Girl + Cats = Happiness

Too much ick this morning. Even grading is suddenly looking pleasant.

Here’s a palate cleanser: our granddaughter Iliana gets to take care of a couple of cats for a few weeks, and she seems happy about it.

Not our cat, obviously. Iliana has met our cat, it did not go well, but our cat seems to be a feral outlier.


  1. says

    She certainly looks happy. The cats look pretty content, too.
    I’ve known cats who pretty much freaked at the sight of a small human being, like “what the hell is THAT???” and ran away and hid for the duration of the visit. Hope it wasn’t that bad with yours!
    I’m struggling with the equation, however. I keep rearranging it–Girl = Happiness – Cats? Girl + Cats divided by Happiness = 1?
    I’m overthinking it, aren’t I?

  2. Samuel Vimes says

    Oh my non-existant god, that huge smile on that little face just melted me!

  3. mordred says

    While I’m definitely not that cute, I think I had as similar smile this afternoon when my two feline friends I got from the shelter about three months ago both decided for the first time that me reading on the sofa is a good place to sleep on. While both of them had never been shy they rarely came to cuddle or sleep next to me so far. With the cold wind and rain outside I felt really comfortable with them.

    After a while I realised that both of them together get rather heavy, though. They’re pretty big for normal house cats.

  4. René says

    Reading the cats ears, tho’, it is not at all at ease. They signal o, my, what’s next?

  5. René says

    cat’s of course.
    But yeah, several felines have given me a lot of happiness over some four decennia, and never betrayed by them.

  6. magistramarla says

    Awww. She’s grown into such a lovely little girl.
    Little girls and cats just go together.
    My cat, Princess Leia, and my younger granddaughter are approximately the same age.
    Leia used to see the granddaughter fairly often, but now that both we and my daughter’s family have moved to different states, they don’t see each other very often. Whenever we Skype with the two little girls, Leia hears those little voices and comes running from wherever she was napping. She crawls all over my lap and pushes her head against the screen. She seems to understand that “her” girl is somewhere behind that screen.
    Our Skype sessions delight all of them.

  7. birgerjohansson says

    Other animals: A newly discovered Australian spider has been named Abba transversa.

    When I was of a similar age, I would often sit on my grandma’s floor, covered in cats.

  8. HidariMak says

    It looks like a “tuxedo cat” on her lap. I’ve heard that if you love dogs but have to have a cat, that’s the breed to get. My parents got two of them recently. When the cats aren’t asleep, they’re usually hanging around my parents, often looking for attention. They get it, of course.

  9. René says

    BTW, cats are much more tolerant towards children, whem they are misshandled; they allow children to carry them around under their arms in a way they wouldn’t tolerate from adults. Cats know to distinguish children from adults — mirror neurons, trans specious, if that’s a word.

  10. moonslicer says

    If she ain’t the cutest little girl I’ve ever seen, I don’t know who is.

  11. Walter Solomon says

    @ René

    We carried our cat under our arms and he didn’t mind it at all. I’m not sure how he would’ve interacted with a single child because I never got a chance to see him do so in the nearly 20 years we had him, but he certainly didn’t care for groups of children petting him. He ran away the one time that happened.

  12. birgerjohansson says

    Hmm, if Catbert escapes from the Addams narrative universe I would not trust him around children. He would probably emulate Fagin.

    Another fictional cat: Bucky Katt, in Get Fuzzy. Far more realistic than most cartoon cats he is narcissistisc, stupid and violent, when not snoozing.

  13. says

    @16: Litter trays aren’t so bad. At least you don’t have to get up at 3am to let the cat out to pee. Litter is way easier than walking around the neighborhood.

    PZ, your cat probably doesn’t trust a lot of people. Black cats are abused a lot; it’s frankly heartbreaking and sickening. When I was a kid, my aunt was feeding a stray cat that she named Blackie. The cat would avoid me every time she saw me, which upset me. I love cats and just wanted to pet her! Then my aunt told me that other kids in the neighborhood threw rocks at her so she was afraid of children. It took a few months, but Blackie learned that I was a nice two-legs that wouldn’t hurt her and happily let me give her ear scritches.

  14. says

    Yeah, we’ve seen a lot of signs of abuse from before we adopted her. She’s terrified of running water or even sizzling noises. She hates, literally hates, most people, if anyone comes to our door she hisses and snarls. It took months before she’d let us pet her, and even now she’s skittish around us.

  15. StevoR says

    @ ^ PZ Myers : good on you for taking and looking afetr her and for yourpatience and kidnness there.

    FWIW I owe what little sanity I have left to a series of wonderful cats that owned me. There is nothing quite so soothing and pleasant as a purring cat on your lap.

  16. says

    @18: Oh, that poor little kitty. I literally don’t understand how people can treat anything, even a houseplant, like that. That poor dear has some massive trauma. 💔

  17. Paul K says

    When I attended college, at UM, Minnesota, back in the 80s, I came upon a terrified black kitten one Halloween night. It didn’t seem old enough to be away from its mother, and was both crying out and hiding. I got hold of it, and found that it was covered in gasoline. I figured someone had had evil plans for it. I took it with me to the party I was headed for, and a friend took it in (I lived in a dorm, and couldn’t). The cat grew up, and was never very friendly with anyone but its owner, but it absolutely hated me. I’m sure it associated me with the trauma it had gone through. My voice was a trigger for it. If he heard me, he would attack my legs and dig his claws in deep if given the chance.

    I have a scar on the side of my nose from when his owner tried to get me to come close to him in order to make friends. I thought it was a bad idea, but tried it anyway. She was holding his front paws tightly, but he got one out instantly, and his claws hit my nose so fast and hard that one got stuck and had to be pulled out with some help from both me and the owner.

    I bring this up because, whenever PZ posts about his cat, I think of Winchell. He lived a long, loved life, but never forgot being hurt.

  18. says

    @22: Dear Primus, that is awful. I’m really glad you helped that poor little meower!

    Lulu, my current tuxedo girl, has definite trauma issues. She was a stray that was picked up by a local cop(!) and taken to a shelter. She was adopted by a coworker but their personalities clashed so I took her. She’s a sweet little girl, but if I bend over and stretch out one of my arms, so immediately backs up with her back arched and looks fearful. Poor dear remembers what happened to her to this day and it’s been five years.

  19. birgerjohansson says

    I have adopted two semi-feral cat ladies, after four years they do not run and hide when they see me but they will not be touched. I leave them a lot of space and let them amuse themselves.
    They usually ignore cat toys and seem to belong to the subset of cats not affected by catnip.
    If they occasionally want to shred my furniture they are welcome to it.