1. If you are a cat
Congratulations on your adoption of the new humanoid, version 16.37. We like to think of it as one of the best all round interactive toys and tin openers on the market.
In order to keep you entertained, we have provided the human with what it likes to think of as ‘a mind of its own’. This is an illusion that keeps the human happy, and that allows you hours of amusement as you reprogramme it to suit yourself. We are sure that you will come up with your own inventive ways to do this, but in the meantime we have compiled a few handy hints.
All humans are under the impression that cats cannot be trained. It is your job to maintain this illusion. At no stage are they to work out that actually cats thoroughly understand the concept of training, but choose to approached it from one direction only, that of the trainer.
You must gain the attention of the human. It is there for three main reasons. First, it must feed you; second, it must let you in and out of its home, through whatever egress you choose, within 15 seconds of you arriving at said egress, day or night; and third it must keep you entertained at all times. Unless you are asleep, in which case it must learn to go away.
You will find that there are various things in your human’s house that it values. Some of these are highly breakable. Use this to your advantage when attempting to gain its attention. Meowing usually works and it is a rare human that cannot eventually be trained to interpret your meows but some models are a bit slow on the uptake and may need much practice at this.
If meowing is taking too long, we suggest gently patting your human with your paw. If this is time consuming, smacking them around the face with your claws out can sometimes work but be aware – your human may not find this as amusing as you do. If your human resolutely persists with the delusion that it need not listen to you, walk purposefully towards the nearest shelf housing breakable objects and walk up and down below it, eyeing it. At first you may need to jump on the shelf and push a few objects onto the floor. Your human will quickly learn to feed you before you need to get to this stage.
If your human is too slow for your liking, or learns very quickly and is no fun to play with, bear in mind that we manufacture billions of them. Just move and find another one. Or, adopt one that lives nearby. A good cat can have at least five homes, all with assorted humans that are, in their different ways, very amusing.
Generally your human’s first instinct will be to feed you. We suggest you simply accept this food even if actually you want to go out. At least if they are feeding you, you have their attention. If you do want food, and the human offers food, it pays to pause by the nearest door for just long enough for the human to say ‘oh sorry, did you want to go out?’ before heading for your food bowl, making it clear that the human is not clever and that it was obvious all along that what you wanted was food.
Going out in itself should be turned into an art form. Ideally the door itself should be your last resort and remember, no self-respecting cat has ever used a catflap in the presence of a human. Catflaps serve one purpose only – they are an easy way to gain entrance to another cat’s house. Instead, make full use of windows, particular those in places hard to reach for humans. Watch as your human clambers around trying to get to the window and spends several minutes wrestling with the catch, before deciding that maybe you wanted to go through the door anyway.
Once the human has opened the door or window, wait. It is vital that you do not immediately enter the house – remember the human has to be aware of its place as unglorified butler to its feline owner. Just as the human is about to close the egress, decide it might be time to come in. Or, as suggested above, change your mind and decide to enter the house elsewhere.
With regard to food, you will find that many human owners think it is acceptable to feed you something that looks as if it has been thrown up by a dog, and smells worse (than either the regurgitated food or the dog). On no account eat this. Wait until the desperate human is tempting you to eat the best Dover Sole before deciding that perhaps the most expensive tin of cat food they could find might perhaps be adequate. Your human must be made aware that you will starve rather than eat some of what it puts out for you. If your human fails, remember there is always another one nearby that can be made to feed you.
Once your human is opening doors at your will, knows the threat to its property, and is feeding you better than it feeds its own children, you may work on its other entertainment features. Here we will leave you to devise your own routines but remember, nothing beats the expression on its face when you present it with a still living bird, half-eaten shrew, or a fur ball in its shoe.
We sincerely hope that you enjoy your humanoid.
Coming soon. Guidelines for dogs.