Picofarad #24

Spring 2011

Phosphor the Wonder Kitten

As promised, this issue there will be no mention of... um, the thing I promised not to mention. Instead, I'd like to ask the help of you, the readers, in coming up with some proper use for the abilities of a creature with very unusual talents.

The latest addition to my household is a half-Siamese, wild-born, now 10-month-old cat named Phosphor. Despite his wild start in life, he is now fully domesticated, at least as far as felines ever get. But he has inherited the Siamese brain and the feral scavenging instinct, which have combined for unexpected results.

We first noticed it when he started hunting down wire twist-ties. I have no idea where he kept finding them, but he did. Petting him to distract him and grabbing the tie away became a frequent ritual for a couple weeks. When he had finally exhausted the supply of those, he started collecting pencils. He also developed a side line in plastic bottlecap rings, but those were deemed an acceptable toy and we would encourage him to play with them more.

Somewhere along the way, he developed the idea that if he brought a human a toy, the human would then throw it so he could chase and kill it, and then he could bring it back to the human for another go-round. Yes, we have a cat who plays fetch. This has also become handy as he tries to expand his range, so that any new object he can get his jaws around eventually is brought to one of the places where the humans sit, so that we then know to put it somewhere safer. Highlights have included a piece of floral wire which had to have come off a high shelf, various debris from the recycling bin, and the drain cover off a bathtub.

He also developed a habit for a while of dropping his favorite mouse in the water dish. During the Christmas season he put it in the nearly-full reservoir under the tree, where he then had to stick most of a foreleg in to retrieve it, revealing a most un-cat-like attitude toward water.

So this is a cat of truly unique abilities, and I worry that they are going to waste in the life of an ordinary indoor housecat. I feel like he should be trained to do something that keeps these skills current. Any ideas?

Next: Scintillations

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