While the owner is away, the pets do nothing all day

Linus and Pita hard at work.

Linus and Pita hard at work.

Two questions have plagued pet owners for ages. What does my pet do all day while I’m at work? And am I a bad person for leaving them alone? Let’s take care of the second and easier question first. Yes, you’re a terrible person who doesn’t deserve to live. As for the first, the answer could be anything. Maybe little Mr. Snuggie Poopikins McFuzzywuzzy sits anxiously by the door all day waiting for the sound of the key in the lock. Maybe he lunches in the park, playing dominoes and drinking 40s with all the other home-alone homies in the hood. Maybe he plots against you—the unsuspecting owner—for being such a terrible person. Wouldn’t you like to know?

Lucky for everyone, I have the time and wherewithal to explore this age-old question. After seven months of intense study in my pets’ natural habitat, funded by the state of New York and a genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation, I have the answer. Pets really don’t do much of anything at all.

Wifey and I have two cats—Linus and Pita—who served as my unknowing subjects. She adopted them ten years ago as three year olds and kept the names. Who knows why or what they mean? I did figure out a few months back that PITA is an acronym for “Pain In The Ass,” which is fitting. The cats are sisters and each a little small. Both are missing teeth and like to drool, barf, meow at nothing and lick plastic. If they weren’t cats, I’d swear they were junkies.

This morning—like most mornings—the cats got up with us. Linus slept on wifey’s pillow, snuggled up against her head. Who knows where Pita was? They spent the next hour following us around and meowing. Linus wanted to be let back in the bedroom; Pita was probably just confused from huffing pilot light gas fumes. Eventually they shut up and perched themselves on windowsills to watch our preparations for the day. When wifey left, the cats started back in with the meowing.

Pretty soon they got bored. Linus retired to wifey’s desk, nestled up against the warm modem and router, and Pita to the stove top, within sniffing distance of her drug of choice. I went about my business of being unemployed. Later in the morning, Pita decided it was time to rid herself of an unsightly fur ball. Usually they head straight for a carpet or the couch—someplace where real damage can be done. But this time she made her patented “goose choking” sound and let loose on the wood floor. I cleaned it up. Linus, not to be out done, responded in kind an hour later… twice. I cleaned that up too.

Around 1:00, I went to put on my shoes, so I could go get some lunch. Linus hurried over from the kitchen windowsill, meowing as she ran. I picked her up, scratched her stomach and put her down. When she tried to run away, I picked her up again, pretended she was flying and put her down. When she tried to run away again, I picked her up again and made her dance to the Depeche Mode song on the stereo. Pita slept on the couch, on her back, paws up in the air, killing time before her next fix. I returned about a half hour later to find Linus waiting at the door and Pita where I left her.

They slept away most of the afternoon, occasionally rising to switch locations. Pita likes to sleep on, in or under things like boxes and furniture. At one point she relocated to the paper J. Crew bag that wifey left out for just that purpose. Linus climbed up on the dining room table where I was working and fell asleep, head buried in her crotch and her crotch on a New York Times picture of Eminem. I suspect Animal Planet set up the stunt beforehand.

Late in the afternoon, Pita decided to do her vocal exercises—drugged-out diva that she is—right next to my chair but just out of reach. Meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow. When I finally got up to rip out her larynx, she scampered off, only to return a couple minutes later and continue. I asked her what the problem was, literally. She stopped, looked at me and walked away.

And that brings us up to this very moment. The cats are both off doing nothing, and I’m here typing. If I were in an office somewhere, they’d still be here doing nothing. They might vary it up with a quick skirmish, perhaps some staring at the wall or scratching the couch. Pita might even break into the cabinet under the sink to experiment with harder drugs… teenagers. But that’s about it. Seven months of intense study have led me to this startling conclusion. That’s some groundbreaking science. Just think what I could have accomplished in a proper work setting. So now, about the next installment of my genius grant…

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  1. Jay wrote:

    that was awesome. just awesome.

    Friday, June 5, 2009 at 11:14 am | Permalink
  2. Andrew wrote:

    Have you seen this!

    may be a good idea for a story

    Friday, June 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

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