The Ethological Study of Ella The Cat

The Ethological Study of Ella The Cat

The Ethological Study of Ella The Cat 2560 1920 Jason Stadtlander

Let’s face it, cats are really just glorified cuddly, walking stomachs with four legs and razor blades attached to the ends.

That being said, I’m not sure I could get through this pandemic without my Ella. She has been my companion since day one of the COVID19 pandemic and she continues to follow me around the house all day long, sits with me as I work all day, and wakes me up in the morning.

It is the waking up in the morning that I have begun to study and thought of particular interest. There’s a very specific pattern to this waking up and ‘getting the human to feed me’ element to it all. It is a very specific series of steps where there are a few adjustments that she has worked out just case I might be getting off track from her desired outcome.

Here are my findings (from Ella’s perspective):

  • Step 1 – Jason’s box next to his bed makes noise and he is no longer unconscious (alarm goes off). I must jump up on top of him and sit at the highest point on top of his body and look down upon him until he acknowledges my presence.
  • Step 2 – Once Jason acknowledges that I am here and begins to pet me, I can turn my lovely butt around so that he can see it. This will entice him to push me off and get up.
  • Step 3 – If I see Jason looking at his phone, I must jump back up on the bed and nudge under his arm to force him to see that I am what he should be focusing on.
  • Step 4 – For some reason at this point, he seems compelled to go to the room with all the water and I really don’t want to have any part of water, so I must remain at the threshold of the door frame and wait to ensure he does not forget his reason for getting up. Eventually, after being wet for a while and using something to dry off he once again goes back into his room.
  • Step 5 – I must constantly rub myself upon his ankles while he is putting on his fur and remind him again, why I have woken him. However, I must be careful not to trip him as he will step on my leg or tail because he’s clumsy.
  • Step 6 – I must lead him down the stairs and wait every few steps to make sure he is coming. If he gets distracted, then I need to go back and remind him to follow me.
  • Step 7 – I must stand by my dish as shown and wait for Jason to come to feed me.
    • Step 7a – Jason often becomes obsessed with the thing on the counter that makes dark liquid. So frequently must lead him to where my food can be found.
    • Step 7b – Jason often seems to think that he is in the kitchen to feed himself and starts taking items out of the big metal box to eat, but again, I must lead him back to where my food can be found.
Where’s ma food?

I will note that she has started a new step (Step 8) recently, which is the “fake cough/hairball” which she starts to do if she becomes significantly irritated that I am not getting to her food. She bends over and starts coughing and hacking. I know this to be fake because if I reach down and grab her dish, she instantly stops doing it – every single time.

The “Fake Cough”

So, what does all this show? As I see it shows one of two things. 1.) I have to much time on my hands and I’ve turned to study my cat’s behavior. 2.) I have come to the realization that I have never trained my cat but in fact, have been the one trained by my cat. Who’s the higher species now?

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