Category Archives: Observations at the Institute

Work Breaks

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.

End of the Grooming Session


This morning in the Institute office, I noticed Socks giving Velvet a thorough grooming starting at her neck and proceeding across her back. Lick, lick, chew, lick.


I knew how this heavy grooming session would end, so I grabbed the camera.


Sure enough, Velvet soon indicated that she had had enough and gave Socks a swipe.


A boxing match ensued as Zippy watched.

A minute later all three study subjects resumed their office-break nap.

Zippy in Thought

The Directors of the Institute for Kitty Cat Research have observed that the study subject named Zippy (aka The Zipper and Zip) is a deep thinker. For instance, in this photo she is thinking about whether to pounce on Citikitty or to pounce on Socks, both of whom were napping within striking distance. Does she want to start a fight or a chase this morning?  Should she jump on Socks who likes a good wrestle or on Citikitty who will flee up the stairs and into the walk-in closet?

Zippy in deep thought.
Zippy in deep thought.

Zippy pondered the pros and cons for at least thirty seconds. Immediately after this photo was taken, she decided that a rousing fuss would be a good start for her day. She made a flying leap onto Socks’ sleeping form and a hissing tussle took place with paws swinging. In a flash, Socks and Citikitty ran up the stairs with Zippy in pursuit. It seems The Zipper’s strategic thoughts paid off and she got to enjoy both of her favorite forms of entertainment.

Navigating the kitchen cupboards

The directors of the Institute were concerned that our study subjects could not get from cupboard top to cupboard top without walking on the cabinet surfaces (a no-no on the food-preparation surface). To correct this situation, we nailed a board to  the cupboard tops to span the gap.

We had to put a treat midway on the board to lure the subjects across the new “highwire.”  Velvet and Socks were the only ones adventurous enough to walk across. Velvet likes to rest at the midpoint.

Velvet relaxes on KittyRun

Rebecca observing me

The Directors at the Institute are often observed by the very subjects they are committed to observing. For instance, I was cleaning a freshly applied hairball pukie from the carpet when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Rebecca staring at me while resting her head on the stair railing base. Coincidentally, the hairball happened to be the same orange color as Rebecca.

Rebecca On Stairwell

Long-stemmed Beauty

The study subjects at the Institute are superior to all other cats, yours included.  But the subjects, being sensitive to the feelings of lesser cats and their owners, do not like to be show-offs.

Yet, every once-in-a-while one of the superb study subjects does flaunt an outstanding feature. Zippy has exceptionally long legs and doesn’t mind showing a leg or two or three or four off.

Zippy extends a lovely, looong leg.