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This Week in Cats: October 30, 2016

Does your cat scratch the sofa? Eat food from your bowl? Play a complicated game of “let’s leap over the human while she’s typing on her laptop and land on her arm, which is covered in painful cat scratches”?

Well, now there’s a book for that: The Trainable Cat by John Bradshaw and Sarah Ellis.

Slate writer Mara Grunbaum gave the advice a whirl, and her article is worth reading for all cat lovers and cat servants. First of all, it’s hilarious. Second of all, she talks about some of the strategies for changing your cat’s behavior in detail, and it sounds like they really work (if you’re willing to put in the effort).

I haven’t read it. I don’t plan to read it, as I’ve given up all hope of free will and autonomy in my own home. I choose to love my overlords, and I bask in the possibility of their love for me while understanding that the will of the gods is unknowable. My submission is a sign of my faith. My devotion is measured in arm-scratches. And—hold on—Duckling is eating my shoe. So I’m signing off for now.

This Week in Cats is a weekly (more or less) post about all things cat-related. The nature of what “related” means in this context will be determined by Sam T. Cat and his plucky sidekick, Josie Kafka. The nature of what “cat” means is unknowable to human brains; all we can do is read, hope for enlightenment, and provide more boxes for them to play with.


  1. I tried to teach my cat tricks once. It was an exercise in futility.

  2. As a dog person on a cat dominated site, I thought I'd put my two cents in. I like cats, they are fun to play with and they are soft and adorable animals. However, after having a cat for 14 years, I don't want another one. I can't deal with the cat hair everywhere, the litter box, and those sharp claws. We would get our cat many scratching posts, it would scratch the carpet in front of the post. If we closed a door, it would scratch up the carpet in retaliation for us daring to shut it out. We bought those glue on claw covers for her, but they were a pain to put on, and they didn't stay on very long. I don't believe in de-clawing, so no more cats for me. My pug does shed a lot, and since his tail sticks up, I have to wash his behind for him sometimes, so he doesn't get yucky stuff on my carpet and furniture, but at least he has dull claws. Could someone breed a house cat that doesn't shed and has non-lethal claws? That would be nice.

  3. My cat is very well-behaved, fortunately. He only calls for attention if he wants food, if he wants to go out or if he wants to cuddle. He's only sharpening his claws on the carpet which is a cheap sort-of-industrial-strength kinda thing.

    Fine, sometimes he steps on my keyboard but that's only when he's bored. And him eating from my plate isn't a problem since he only does that when I'm done with the food and I don't have the heart to deny him.

  4. When I started the site way back when and it was just me, I had a picture of a gray cat in the logo because I had a gray cat. I still have a gray cat (different cat, sadly -- Vincent, I miss you). When Josie became my site partner in 2010, she also had gray cats. It's a thing.

    But we love other animals, too. Including dogs. Although look at which animal is kicking ass here:


  5. My pug was scared of our cat, too. He'd act all tough, but would run the minute she got too close. I'll have to show that video to my cat loving daughter. Too cute. She keeps begging for another cat, which she can have once she graduates college and gets a place of her own.


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