freaking Donald out

March 3rd, 2011 | Other Projects, Wild Kingdom

I was working at the computer this evening, past the cat’s feeding time. She was sitting right in front of my screen and following my cursor around, occasionally reaching up to bat at it. It occurred to me that she might enjoy watching something more exciting, so I went to YouTube and searched for “videos for cats.” I didn’t know there was such a thing, but of course there is. This example popped up, and I started playing it. She knows the squirrels aren’t real, but she’s not quite sure what to do with them. She does a little investigating toward the end.

39 Responses to “freaking Donald out”

  1. Renee S. says:

    Hi AB, the video won’t run, it just says: “This video is private.”

  2. Thanks, Renee! I think I fixed it.

  3. Ellen O. says:

    It works!

    I like how she put her paw right on the squirrel’s tale toward the end.

    My cat, Bella, has a similar reaction with the laser pointer toy. She knows that I generate the point of light, but she chases it (not me) as if it were a mouse.

  4. NLC says:

    I really like the notion of a cat, named after an expert in childhood development, being put through its paces like this.

    E.g. appearing to check behind the screen to see if the squirrels might “really” be back there –very reminiscent of those videos where the experimenters put the doll under the box and the baby has to decide if the doll will still be there when the box is lifted. Or in which the young child hasn’t learned yet that the amount of sand remains the same no matter the shape of the container.

  5. Kate L says:

    I like how Donald gets it into his head at the end of the video that the squirrels must be behind the video screen! When I was growing up, my family had a persian cat that was something of a snob. She would only pay attention to television when another cat was on the screen!

  6. Cathy says:

    I had a videotape called “Video Catnip” that my cats loved. Sometimes they preferred to stare at the tape’s images of birds and squirrels rather than go to the window and watch the actual birds and squirrels eating from our feeder.

    Once I was trying to find out which animal had made screaming sounds one night, so I went on the internet and searched for audio clips of local wildlife. On the way to learning I had heard a fox in heat, I played a clip of a bobcat growl. My cat Dana got so frightened that every one of her hairs stood on end. This indoor kitty probably never even heard a growling dog, let alone a bobcat, but she somehow knew to be scared. I was also amazed that she didn’t flee the room, but instead looked me in the eye and pressed against my legs. I’ve always wondered if she was trying to protect me.

  7. Acilius says:

    It looks like Dr Winnicott is learning to be content with a “good-enough squirrel.”

  8. Kate L says:

    Sandy, the 54-pound-Harrier Hound, once met a wolf cub. The wolf cub wanted to play with her, but Sandy was just too freaked out to play! It was a non-dog dog!!! And to think, the domestic dog is still genetically a silver wolf.

    Oh, the human rights group that I serve as a board member and secretary is thinking about “Enlighten Smallville” or “Wise Up, Smalville!” as possible pro-keep-LGBT-in-the -local-human-rights-ordinance campaign slogans as the religious right repeal campaign gets under way this Spring. The latter slogan was my suggestion. No one has actually seen the petition to call for a recall vote on the ordinance amendment. The “AwakenSmallville” pro-repeal crowd is asking for signatures at church services, but is keeping the wording of the petition to itself, for now. Can you say, “multiple violations of the democratic process”?

    It is possible that the religious right is trying to force a vote to overturn the entire human rights ordinance. We just don’t know, yet.

  9. Alex K says:

    Smell the coffee, Smallville!

  10. Dr. Empirical says:

    Grow the Fuck Up, Smallville!

  11. ksbel6 says:

    Get Your Heads Out Of Your Asses, Smallville!

  12. ksbel6 says:

    Notice my suggestion has the nifty acronym, GYHOOYAS, which would just be fun to taunt people with. “Oh, I’m totally contributing to the GYHOOYAS fund, aren’t you?”

  13. Kate L says:

    Ha! Can I share these suggested slogans with my fellow Board members at tomorrow’s Board meeting and campaign strategy session? We will have as our special guest a woman from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. She will advise us on counter-insurgency against the religious right.

  14. Change or die, Smallville.

    But I’m in a bit of a mood today.

  15. Kate L says:

    Actually, Maggie, your slogan says it all!

  16. Andi says:

    OMG, after you watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk7yqlTMvp8 you’ll never think of the phrase “It’s like herding cats” the same again.

    I’m still laughing so hard I can barely breathe. Wow, I needed that! Enjoy, folks.

  17. Gabi B. says:

    Can’t wait to try this one out on my cat, Miss Delphine.

  18. khatgrrl says:

    Andi, #16 Loved it! A much needed laugh!

  19. Ginjoint says:

    Andi, I saw that commercial only once a few years ago, but never saw it again, until now. Thanks! Also, congrats on the article thang – that’s a beautiful portrait of you and Nellie.

    My mother had a copy of “Video Catnip,” and her cat would put her paw on the VCR (hey, this was back in the day) and wail until one of us started the tape for her.

    Maggie, I was about to email you – I haven’t seen you around here, and I was beginning to worry. Good to hear from you.

  20. Suzanonymous says:

    Cats probably have a strong enough sense of smell that a video of squirrels is not exactly compelling. She’ll have to wait for smell-o-vision.

  21. Ellen O. says:

    Alison — Did you see the google search page today?

  22. freyakat says:

    @#7 (Acilius): “good-enough squirrel” indeed.
    Wonderfully witty!

  23. Kat says:

    Ha! That was great. I love how Donald went behind the monitor to try to find the squirrels.

  24. Ginjoint, thx. Am doing well. Attendant care is in place and getting better, I manage to eat and make rent each month, and I’m engrossed in a research project concerning heretofore hidden lesbians of the gilded age — real women who found ways to associate, adopt children, etc. Utterly fascinating. Plus, as a result, I’ve started a new book. So, crippled and poor but engrossed and making art. Definitely on the plus side.

  25. hairball_of_hope says:

    Back in the ancient 1990s, when a high-end 17″ Sony Trinitron CRT monitor cost upwards of $500 (yeah, go ahead and laugh, young’uns), I made the mistake of putting up an aquarium screensaver on my brand-new aforementioned expensive monitor. It entertained the cat immensely, to the point where he took a sharp-nailed swipe at the monitor. For the remainder of the monitor’s life, I had an annoying deep scratch in the anti-glare coating on the screen. So be forewarned if you start playing cat videos on your expensive electronica.

    I did not make that mistake with the equally-expensive behemoth 19″ Sony Trinitron CRT that replaced it a few years later. I did have to stop storing office supplies on the plastic shelf I attached atop the monitor, however. The feline decided that the shelf made for a nice warm place to sleep, and he would cast the office supplies in random directions should they dare intrude upon his designated snooze space (getting hit with a flying Swingline stapler is not fun, I can assure you). The shelf snooze space also resulted in a cat tail windshield wiper; lotsa fun trying to work when he was waggling his tail in front of the screen.

    The 19″ Sony outlived the cat, so despite the profusion of LCD monitors on my computer farm, he always had a warm place to sleep. Actually two warm places to sleep, the other being the equally ancient HP LaserJet II.

    Cats do like to walk and sleep upon keyboards, and it’s really hard to unlearn them of the habit. For the Windoze users among us, I can recommend PawSense, a program that detects cat typing. It makes cat-annoying sounds and locks the keyboard when felines are detected.

    http://www.bitboost.com/pawsense/

    I’m not aware of any similar programs for *nix and Mac users, however. You’ll have to rely on the ol’ squirt bottle and strong lungs to yell, “No!” “Down!” and “Off!” None of those will work however. See “herding cats” for more info.

    (… goes back to her hopeless hairball existence …)

  26. Andrew B says:

    Didn’t we recently have a discussion of cat-oriented Ipad apps that use the touchscreen to allow your cat to bat the image of a mouse around on the screen? And somebody was worried about the cat scratching the screen? Or was that on some other blog I follow? I’m too lazy to go back and look. (Too lazy even to google.) Anyhow, such apps exist.

    And I just spotted a reference to the Bechdel test in an improbable spot. Scroll down to the “Featured Comment” by Edie Howe if you don’t want to read the whole thing — although it’s actually not a bad exchange about Hollywood screenwriting and why movies are so bad.

  27. Andrea says:

    I tried to interest our cat Catherine in this video, but she is currently too strung out on ‘nip to focus.

  28. Andi says:

    19. Ginjoint – Thanks, and you’re welcome! I think Nellie looks like One Tough Little Dog in the picture. She’s a ferocious little thirteen-pound rescue from the streets of Mexico. Rrrowf!

  29. Andi says:

    PS: Nellie LOVES to chase squirrels in real life,but will not give that You Tube squirrel vid the time of day. What’s up with that? She acts like she can’t even see the squirrels. Is it my little 15″ MacBook Pro screen, or are dogs eyes just not that good close up?

  30. Feminista says:

    @hoh #25: Thanks for letting us know a way to prevent a computer cat-astrophe…Jasmine has decided that the top of the printer makes a nice bed. I’ve put a towel on it to protect from cat hair,and sometimes have removed her from the printer,but she keeps coming back. Normally a scaredy-cat,she refuses to budge even when the printer’s on!

  31. Kate L says:

    Last night, I attended a meeting of the local human rights board where I serve as a board member. A woman from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force was there to advise us on our upcoming fight against the religious right to keep LGBT in the local human rights ordinance. Amazing to think that there are places where gays and lesbians can roam free. The places with the legendary names – Utopia, Nirvana, Vermont…

  32. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    St Jerome is sitting right here next to the computer and he loved the herding cats video, thanks for posting the link. My God, EDS, Them was the days.

    He likes to sit on my hand as I’m typing, presumably to get tummy tickles while sitting down.

  33. Kate L says:

    I know that I like to view the world through a Star Trek: Voyager filter, but I can grow. When I recently saw this Babylon 5 clip from over a decade ago, I thought that it brilliantly foreshadowed Governor Walker’s takeover of the state capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin. Just substitute the Wisconsin state capitol building for Earthdome, Governor Walker for President Clark, and “Racine, Neenah, Green Bay, Albion and Iron River” for “Paris, London, New York, Moscow and New Delhi”! Eerie!!!

  34. Marj says:

    I used to warm my lunch atop my CRT monitor. Alas, skinny LCD screens have nixed that.

  35. judybusy says:

    Hi Andi,

    A late congrats on the article! Your eloquence is so impressive, given the circumstances. I will have to show the petting zoo chez moi (three cats and squirrel-loving dog) the squirrel video, too, and see what they do!

  36. Antoinette says:

    My cats didn’t enjoy video catnip as much as they did “Nature” on PBS. Anything with birds and/or other small animals was fascinating (meerkats were a huge hit). Cheeping and squeaking sounds were also a plus. Howling wolves freaked everybody out.

  37. Cathy says:

    Our current cat also gets interested in nature shows, but movement is more attractive to him than sound (he’ll really get into a hockey game).

    Speaking of cats and tv, a co-worker of mine told me a great story about a stray long-haired cat she had taken into her home. They were on the sofa near the television when a M*A*S*H rerun began airing. When one of the actors shouted “Hawkeye,” the cat ran to the tv and began pawing at the screen and meowing. As the actor repeated the name “Hawkeye,” the cat’s reaction intensified. My friend realized that the character Hawkeye Pierce was from Maine, wondered if the cat was a Maine coon, and called out, “Hawkeye? Is your name Hawkeye?” The cat looked at her with wide eyes and rushed to her from the television, meowing nonstop. She never found the cat’s former family, but he got to keep the name Hawkeye as he lived with her for the rest of his life.

  38. Feminista says:

    Happy International Women’s Day,y’all!/Feliz dia internacional de las mujeres para todas! It’s the 100th anniversary of this U.S.-born holiday; if you’re a woman in Cuba,Viet Nam,the former Soviet Union,and some other countries,you get a paid day off.

    **Walks out of room humming Bread and Roses**

  39. ready2agitate says:

    Yay Maggie – that is good news!

    Happy IWD – she’s 100 today, no?

    xxx’s and ooo’s dykely friends!