Isn’t it every cat owner’s dream to make a funny cat video that goes viral on the internet? Alright, I admit it’s exploitative. But any person who shares their precious apartment space with a feline fur kid or two knows that exploitation works both ways. Like the ever more expensive cat food they turn their noses up at until you’re feeding them dolphin safe tuna with sweet chilli while you have the other half of the can on toast.
Trouble is, my cat is very camera conscious. On the rare occasion she does do something that makes me laugh, pointing the phone camera at her makes her immediately stop and act normal; either sit and stare in the opposite direction, or walk off with the tail up salute.
Of course, there would still be a market for this if that genius director of Henri, Le Chat Noir, hadn’t got there first. His brilliant pretentious French voice over and sub-titling of his sour faced puss is masterful and completely takes the online space for the cat that does nothing. It’s hilarious, but the cat isn’t doing the work. All we have to believe is that he is world weary and contemptuous. We do.
I guess the fact that mine is an only cat doesn’t help. The only person she has to interact with is me, and sure, we play with a couple of cat toys, but it’s just play, no crazy or endearing tumbles, backflips or arched- back leaps. Just normal cat behaviour, flattening ears wiggling her bum and pouncing. I should have called her Vanilla.
I can get her to chase reflections on the wall when the sun hits my phone at a certain angle. But then I’ve can’t film it because I have to have my phone screen tilted. Besides, two leaps at the light and she looks back at me as if to say “I know it’s you doing this, and frankly, you’re rubbish at it.” That’s me using a bit of anthropomorphism. Really, she’d be thinking in cat language. “Can’t kill, not really there. Boring. Sleep now.”
The one thing she does that is quite amusing is unusable for Youtube. It’s when she wants to do number 2 in her litter tray. This involves her doing frantic open cast mining, bentonite bits flying in all directions as she spins in dervish-like determination to dig through the bottom of the tray and into the flat downstairs. I mean, who wants to watch that at their desk on their morning coffee and TimTam break?
Don’t get me wrong. She’s a good cat. I like her. She likes me to the extent that she sometimes grooms my hair, which is in equal parts creepy and yukky. I don’t want cat dander in my hair so that I make people with cat allergies sneeze when I’m out. “Sorry, it’s me. My cat washes my hair for me.” That’s one guaranteed way to garner funny looks and be ushered to the front of the coffee queue.
She did do some funny things after I had most of her teeth taken out. The vet said she had an incurable gum disease. Left me with a terminal credit card debt but that aside, she did take a time to get used to having no side teeth. For the next few days she’d eat and then the food would simply fall out of the sides of her mouth around the bowl. She did look confused, as much as a cat can show any emotion. Now she has the hang of it and knocks back her dry food whole using the same eating action as a duck. Not funny.
I guess it doesn’t matter really. I can always laugh at other people’s cats on Youtube. I didn’t ask the lovely people at the RSPCA rescue place if she made them laugh. She’d been rescued once before and then returned by her rescuers as “being too much trouble”. Maybe she worked out that being a funny cat doesn’t work on everybody.