Friday, November 19, 2010

Just 'cause she's called "Twinkle" doesn't mean she's bright

Last April I got a third cat; another rescued pet, as they're called these days. She's finally settled in and has stopped being a problem (knock on wood). She's a lean, blade-eyed little tortie who came with the name "Twinkle" (I don't believe in renaming pets... nicknaming them, yes...).

Twinkle's idea of quality time is to hang around with me in the bathroom... usually during reading time (am I being too euphemistic, or just right?). Generally I leave the door open when I shower because the steam causes mold, but otherwise I usually close it. Twinkle usually doesn't want to be in the room when the shower's running. But I've noticed that, unlike Bonnie and Max, she hasn't mastered doors yet. She can push one open from the outside, but she hasn't figured out how to pull one open yet. (Max, on the other hand, can be heard at two in the morning opening the ten pound sliding doors in the hallway.)

Usually Twinkle leaves when I open the door. This morning, I decided I'd give her an impetus to grow a little. I left the door closed while I started the shower. She didn't panic or get upset, but it was clear she was thinking about how to leave. From behind the curtain I watched her. She nosed the crack of the door. She wandered to the hinges and considered them. Back to the open crack. Sat down by the vanity. Checked out the door again. I started feeling embarrassed for her. But then I reminded myself it's all relative... I'd be doing the same thing confronted by a blackboard full of Feynman diagrams.

When I emerged, I pulled the door open maybe another quarter inch for her. Then another. I was hoping she'd finally stick a paw through, notice she was easily strong enough to swing the door open, and have learned something new. I was hoping, in other words, to empower my cat. Well, eventually, she did stick her nose into the door and wedge it open, which I suppose is a start, but not the application of experimentation and basic logic I'd been hoping for. Not much of a breakthrough (pardon the pun). But it might be something she builds on. I'd like her to be able to enter and leave the room as she pleases... it just seems more democratic that way. :) But I don't think she's quite as smart as Bonnie and Max. Maybe it just hasn't emerged yet. It is fascinating to watch the wheels in motion, though, even if they don't go anywhere.

1 comment:

jim said...

I had a cat named Max once. He was a chocolate-point Siamese and was the dumbest cat I've ever known. Don't get me wrong; he was my best buddy, but the synapses just weren't firing in his noggin.

He and our seal-point Siamese, Simone, used to fight over who got to sleep on my butt in bed at night. Max usually won. What Max lacked in brains, he made up for in determination.

May Twinkle be a determined cat.