Monday, April 21, 2014
Toffee at Work: How Cats Learn
Toffeepot is here to demonstrate how cats learn by what I call "literary osmosis." When your cat lies down on your book, newspaper, or iPad, he is not simply doing it to annoy you — although that's certainly a bonus. Cats can absorb information through their fur. For example, Possum picked up much of his art historical, musical, and literary knowledge by sleeping on top of our bookshelves when he was still tiny enough to fit. He also knows a million recipes and a number of folk songs.
As you can see, Toffee is interested in learning about Indiana Authors and Their Books. But he is not all that interested. If he were really excited about this topic, he would have knocked my prized Huntley & Palmer's English biscuit tin (c. 1901) onto the floor and taken its place. The more real estate a cat occupies on top of his chosen publication, the faster and better the information can be absorbed.
So Toffee appears to be just casually dipping his paws into the subject of Indiana Authors and Their Books. (And who can blame him?) But here's a tip you can share with your own cats: Notice how Toffee has pressed himself against the top of the book, so he's touching all of the pages. This is another way to pick up information from the whole book at once. (This is a variation on Possum's method, which he obviously shared with his brother. It's a little slower, so they might as well have a nap.)
Toffee is soon going to be our local expert on Indiana Authors and Their Books. How nice this will be for Possum, Wendelina, Harris, and Lion. They will get to listen to him speak entertainingly on the subject for hours. I'm sure they are all eagerly looking forward to it.
Toffee loves to nap — but he is learning at the same time! If only this method worked for us humans.