If there are multiple cats living in your house (as there should be), you've probably noticed the intricate and complex relationships they form with their fellow house cats. They might be BFFs or barely able to tolerate one another. Mr. Jingles might like to play wrestle with Sir Meowsalot but will only cuddle on the couch with Fred. My two boys, Nicky and Boom Boom, are nearly inseparable and do everything together, even if it means sharing one lap. The girls are a bit more independent, but Missy enjoys playing with Nicky and Boom Boom from time to time, while Cleo is content with grooming and preening herself.
So how do these relationships form? They don't meow about the weather or debate over which human in the house is more stupid. They don't chat idly by the food bowl.
Or do they?
Merriam-Webster defines telepathy as "communication from one mind to another by extrasensory means," extrasensory meaning beyond the five senses. Cats don't meow-chat and I don't know how much information you can get about some one's personality by licking them.
Purrhaps (sorry) they communicate telepathically, chatting via the brain wave channel. Now, it might seem far fetched - I mean, cats are aliens and they can read minds? You have to admit, though, it explains a lot.
Have you ever entered a room where your friends suddenly go quiet when they look at you, and you can tell they were talking about you by the guilty expressions on their faces? And have you ever noticed how cats sometimes look at you in the exact same way when you walk in? Yeah, that's because they're talking about you. The furry backstabbers.
If cats can read other cats' minds, can they read our minds? It's difficult to say. While our brain power is significantly inferior to theirs, there's also a cross-species situation going on. Cats and humans simply think differently. We see a paper cup for drinking water, they see a toy to roll around. We see socks for warming our feet, they see prey to attack. We see car keys that we use to get to work, they see a jingly toy to bat under the nearly impossible to move curio cabinet.
I suspect that cats can read our minds to a degree. How else could they possibly know when it's bath time? Without so much as a word, I just look in their direction and they're off, running up the stairs. They then precede to hide just out of reach under the bed, peering back at me. Mockingly.
And even if they can't read our minds, that sure as hell doesn't stop them from trying. As I explained in the previous blog post, Cleo makes it a habit to bore holes in the back of my head with her eyes. The way she stares at me. . . with such concentration . . . perhaps she's trying to get inside my head?
Some of you may be concerned about the idea of mind reading cats. I mean, it's bad enough that they invade our homes, beds, and pantries, but our thoughts, too? Fear not, I believe I have found a solution!
Don't thank me, thank Julian Huxley. In 1927, he wrote a science fiction novel called "The Tissue-Culture King" that featured tin foil hats as a means of protection against mind control and unwanted telepathy. Since then, it's appeared in a variety of stories and movies (all supposedly fiction). Whatever the case, when I put on my own tin foil hat, Cleo's intense gaze no longer unnerved me. Either the tin foil hat blocked her brain waves (or guarded mine) or she was confused about the shiny thing sitting on my head. Either way, it worked.