Cats normally are professional goldbricks. Give your average housecat the chance to do some honorable work and he’ll vanish, not to be seen or heard from again until dinner time. However, this is not to say that cats are incapable of employment. Just like anybody else, you must look at your cat’s attributes and form the job for the cat. Here are some suggestions for jobs your cat is capable of performing.
Actor: Like it or not, your cat can lie, and convincingly so. They are superb actors. Witness the next time you come home after a longer than normal absence, way past dinner time. The cat will drag himself into the kitchen while you are trying to get things going for yourself and family. The cat will collapse on the kitchen floor. Eyes closed, sides moving imperceptibly, only the faint flick of a tail tip tells you that the animal is still alive, but just barely. It is on the brink of death from starvation.
Alarm clock: Dependable, audible, and insistent. These are three qualities that we all desire in an alarm clock. There are problems, though. The cat does not come with a snooze alarm. The only ‘off’ button involves getting up out of bed. And the cat doesn’t care that 3 AM is NOT the time you wanted to get up. It’s the time she wants you to get up.
Building Inspector: Open a cupboard, a closet, a crawl space under the house: the cat will be in it in a flash. If you go into the garage, I guarantee the cat will be in the rafters.
God help you if you remove the floor vents in order to vacuum the heating ducts. I’ve never heard of a cat ending up in the furnace, but I’m certain it can be done.
Carpet inspector: By throwing up on your carpet at least four times a week, always in a different spot, the cat insures that you have your carpet steam cleaned at least once every six months.
Chaperone: Your cat insists that you cannot use the toilet or the shower without his presence. If you have the audacity to lock him out while you’re in the bathroom, he will demand to be let in, loudly enough so that everyone in the house knows what you’re doing.
Commentator: Siamese, especially, are known for this capacity, that of voicing their opinion about everything. Just because they don’t speak a known human language doesn’t mean you cannot understand them when they begin talking. And no animal, including us, can swear as convincingly and satisfyingly as a cat.
Critic: of everything. If you’re reading the newspaper, he will insist on laying on it. If you’re reading a book, she will insist on being on your lap, in such a way that you cannot turn the page without disturbing her. Television invites several different avenues of critique: sitting atop the tv with a tail dangling or perched on your chest so that her head is right in front of your nose are two of them.
Most annoying of all is the cat who must drape herself along the top of your computer monitor, like mine is now. A perfect spot for an animal that is constantly leaking hair, it usually results in your computer soon being jammed with cat hair.
Exterminator: This is the classic cat job, but these days, it has changed, slightly. Most cats will only catch the most foolhardy mouse, one that has gotten into the house by who knows what route. The cat will toy with the mouse and may even kill it. If she eats it, she will leave parts of it strewn around the bathroom so that you, the half awake, barefooted human will step on the cold, squishy pile of entrails at 2 am. The cat will keep the eaten portions of the mouse in her stomach for approximately two days, whereupon she will throw it up, along with all the rest of her stomach contents, in a spot on the carpet that shows stains to their best advantage.
Food inspector: When you put food in his bowl, your cat will walk up to it, sniff it from a safe distance, then decide if it meets his lofty standards before he deigns to touch it. If it meets his standards, he will eat it. If it does not, though, rejection comes in several forms. If the cat at least pretends to like you, he will merely turn away and sit down about five feet from the bowl, very politely telling you that it is loathsome. He understands that, being human, you are stupid, but can learn by many, many repetitions of a simple lesson. He gives you time to realize your mistake and rectify it by putting something in the bowl more to his tastes, preferably Copper River King salmon. If he does NOT care about your self esteem, he will turn around and pretend to cover it, using the very same motion he does when he’s covering what he’s produced in the litter box.
Exorcist: You’ve seen your cat racing around the house for no reason whatsoever? He’s chasing ghosts.
Interior decorator: Cats understand that we humans are strangely attached to things that serve no purpose, (aka ‘collectibles’ or knickknacks) are expensive, or have a sentimental value to us. We have an annoying habit of displaying them on surfaces that are better suited to giving a cat a place to lay down and stretch out. The cat who moves things around on your tables and dressers is well suited for interior design and consultation. If she actually pushes it off the tabletop, she is telling you in the plainest terms that some stuff, like that Swarovski crystal horse, just should NOT be allowed in the house, and will you kindly dispose of it now that it’s irreparably broken.
Lab technician: When you and your significant other are being, shall we say, physically amorous, you will feel a pair of unblinking eyes upon your back. Or front. Look up, and there is your cat, watching. She is wearing the clinical expression of someone in a lab smock and holding a clipboard, annotating every move you make. It wouldn’t be so bad if she wasn’t flicking a tailtip in a slightly amused manner, as if the sight of two naked apes in rut is the most hilarious thing she’s ever seen, but she’s a professional so she’s not roaring in laughter. She IS smirking, though.
Panhandler: You cannot enter the kitchen without a cat accompanying you. He knows the only reason you are there is to feed him. He may show you where the cat food is kept. If you don’t give her something (actually, a LOT of something), you will be given the Guilt Trip. (see Actor). Sometimes he will purposefully trip you, and now that you're on the floor, will you please fill up the bowl.
Plumber: My cats insist on being in the bathroom with me. They insist on having the water tap turned on. They don’t drink, they just watch the water (wasted) run down the drain. In a similar vein, my cats also want to watch the water in the toilet disappear.
Proximity Alarm: Cats will strategically place parts of their body (usually the tail) directly underneath your feet. This way, when you step on it, they can screech in pain, and you will feel so guilty you will feed them.
Road block: if your cat places herself in the very center of the aisle, room, or path to wherever else in the house the majority of traffic traverses, your cat can be a road block. She will be sitting at parade rest, tail neatly wrapped around her feet, head up, eyes shut, apparently contemplating the Buddha while everyone must detour around her.
Security officer: this cat places herself strategically so that she can see all activities in a few very important spots, i.e., she places herself so that she can see the kitchen as well as the couch in the living room. She thus can simultaneously track any activity in the kitchen as well as see when a comfortable lap opens up in front of the TV.
Sex worker: Anyone who has procrastinated in having their cat spayed will tell you that a female cat in heat is the must erotic, noisy, and obnoxious animal on the planet. If you have never seen a cat in heat before, check Actor, because she will convince you that she is in agony, when in reality, all she wants is to get some. This will go on for at least a week. You will not get any sleep.
The toms are worse: if you have been so irresponsible as to not have your cat neutered, your house, your furniture, everything you own will soon begin to reek of cat piss. He will spray anything upright, including your legs. He will come home torn and satisfied, or torn and needing vet work, will yowl all night and sleep all day. He’s out there making more kittens, innocent beings that will end up in the animal shelter (unless you want to become a collector). Neuter and spay your cats.
Surveyor: Cats have a tape measure in their heads. Just watch the next time you see your cat contemplating jumping onto your counter top. They look, measure, the tail flicking as she does the computations, and then bip! she’s landed precisely on the only spot she can safely do so, and is now leaving paddypaw prints on your just polished table and sniffing in the sugar bowl.
Wild animal collector: not to be confused with Exterminator. This cat, if allowed outdoors, will bring in animals it has no business catching, i.e., birds, snakes, lizards, and shrews. Larger cats may even bring in baby possums, rabbits and squirrels. All these creatures will be very much alive and alarmed at one, having been captured by a cat and two, brought into the house; and will make determined and destructive attempts to escape. If the cat were capable of handling a video camera, he would film the hysterical antics of the humans trying to not catch a baby skunk and still getting it out of the house.