Tagged: science

Voice recognition software.

I could google this, but for the sake of this post, I’ll allow my curiosity to fester.

“This” is the phenomenon of my cats seemingly recognizing my (and maybe the boyfriend’s) voice. I know that I’ve read that cats respond better to women’s voices, something about the tone. Moosh and Taco seem like they respond to our voices, particularly by their names. Taco is less of a sure thing, he just talks all the time, and to whatever variation of his name we use. But he at least looks like he knows that he’s being talked to. Moosh, on the other hand, knows his name like the back of his paw. Maybe it’s just the tone that we say it in, or the way that “Moosh Moosh” sounds. Saying it sometimes gets him all worked up, like I’m petting him without actually petting him. He’ll close his eyes, purr, and look like he’s in ecstacy.

He's a happy boy.

He’s a happy boy.

It’s funny what you discover from years of co-existing with your animals. How you can figure out what their triggers are. Why do they have the triggers they do?

The best response I can get from Moosh is by shaking my head back and forth while saying his name in a deep, cooing voice. He’ll come running almost every time. Unless he gets distracted.

Taco’s ultimate call-over involves more energy. He responds best to an excited voice. Less coo-ey, more OMG, but still in a deeper voice. He gets all jacked up and runs over. If I’m laying down, combining that with patting my chest plate loudly will get him up and on my stomach purring.

This is what happens when you're bored and have too many apps.

This is what happens when you’re bored and have too many apps.

So…am I crazy? Does anyone else know quirks this intimate about their furry children or do I just look waaaaaay too far into things?

 

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Lick it. Lick it good.

Taco is a lot of things. King Brat. Adorable snuggler. Unwanted alarm clock. Needy pain in the ass. Loud.

What he is not: graceful.

Sure, he may look like he's got his shit together here, but It's only because he's asleep.

Sure, he may look like he’s got his shit together here, but It’s only because he’s asleep.

This is unheard of for a cat, right?

This occurred to me tonight as I watched my cats eat. If you think this is weird, you’ve never done it. It’s really quite fascinating. Why did I ever do this? Well, Taco is also Jabba the Effin’ Hut, and if I don’t stand over them watching, he’ll take over Moosh’s food. Somehow (I’m not entirely sure how this works) my hovering presence keeps Moosh comfortably eating and Taco in his own dish.

Anyway, I water down their food, because Moosh barely eats any wet food and because Taco needs to get more water to ensure he stays crystal blockage-free. So the first couple of minutes of them eating is really drinking meat water.

Have you ever watched ANY cat drink water? It’s practically an art. This comes from an article in the Washington Post:

“While a dog curls its tongue like a ladle to collect the water and then pull up what it can, a cat curves its tongue under and slightly back, leaving the top surface of the tip of the tongue to lightly touch the liquid. The cat then raises its tongue rapidly, creating an upward mini-stream of water. The cat snaps its mouth shut and the water is captured before the countervailing force of gravity pulls it down.

An average house cat, the team found, can make four of these mini-streams per second.

‘What we found is that the cat uses fluid dynamics and physics in a way to absolutely optimize tongue lapping and water collection,’ said Jeffrey Aristoff, now at Princeton University but who was one of the four researchers who began the study out of curiosity at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”

This is actually a fairly recent study, from 2010. Kinda crazy it took that long to get around to cats drinking water, considering Darwin studied MOTHS and shit. Forever ago. God, I love science. The mechanics of EVERYTHING is so interesting. And of course, cats are interesting anyway. And of course, I do find it amusing that cats beat dogs in the lapping game. One more reason for them to be arrogant assholes, I suppose.

Back to Taco. He is, quite literally, retarded at drinking. Watching Moosh smoothly lap up his meat juice with a rhythm you could practically set a watch to…and then compare with Taco, who laps more like an irregular heart beat. It’s almost painful to watch. In my dreams, I can NEVER run at full speed or throw a punch with all my power. It’s always like I’m running through quicksand. I don’t know what this means, nor do I particularly care, but this is what Taco’s lapping reminds me of.

This was just the catalyst that opened my eyes to how ungraceful Taco really is overall.

1. Moosh perches on my shoulders with ease.

Moosh has this down.

Moosh has this down.

So long as I give him the foothold, he’ll stand up there with very little wobbling and no claws. Taco, on the other hand, is like a Weeble Wobble, but he’ll sure as hell fall down, and he’ll take my skin down with him.

2. Taco still plays like a kitten.

Might wanna look at the target, dummy.

Might wanna look at the target, dummy.

You know how cute kittens are when they grab at stuff? Just kinda uncoordinated and grabby, no real skill at hunting. Taco’s 3. He’s not even remotely a kitten. But his paws are.

3. He falls off shit all the time. No spatial reasoning. He’ll roll over…and right off the bed.

4. When he’s jumping for a toy, he sprawls in the air and can’t hand for shit. It’s like watching Cirque De Soleil if the performers were hammer drunk. Nor does he have any consideration for what he lands on, like my foot. Or the side table.

I will give him this: There is one arena in which Taco has no equal in fluidity. And that is grabbing treats out of your hand with both paws while standing on his hind legs, checking to make sure the treat is within his greedy little paws before calmly lowering his upper half to the floor and his paws to his fat face to eat. I don’t even understand how he’s the same cat, sometimes.

Then again…like mother, like son, I suppose. I am quite possibly the most ungraceful human to walk this planet (except when I dance, and that is probably debatable, although not with me, because I think I’m bout it bout it). I’m injured every other minute. I currently have inflamed rib cartilage (not something you ever want to do, by the way, but I hear better than actually breaking one, so you REALLY never want to do that), a giant, painful bruise on my wrist I have no recollection of achieving, and I’m vaguely sure I re-sprained my thumb the other night pulling my pants down to pee. I know. Sad. But I’ve learned to laugh about it, except not right now because laughing is no bueno with the ol’ ribs.

Zombie parasites in my brain from cat poop.

During lunch at work, I peruse the news sites and keep up with all the latest happenings. I do very much enjoy keeping up with the most current events, like the Higgs-Boson particle likely being found. As a science nerd, I am SUPER excited about that one. But then, yesterday, I came across this. Cat Parasite Linked to Suicide Among Women. I mean, REALLY? This Toxoplasma gondii crap lurks in cat poop, waiting to get in your brain. It’s mostly harmless, I guess, unless you’re pregnant, but now it seems that’s spread to all women, because you may be 1.5 times more likely to end it all. This is not welcome news. I have never understood suicide, although I’ve had friends who have gotten that far. I like to wallow in stuff for a few days and then perk up. I’ve noticed the older I get, the more crotchety I get, but I certainly haven’t even remotely contemplated the unthinkable act of doing away with myself. I like myself WAY too much for that. I have, on occasion (ok, maybe a lot), felt the urge to wring some necks, but not my own.

This little brat is often at the top of my hit list.

I’m pretty sure with the amount of cat poop I’ve shoveled in my lifetime that it’s unlikely I’m NOT parasited. And I am not the best at washing my hands. I am from the “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” school of thought. After the bathroom, yeah. And after the gym. For some reason the gym disgusts me enough to thoroughly wash my hands afterwards.

Gettin’ his parasites all up in my lap.

Anyway, back to my zombie brain. This story is incredibly fascinating. They found that in rats, this parasite gets in a part of their brains that makes them unafraid of cats, and instead gets all hot and bothered by evoking a sexual response. This, in turn, makes the rat more likely to be eaten by the cat, ensuring the parasite ends up where it really wants to be — in the kitty gut. This is a smart mother-effin’ parasite. Humans don’t even totally understand how the brain works but this parasite is all up in there, making you do stuff. A regular puppeteer.

Maybe I should leave my brain to science. I probably have a ton of parasites in there.Who knows what else is lurking?

So in conclusion, if anyone notices me being mopey for more than 3 days (this is the usual time limit I allow myself for moping), please call the CDC and tell them my cat made me a zombie and to please do something about it.

Ok, so maybe this is more “duck face” than sad, but I don’t have any sad pics of myself.

Talking to cats. Can’t help myself.

I talk to my cats. This may make me wacko, I understand this. This is ok with me. All in all, it’s probably a lot like talking to one’s self.

Moosh giving me the “whatever” eye.

I do know that both Moosh and Taco respond to the sound of their names.

If I coo “Mooshymooshmooshy” real low, Moosh gets all lovey, and will come smush my face, but first he’ll “mrrrp” at me.

Pay attention to meeeeeeeeee

Taco, as per usual, will respond to his name loudly. A conversation between Taco and I goes something like this:
“Meow!”
“What?”
“Meow!”
“What?”
“Meooooowwwww”
“WHAT DO YOU WANT???”
*jumps on lap, usually at an inconvenient time*

I will discuss things with them as if they understand. I tell Moosh that if he doesn’t finish his food, his brother will eat it. Then I tell Taco not to eat his brother’s food (neither takes my advice).

When Taco takes a dump, I tell him how much it stinks, and ask him what the hell he ate to produce such disgusting waste, as if he has a choice in the matter of his food (somewhere, subconsciously, I think he’s stealing shit from the fridge, I guess). He ignores me.

When they’re fighting, I tell them to cut it out and be nice to each other, or to play nice. They stop to look at me for a split second, then immediately resume fighting.

I ask them why they’re not bald, since their hair is EVERYWHERE, mostly stuck in my eyes. Also met with ignoring.

I alert them when there’s another cat or a bunny outside: “Ooooooh it’s a bunny! Look at the bunny, kitties!” while pushing them toward the window to look. This sometimes gets a response in the bunny’s direction, or prompts them to rub on my legs.

This is prime snuggle time.

Most embarrassing is snuggle talk. This is when I talk to them like they are little babies while making myself sound incapable of brain activity. “Who’s my boo-bear? Who likes a snuggle? You’re my cute-face snugglebunny. You love mommy, don’t you? Mommy loves YOU. Look at that belly! You’re so silly.” As hard as this is to admit, I can go on like this for hours. You know your relationship with your significant other is solid when you can do all of this in front of them without care, and without them batting an eye.

The point of this is, science tells me that they don’t know what the eff I’m saying, that it’s the tone of my voice, blah blah blah. But then, science also tells me that cats only meow at humans…so isn’t that equally as futile as me talking to them? Taco doesn’t have tones in his meows. It’s either WHINE or OMG EMERGENCY. If there was an actual emergency, I would have no idea, because I gave up on running out to find out what’s wrong with him when he makes that cry, because there is never anything wrong with him.

It’s not like people really listen to each other anyway. At least my cats cock their head and give me the impression what I’m saying is important. And for that, I thank them.