Experiment: When friends gave the Institute a realistic wooden cat, the directors placed the sculpture on top of the new aquarium and waited for the study subjects to discover it. Would they think it was real?
Results: Velvet and Socks noticed it after their mid-day nap and crept across the tile floor toward the aquarium. Both meowed as if they were viewing birds teasing them outside the bedroom window. Velvet finally gathered the courage to hop on a nearby sofa and jump on the top. She nearly turned back but then edged closer to the intruder. When it didn’t move she sniffed it and then walked around the other side of it and assumed a similar position as if to see what the new cat was staring at.
The other cats at the Institute had similar reactions. After a day, the fake cat was totally ignored. However, the directors are occasionally startled by it when entering the room.
Experiment: Tried to see if we could use the hair we got from brushing our orangie, Rebecca, to make a Donald Trump hairdo.
Result: Before I could get a shot of a perfectly coiffed Trump Kitty, Velvet had the toupee between her paws. Oh well. Good experiment, though.
Socks and I were on a deadline yesterday and he became so overworked, he had to take a thirty-minute break during which I accommodated him.
I was tired of matching sock mates in my sock drawer. So I decided to tidy up the messy pile of socks. It took me at least half an hour to match each sock with its mate and lay them neatly in the drawer. Whites, blacks, blues, patterns and hose went in separate piles. Velvet and Socks watched from a distance. I was pleased they did not try to help as I was eager to get into bed. The next morning, I observed that one or more study subjects had been busy:
The Directors purchased supplies at Costco and brought home a new box. Testing began immediately to see if and how soon a study subject would examine the box.
Results of experiment: Within one minute Velvet was in the box! Amazing reaction!
The subjects at the Institute are not always involved in experiments. Yes, they work hard for the scientists observing them, but they enjoy many types of work breaks that serve to renew their vitality for the workday. The subjects take regular nap breaks, exercise breaks, laptime breaks, snack breaks, grooming breaks, and of course, their favorite type of breaks—breakfast and dinner breaks. The following video shows a typical nap break in the Institute office. Velvet, Socks, Rebecca, and Zippy are enjoying a long rest after rearranging papers on the desk.
We were eager to find out if any of the study subjects would use the new scratching post our friend gave us.
Results of experiment: Yes, the scratching arc is being used!
My arm is sore. Socks continues to bring back his favorite toy and I continue to give in and throw it for him. We have reached a record for one day—47 throws and fetches. He should be ready for a nap now. Oh, my aching arm!