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.”
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 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.
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.
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.”
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?”
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!
As you can see, Rusty is quite a logical thinker.
Images: New Yorker cartoon (can be bought here); all others – my own.