Sunday, January 25, 2009

So That's Why They Do That...

Tabitha has this theory.

Cats are a puzzle, even to the most educated and intelligent minds. They are, in many ways, a standing refutation of the Darwinian maxim of survival of the fittest. They look at you with those big round eyes and their neurons slowly fizzing like ginger ale going flat in the noonday sun and you think to yourself, this creature - the same creature that annually eats tinsel off the Christmas tree and then wanders around the house with a shiny silver antenna trailing behind it as if to provide better FM reception - THIS is the end result of millennia of natural selection?

I. Don't. Think. So.

Tabitha loves cats. Loves them with ever fiber of her being. Her first word was "keee!" which we took to mean "kitty!" She has checked out every book on cats that the local library has, and read most of them. She draws cats. She plays with cats. She will end up with a house full of them someday, no doubt. But even she understands that if brains were dynamite the average housecat couldn't blow its own nose.

Her theory is that cats' brains are charged up during the night, when they run around and do feline things that we mere humans can never know about or understand. This is because of all the intelligence particles that people aren't using at night. They fly out of our brains, apparently - we "veto" them right out of our heads, a verb choice that Kim just adores - and get absorbed by those of our cats. This means, as Tabitha puts it, that when you wake up and see your cat first thing in the morning, "that's as smart as that cat is going to be all day."

This, it must be admitted, cannot be argued with, though I'm not sure what I have in mind by that statement is precisely what Tabitha has in mind by that statement. We shall let that pass.

Tabitha's theory goes on to state that as the day wears on, the intelligence particles fly out of the "airy" heads of our cats, lowering their intelligence by the minute until by nightfall what you are left with is a creature only minimally capable of brain function at all. It eats, it poops, it charges mindlessly after illusions, but it really isn't all that bright.

At this point I suppose I ought to insert a political joke, but that's just too easy even for me. Go ahead if you want to, though. Opportunities like that don't come by very often, and somebody should take advantage of it.

And then the cycle starts again, as we slough off intelligence in our sleep for the cats to absorb. I suppose the question that this theory raises is what happens to all those free-floating intelligence particles if there are no cats around to absorb them. Do they just bounce around the house, waiting for us to wake up and take them back in again? Do they fly out into space? Do they fall to the carpet and - via vacuums, trash bags and garbage pickup - end up in landfills somewhere?

I shall have to ask her about that.

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