The Incredible Fur Processing Machine



I find virtually everyday that my original theory of “Cats is so Dumb” has yet to be disputed. There are times when I pray that the circumstance will befall me to be able to use a movie line in a real time situation. The particular one I am thinking of here is Robin Williams as the voice of the Genie in “Aladdin”. When Aladdin first encounters the Genie he answers a question the Genie asks to which his response is slapping a graduation cap on to his head while exclaiming loudly “YES!…He CAN be taught!”


Sadly, I don’t think this day will ever come between myself and my pet cat, “Hamish.” The poor boy is rapidly becoming the poster child for the “Cats is so Dumb” Handbook much to my efforts to the contrary.
Hamish is a long haired orange tabby and part Maine Coon breed. This gene pool is evidenced by the extra long hair that grows between his toes and an incredibly bushy tail that he can wrap around himself like a mink stole. His underbelly is coated with easily two inches of down-like fluff that I would imagine is a superior insulator. All of these features would serve him so very well were he stalking the frozen winter tundra of upper New England and Canada, but in the humid Virginia heat it becomes more like a parka he is constantly trying to take off. In this regard I have a large measure of sympathy for him if only for the fact that for every hair he sheds, I am fairly certain he grows two in its place.

Proponents of the evolution theory claim that any living thing will adapt to its enviroment. I say Hamish is living proof that line of thinking is utter crap. If he had been adapting to his surroundings he would most assuredly be thinning or nearly bald by now, yet he remains as bushy as ever. This condition often reminds me of the comedian “Gallagher” (of Sledge-O-Matic fame) who in each of his shows always had a string of jokes about his own thinning hairline (or lack thereof). The joke in particular I recall is where he said in the beginning of time the essence of gorilla stood before God and proclaimed;
“I want HAIR!”
God considered the request for a moment and replied; “Ok, but its gonna cost you brains.”

I am therefore left to believe that be it evolution or Intelligent Design, Hamish got stiffed either way. Especially when you consider the fact that cats “clean themselves” by licking every square centimeter they can contort themselves to reach. I thank God each and every day that small portion of wisdom was not passed on to our species.

When you consider the extraordinary amount of time cats spend on this so called cleaning and the amount of time we spend cleaning up the loose hair that escapes their tongues, one is left to wonder how any could possibly be left. But never fear, since the feline species is more than happy to help you account for the amount of hair they have personally removed. They gather this fur together into neat little bundles and regurgitate it onto your furniture and carpet in all the places you’d rather it not be.

I suppose this is some small kind of vengeance for house training. If they cannot urinate and defecate at will the least they can leave you is a reasonable facsimile of wadded hair held together with saliva and stomach acid.

To me, this begs another question. For an animals potent digestive system that is able to consume other smaller live prey in it raw, freshly killed state, why is it unable to process a wad of hair? In all of the nature films I have ever watched on Discovery Channel or National Geographic, even back to my younger days of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, I have yet to see footage of a wild Lion or Tiger barfing up a giant wad of Gazelle or water Buffalo hair they consumed several hours ago.

Is it possible that we as humans are falling prey to the deterioration of brain cells by keeping company with these creatures? We are the ones guilty of feeding them “hairball formula” cat food to begin with.

I was always under the silly impression its purpose was to help digest the cleaning by-product. Somewhere in a Purina lab, a chemist is laughing maniacally as felines all across the country hurl on their owners prized oriental rugs.
So the cat grows the fur, sheds the fur, licks off the fur and after a little processing, spits it right back out…and the wheels on the bus go round and round.

While not having to do with hair or shedding, there is one other habit both Hamish and Tatiana exhibit which calls gray matter power into question once again. This would be the repeated trip to the litter box. I will say up front I believe the litter box to be a great invention that is right up there with the wheel (and that’s saying a lot for a car guy like myself)

The next stroke of genius was to add a hood or a top to the box to keep said kitty-cat from showering the surrounding room with clay and sand. Yet it seems this plastic hood is keeping brainwaves from bouncing in their proper direction, almost like lead diverts Superman’s X-ray vision.

After each of our cats “does their business” only a small fraction of time is spent moving around the actual litter to cover the deed, the next five minutes it seems is spent clawing away madly at the plastic walls as if they are trying to extract slivers of plastic to mark their last location. One could attempt to apply logic and say they are only sharpening their claws, but logic has no place in the land of fur and claws. No, no,no, I’m quite sure if you scrape the plastic long enough a whole new layer of litter will come cascading down to cover the entire box.

Let us consider for a minute that if you placed the most mentally challenged human child on the planet into a sandbox that had short walls on each side, it would only be a matter of hours or even minutes before he would realize that scraping the walls with a plastic shovel has absolutely no effect on the sand below. What befuddles me even further is how the cats will continue this ritual by leaving the litterbox and then returning a scant few minutes later to resume the scratching and clawing unabated. I suppose you could even try to reason, which in this case is roughly as effective as logic, that the cat is attempting to clean its claws of excess litter. A concept that I consider to be highly unlikely for an animal that regularly licks its own hind end. I mean after that shouldn’t litter be small potatoes?

And so I hold out hope each day that a glimmer of progress will make itself known to refute my theory, but it has yet to show itself as of this writing. I’m sure whatever the next phase is, be it up or down, its bound to be entertaining.

Cats is still so Dumb, but we still love them.

T. August Green


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