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Yes, I know. I was shocked, too. Shocked and appalled.

Cat worshippers in our very midst.

But be kind. Turns out, they are brainwashed.

I explain on the flip:

There's a recent news article about scientific studies of cats. They were studying how cats get humans to do what they want.

As if we didn't know. But let's see what the scientists discovered.

Cats domesticated themselves ages ago so that people would take care of them and have honed the pitch of their meows to a point where people can't ignore them, say a pair of recent studies.

Those fiendish kitties! What are they up to now?

The article starts out describing some darling people with adorable cats, whose communication skills are very good. And then it says:

While we'd never tolerate that behavior from a house guest — or even our own kids — we take it from cats, along with their extreme independence and their refusal to show affection except on their own terms and frequent shedding.

Now, I have a couple of friends who love the snarky humor of The Onion, so when I first saw the article, I thought it was meant to be funny.

Because they aren't really saying we Cat Appreciators are merely Trilbys in thrall to our furry Svengali's, are they?

What the article describes the cats doing, such as:

Dena Harris of Madison, N.C., endures a daily slapping around by her 8-year-old cat, Olivia, who taps her on the shoulder early each morning until she gets up and feeds her.

Now, we know that's charming. Just as the cat who scooted a bottle of perfume toward the edge until she got out of bed described in the story.

We might hate it at the time, but it's charming.

Nope, sorry. Upon further reading, the article tells me I am delusional.

"There’s a part of us as human beings that I think is attracted to dominance in other creatures," says psychotherapist Lois Abrams, Ph.D., who practices in Los Alamitos, Calif. "There’s a part of us that likes to be controlled."

It does seem like she is saying that a sweet person who takes care of cats is really doing something... well, I'm not qualified to speculate. But when they describe a cat's tap on the shoulder as "slapping her around," that's going to lead to some odd linkages on the search engines.

The more I read this article, the more I am certain my leg is being pulled in a some elaborate joke. But it is on a news site. It really is.

"Cats do not perform directed tasks and their actual utility is debatable, even as mousers," wrote the study authors. "Accordingly, there is little reason to believe an early agricultural community would have actively sought out and selected the wildcat as a house pet."

Yeah, right, they'd hire goats for that job, wouldn't they? Not that a goat couldn't do it. I'd never say that. I don't think anyone would like the way the goat does it, that's all.

To be fair, know what other domesticated animal has the "ratting slot"? Terriers. And they are good at it. Just look at a terrier and imagine the early proto dog... see what's changed... and then look down at the back lawn. Yup, full of holes.

I'm not saying it's bad. I'm just saying that's what they do. Busy busy boys and girls, every one of them.

If you want the job done quickly and quietly, I'm just saying you'd hire a cat.

And what else does the article assert?

Once in our houses, cats apparently began to train us to give them exactly what they wanted.

I'm not misquoting it. That's copied from the site. I mean, this has to be a joke, isn't it?

(Except, you know, cats do that.)

It's a feature, not a bug.

Cats are worth it. Yes, we do exactly what they want. The truth is out now!

Durn you, MSNBC! For using science to expose the cat's greatest secret.

Now more people will get cats.

See, here we go, doesn't this sound cute?

"She makes at least a dozen different sounds that are usually connected to a certain thing she wants me to do," Shaw says. "Combined with her body language, she can communicate to me everything she wants me to do and, of course, I do it."

Well, yes, of course Ms. Shaw is hypnotized. We all know it. We are happy to be hypnotized by cats.

But dogs do it too. They just don't get their all important secrets exposed on the web for everyone to catch wise to.

Durn dogs! They get the great public relations, and cats get:

So who has better coercion, er, communication skills — cats or dogs? [Dr.] Yin says it’s cats, paws down.

Fear the cats. Everyone fear the cats.

So, more scholarship anyone?

"In the case of cats and humans, cats are learning to do this [on their own] during their lifetimes rather than being selected to do it," says Karen McComb, lead author of the Current Biology study. "I would guess that humans are generally not too bothered about being manipulated."

Cats are really Dr. No, and Lex Luthor, and Catwoman! Who knew? (Really, I did know, but I didn't want to face it. I'll let a cat charm me into almost anything.)

Yes, we are putty in their paws because when we are nice to cats, then cats are nice to us.

Which seems pretty simple. Oh, when the cat is nice to us. It's just wonderful.

When we’ve gained the approval of a cat, [Abrams] says, it’s 100 percent the cat’s initiative. Call it the Sally Field syndrome: You like me! You really like me!

Good to have it confirmed, though. Sincere thanks to the scientists.

But what about the author of the article? I see the dimensions of the conspiracy now.

She shares her home in California with three Cavalier King Charles spaniels and one African ringneck parakeet.

I know the parakeet is behind it all.

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are sweet as can be, but they'll fall for anything.

Originally posted to WereBear on Sun Aug 02, 2009 at 05:25 AM PDT.

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