail with no recollection of it being there when one fell asleep.
Partly extracted from Under The Paw and Talk To The Tail