Most cat owners probably think their "pooties" spend a lot of time sleeping when their "hoomins" aren't at home.
That's what we figured about Baxter and Chloe, our brother/sister Tonkinese duo. But a recent study shows that we were wrong about that. Cat "parents" might be surprised to find how active their kitty kats are when "mom and dad" are away.
Jill Villarreal, an animal behavior scientist, attached collar cameras to 50 house cats, taking a photo every 15 minutes. What did she discover? Only six percent of the cats' time was spent napping. Their favorite activities were looking out the window (22 percent), interacting with other family pets (12 percent), and climbing on chairs, kitty condos, or other objects (8 percent).
And get this: Cats, like people, are heavily into electronics. The study cats spent 6 percent of their time looking at televisions, computers, DVDs, or other forms of media. A few other favorites:
* Hiding under tables, 6 percent;
* Playing with toys, 5 percent;
* Eating or looking at food, 4 percent.
I was curious about all of this, so I decided to run it by our kitty kats. Chloe is like our "perfect child." She is good natured, almost never makes a sound, and shows little interest in getting into things. She spends most of her time looking gorgeous, chilling, and thinking about her next meal. Baxter's a different story; he's our "Dennis the Menace." He's always "talking" and looking for opportunities to get into mischief. He also makes no attempt to hide the results of his misadventures, so I thought I would go to him.
"Hey, Baxter," I said, "have you heard of this story about cameras that catch what cats do when their parents are away?"
"Oh, yeah," he said. "I read it on your computer the other day while you were gone."
"You use the computer while we're gone?"
"Sure. By the way, you're due for an upgrade. And did you know there are some fascinating kitty porn Web sites out there?"
"I didn't know that."
"They'll probably be showing up on your next bill."
"Thanks for the heads up. What else do you do when we're gone?"
"I check out your music. I've never seen so many '60s and '70s albums in one place. You're living in the past, dude."
"Can you actually put the albums on the turntable and listen?"
"No. It would help if you realized it's the 21st century. Have you ever heard of a CD player or an iPod?"
"Which albums do you find most interesting?"
"This band The Byrds . . . I find them intriguing. In fact, I can't take my eyes off their album cover."
"And this guy Cat Stevens. He must be cool."
"Any albums you don't like?"
"Oh, yeah. What's with all this Three Dog Night stuff? That looks lame. I threw all of those out. Hope you don't mind."
"You threw away my Three Dog Night?"
"Heck, yeah. That song about Jeremiah, the bull frog? You ought to thank me that's not around any more."
"Hey, you think I'm square, have you checked out your mother's records? She's got the complete Village People collection."
"I know, I saw it. What a hoot! You guys are hopelessly unhip."
"Anything else you do when we're gone?"
"Oh, yeah, Chloe and I like to turn on the TV and watch old game shows on cable."
"Cats like old game shows? Who knew?"
"Our favorite is To Tell the Truth. What a classic!"
"Why do you like that so much?"
"We love Kitty Carlisle. She is one smart lady. They can never fool her."