Rusty the Cat: On Logic

Every household has its own rules for the members, such as “Turn off the lights when leaving the room,” “Do not put an empty milk carton back in the fridge” or “No elbows or all four paws on the table.”

 

You Must Be This Tall...

 

And same as humans find creative ways of “not breaking the rule” (e.g., leaving a tablespoon of milk in the carton or claiming that they left the room just for a second), Rusty invents his own ways to assert his innocence or do what he wants.

Rusty is not allowed on the dining table. He knows that. But from time to time he still jumps on the table and “hides” behind a laptop or even an iPad: “If I don’t see you, you definitely cannot see me, right?” He looks so innocent and cute, that it’s almost impossible to get angry with him. Besides, I use this his desire to claim that table when I try to take pictures of him and perfumes: if I were to put anything new or unusual there, he’d immediately jump on the table to investigate.

 

Rusty and iPad

 

Rusty also isn’t allowed on (almost all) kitchen counters. There is a breakfast counter that we do not use. It hosts one of Rusty’s blankets where he sleeps, so this is his territory, and he’s in his right being there.

 

Rusty on a Blanket

 

Also, historically, Rusty is allowed to be on the refrigerator, which stands in the opposite side from the breakfast/blanket area. Formally, the counters between these two areas are “off limits.” But since Rusty cannot jump on the fridge without jumping first on the counter next to it, he is granted right of way and is not reprimanded for jumping there before the next jump on the fridge (look who’s talking about the cat’s logic). Rusty learned this part. So, when he wants to check something out on the forbidden part of the counter, he either jumps on it close to the refrigerator or runs through the whole length from his blanket to the fridge, then… stops and starts looking and sniffing around. If yelled at, he makes a move towards the fridge that says “I’m going, I’m going…” but stays on the counter until one of us makes a move to take him down. And then he retires to the top of the refrigerator.

 

Rusty on the Fridge

 

Several years ago, a friend of mine brought us a present from her trip to Thailand – a woven bowl. I wasn’t sure how to use it, but one day, I don’t even remember why, I put it on the counter – and Rusty declared it to be his territory. While being chased off the countertop, in addition to getting either on the blanket counter or a fridge, Rusty also might jump into that bowl, and as long as all four paws are inside, he knows that “he’s safe.”

 

Rusty in a Bowl

 

Being a cat, Rusty is a hunter. He chases, catches and eats flies, moths and even spiders. First, when he saw a prey somewhere high on the wall or the ceiling, he would keep watching it and jumping trying to catch it. Then we taught him that if he were to attract our attention to it, we would kill it and reward him with a treat. So, he would sit with his head up and meow insistently until one of us comes and acknowledges the find. From time to time, he sees “invisible insects,” as we call it. Then one of us has to raise him up so that he can see that there’s nothing there. Sometimes it takes a couple of times, because in seconds after being put down, he starts doubting: “Are you sure? Maybe something is there?”

 

Rusty Standing (and Hunting)

 

And the most recent development of the cat’s logic is that when he sleeps, and my vSO finds and kills a spider, Rusty wakes up and runs towards the kitchen where his treats are stored: clearly, he has built his own cause and effect operation: Has the spider been found and neutralized?  – Treat!

 

Rusty Sleeping

 

As you can see, Rusty is quite a logical thinker.

 

Images: New Yorker cartoon (can be bought here); all others – my own.

49 thoughts on “Rusty the Cat: On Logic

  1. He is such a darling! Really, I don’t think you can fault his logic, and he has worked out exactly how to get you to respond. He has trained you well. I particularly like his crafty ploy of getting treats for spotting insects (even pretending he can see them). One of our cats gets rewards when one of the others has drops put in his eyes! This all started because he would get in the way while we administered the medication (twice a day) so I would throw a treat for him to chase after. Now, every time the kitten gets his drops, Lord M acts as “supervisor” and expects his payment.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Rusty is so adorable. We have a rule of no back paws on the table, so our dog Mila (who is smaller than Rusty) sits on my lap with her front paws and head on the table, but occasionally tries to climb higher. She also makes noises when she wants to be picked up & put inside the bathtub to play (lick up all the water), then to be hoisted out again when finished. She actually is very vocal and talks to us a lot, she has us well trained. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s cute, the bathtub licking. Miss Lovey the cat also liked to lick water off my son when he finished his bath. She understood that baths were human grooming mechanisms, but she wanted to help. :-)

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    • Unlike cats (even smaller ones), small dogs cannot get wherever they want. So, they have to train their humans to help them.
      I don’t remember ever seeing dogs licking bathtub… Do you have to use some mild cleaners on it – so that Mila won’t get chemicals while playing there?

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    • Unagi!

      Rusty seems to be acutely aware of everything that is going on around. Sometimes he sleeps peacefully… and suddenly jumps up and starts hunting some tiny insect flying around. So, the sound of the slipper hitting the wall is an unmistakable sign for him :)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Rusty isn’t allowed either. And he kind of listened… for the first 7-8 years of his life. But then at some point he decided that he grew up, and now he can decide for himself where he goes or doesn’t go :) We still keep telling him otherwise.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My cat is a naughty cat.I can’t begin to tell you how many wires he’s chewed through.I have to put him in another room when I charge my phone or laptop. I have to keep toilet roll in a round plastic tub with a lid on the bathroom windowledge.If I don’t he wrecks it, ripped up all over the bathroom floor and trails of it down the stairs.He also loves running up and down the bath and sliding around, he licks the shower and bathroom curtains. Very strange. Apart from that he’s lovely XX

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  3. Rusty is a real cuteness overdose. Love how he looks when he’s hiding behind that ipad, thinking that you can’t see him.
    When my family had a dog there were also some off-limit places where she was not allowed to be but it was a smart dog, always ready to find a way around the ban 😅😉

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I could read about Rusty every day. He is a star. We lost our dog a couple of weeks ago and I really really want to adopt a cat – sadly my husband is somewhat allergic and I can’t ask him to tolerate the dander. 😢. I think cats are endlessly fascinating. Dogs tend to be much simpler (at least our beagle was!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sad with you: these losses are so hard!

      Have you considered any of the “hypoallergenic” breeds? Though, of course, it depends on how bad your husband’s allergies are. I hope, in time you’ll find a suitable companion for your household.

      I told myself that I should write about him more often, while he’s with us: he brightens our lives, and I’m sure that many of my loyal readers enjoy cat stories also (and the rest tolerated them well :) ).

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    • I have a feeling that Rusty breaks those rules mostly in our presence. It’s his way of attracting our attention. And I have a feeling that it got worse this year with our working from home: we’re constantly around but don’t pay enough attention to him :)

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  5. Wonderful post! Rusty is too cute, and so clever! I love how he took over the bowl, and in this way expanded his territory, i think cats are extremely clever at that, expanding territory and at working out how to maximise treat handouts.
    When I have visitors, and we sit in the couch, Vega will come and hit the visitor on the leg, because she feels it’s her place. If you play with her or give her a treat, you’re excused.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I understand Rusty’s cat logic. My Siamese was also forbidden from jumping on the dining table or any tables and also forbidden to get on the kitchen counters . I love cats, but it is not healthy or safe to have their feet on surfaces where humans eat or food is being prepared.
    However, dear Lovey (that was her name) deduced in her quite smart Siamese brain that she was always told ‘stay off the table and counters’ when humans were present so when there were no humans around she concluded that she was allowed to get on the table. I can understand how an animal would reach that conclusion.

    Apparently she was prone to jumping on the dining table from time to time in the middle of the night and we didn’t know it. I discovered this one night when I heard glass smashing at 2 am and was convinced someone was trying to break in. It sounded just like window glass breaking. I called the police as I was afraid to check the whole house because I was there alone with my young son and the cat. The police came, searched, and then they questioned me like I was a crazy person who imagined things, because there were no windows broken.

    The cat managed to absent herself from the proceedings. Hmmm. Finally one of the policemen looked at the floor next to the kitchen table and said, “Ahh, that is the problem. A glass was knocked off the table and shattered onto the floor. Do you have an animal that could have done that?” “A cat,” I said. Lovey was located and was given a verbal reprimand in my calm but severe voice. I explained to her that “no cats on the table” meant all the time. As far as I know, she never got on the table again. At least if she did, she didn’t knock over anything!

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a story! ;))) I’m sorry to laugh, I realize that it was scary when it was happening, but it’s funny to read it now.

      I do not mind Rusty getting to wherever he wants when we’re not around: since he eats plastic, which is dangerous for him, he trained us well not to leave anything laying around. And with empty surfaces it’s easy to wipe them before using :) (but we still are trying to discourage him ;) ).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This was such a good read Undina and goes against so many things I think about cats. My cat slave life ended when I left home so I really only have a childs view of them. It’s really interesting to read an adults cat experience.
    Of course Rusty is the most intelligent and regal of all felines, he had to be a thinking puss as well.
    LOVED it.
    Portia xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rusty is beautiful and I can’t stop looking at the pictures…and I like his logic. It’s simple, flawless and efficient obviously. There’s nothing better than being a cat in a cat adoring household.

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  9. I absolutely loved the story of Rusty hunting ‘invisible insects’ and drawing your attention to those – or actual! – insects even. He is like a hunting dog that ‘points’ in that regard. Yes, a ‘pointer cat’, you could say. And then to expect a treat when he wasn’t even involved in the insect detecting, that was priceless.

    All the photos are brilliant, but the one of him sitting in the woven bowl – well, overflowing it, indeed – was my favourite.

    Like

  10. Are you 100% sure Rusty is a cat? 🤔 Regardless of what he is or isn’t, I think he’s really smart and really cute.

    The iPad story made me think of our admin’s son. The admin used to bring her son in occasionally (he stayed in the back-up childcare center for the better part of the day). He wanted to be unobtrusive and thought that by closing his eyes so he couldn’t see us, it also meant that we couldn’t see him 🤣.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Wonderful photos and narrative! I’ve never owned cats although I like other people’s cats (most of my family is horribly allergic, I’m not but I want my family to be able to visit, lol!). Our silly dog Lucy is not large, but clearly too large for elevated surfaces like counters. We never used to allow her in bedrooms, but during this pandemic and with our twentysomethings back home, we’ve loosened up. She is slowly claiming the absent college freshman’s bed as her own (he’s her favorite anyway).

    Like

    • Thank you, OH!

      Rusty isn’t allowed in bedrooms on his own, only in our presence. But knowing that he wouldn’t listen, we have to keep doors closed to all the rooms to where he shouldn’t go. He loves our bed, so he gets to spend some time on it during weekends.

      Liked by 1 person

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