Pavlov’s Cat

2013-07-17 13.22.12Introduction

I can read your minds, folks: Oh my God, not another one about his cat! That’s almost as annoying as when he refers to himself in the third person. And just for that, he is going to write that way for the remainder of this post.

Don’t hate him, for he is unable to think clearly in weather warmer than 80 degrees. Further, he has been editing a great deal of articles for an academic journal, and this is pretty much the way his inner monologue goes at the moment.

Case Study

The author of this quasi-scientific post (in no way scientific, actually), has been cohabitating with a white and gray cat named Bela for the last four years. She is a lunatic, eats living beings, shows moments of sociopathic genius, and quacks when excited. In this time together the author has noticed that his location in the flat, various actions, and even position garners a distinct reaction from Bela (aka: The B Monster).

Some of those observations are outlined below. The author apologizes in advance for any mental images you are forced to endure throughout the duration of this post. If one is exceedingly disturbing, he will buy you a drink to help you forget. For the purposes of this post, the author will be referred to as Pavlov.


To clarify: the bathroom is the room with the shower, sink, and washing machine. There is no toilet. This room seems to mean one thing to the B Monster: water! In fact, the animal’s fascination with this matter borders on obsession. Whenever Pavlov goes into the room the B Monster often finds her way there first, sprinting in ahead in a manner similar to herding. Then she stands at the tap and awaits a drink. She does this when Pavlov gets into the shower as well. Then she huddles under the radiator and awaits his emergence so that she might lick the water off his toes.

The duality of water is that if one molecule of it touches the cat outside of her mouth or on her own paw, there is a reaction not unlike sticking a needle in an unsuspecting person’s butt.


The office has one thing of particular interest to Bela, and that is the door to the balcony. The balcony embodies the thing that cats crave most: freedom! So when Pavlov sits at his desk to write, the B Monster paces in front of the door emitting a meow that would irritate Gandhi. Then she looks out at the free land beyond the door and quacks at birds and leaves. When Pavlov eventually loses his temper at this cacophony and shouts some variation of “Bela, knock it the f*ck off!” she huddles under that radiator and falls asleep. This interaction occurs every day.


Time on the couch typically means engaging in reading for Pavlov, and this in turn means one thing to the B Monster: A bed.

Bela seems to wait around in exhaustion until Pavlov lounges on the couch to read and then she leaps up and stands on his stomach. She remains standing until poking his liver stops being fun, and then she goes to sleep.

Should Pavlov lie on his stomach to read, the B Monster simply does her same routine on his back. For this reason, it is unclear if Pavlov’s extra stomach padding was the initial incentive for this reaction.


For some reason the cat decides that this is the ideal time in which to employ her litter box, exploiting it with every excretion. The litter box is about 3 feet from where Pavlov eats. Since the cat completely sates herself, and then stands beneath Pavlov, his only guess is that she is trying to show that she is a good girl, and now deserves a treat, i.e. a sliver of chicken, or the tip of a hotdog.


This is remarkable. When Pavlov shows any indication of building a sandwich – extracting mayonnaise, opening bread, loosening pants – the B Monster reaches towards the counter and places her paws there. She will remain in this position until she gets a piece of ham, tuna fish, or turkey.

If Pavlov does not grant a meaty gift then the B Monster lays in wait beneath his chair and then attacks his heel as he eats. This has been observed 4 times, and then tested 3 additional times. As Pavlov enjoys living life with two full, complete feet, Bela now always gets a gift.

The same has been seen with milk. When Pavlov opens milk, Bela knows immediately, with her sense of smell she is capable of picking up a can of tuna being opened in Zurich. Anyway, she goes directly to the spot where he often sets out a bowl of milk for her. Upon her arrival to this spot, she stares at the spot until a small bowl of milk is delivered.


When the B Monster is not reacting to one of these input, she is usually rubbing her face on things.


At first, Pavlov thought the cat was a little clever, but then decided that she might just be like Pavlov’s dog – motor reaction to certain input.

And then, in a moment of severe paranoia, Pavlov realized that it wasn’t Bela who was reacting to him, but often him reacting to Bela. For example, when she comes into the bathroom, he turns on the spigot. Or he reacts before she acts, i.e., he cuts off a slice of meat as he begins to make a sandwich.

As a result, Pavlov, who we can now call Bela’s Person, also mentioned an extreme need for more sunshine, a social life of sorts, and perhaps female companionship that doesn’t lick clean her claws and poop at the dinner table.

  1. #1 by Tiffany N. York on July 22, 2013 - 7:23 pm

    LOVE this post! Haha, esp. about the water thing. One of my cats does the same thing. He’ll drink water from the tap, step into the shower while it is wet, but if you accidently shake your hands after washing them, resulting in a drop getting on his precious fur? He shoots out of the room full-speed and then furiously licks himself.

    I love my cats on me, but they knead me with their claws out, and that is no fun. Bela is absolutely adorable, btw. You are lucky to have her. She has trained you well.

    • #2 by Damien Galeone on July 22, 2013 - 11:29 pm

      She is a little nutbag, but a nutbag I do love. Besides, sometimes when she kneads my back it’s like a free back scratch. Oh T, what the heck is wrong with us!?

  2. #3 by Kelly on July 23, 2013 - 5:31 am

    My cat flat out refuses to drink out of a dish anymore, only the sink. It’s to the point where I have to leave the tiniest drizzle from the tap running all day for fear that he will dehydrate when I’m at work.

    I also catch myself standing in front of the fridge, unwrapping Polly-O string cheeses and Babybels in the most clandestine manner possible because he can hear the plastic being pulled apart all the way from my bedroom if I have two air conditioners and the TV going yet when I’m yelling at him that I have to make the bed every morning it’s as though he’s gone completely deaf, rather staring at me with a look that conveys “Try it, asshole.”

    Why the fuck do I have a cat again? Because we loves dem so much! Ahhh! What suckers!

    • #4 by Damien Galeone on July 23, 2013 - 10:03 am

      Oh how I understand this esoteric eating! I once caught myself opening a packet of ham only after shutting my office door. She still smelled it! They’re like little narcotic agents….only with food.

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