How You and Your Cat Can Gang Up on Other People

Keith Kissel / Flickr

There is no love like cat love. When your cat gives up a slow blink, it is signaling that it is comfortable with you. At that point you have a chance to take the relationship to the next level — by using it to annoy other people.

You don’t need to play with a cat for long before you realize that its head will track any movement close to its face. You can sit on the floor, waving your hand back and forth, and the cat’s head will follow it. We’re all familiar with those cute GIFs where a basket full of kittens are waving their heads to and fro, in unison, in response to an off-camera hand.

The moment to exploit a cat’s head-tracking instinct is when you’re in a conversation with another human who says something incredibly boneheaded, like “don’t be depressed,” or “she had it coming,” or “Bernie woulda won.”

To set the stage, you and the bonehead should be facing one another with the cat off to the side. It helps if the cat is sitting a little closer to you.

You don’t have to say anything. Just wait for the stupid remark to slither out of your victim’s mouth, then rotate your head toward the cat.

Driven by irresistible instinct, the cat will rotate its head toward you.

Then you rotate your gaze back toward the bonehead. The cat’s gaze will inevitably follow.

It’s a way of saying “the cat and I both think you’re an idiot” without using words.

Whether or not the bonehead is cat-savvy enough to understand the head-tracking instinct, he will still feel deep down inside that he has said something ludicrous — and that he is being ridiculed not only by a fellow human, but by an animal.

A repetition will underscore the point perfectly. Additional repetitions may dilute the effect. If you really want to milk it, scratch your head after the last repetition.

The most satisfying use of the cat head-tracking trick — and don’t kid yourself, it is a cheap trick, the sort of thing only people like us would do — involves a cat owned by the person you’re belittling. He can’t help feeling that he’s being taken down a peg by his own cat. You can see it written all over his face: Et tu, Fluffy?

In one out of a thousand cases, the cat will unilaterally deliver the coup de grâce by starting to wash its face, which is what cats always do when they’re embarrassed and don’t know what else to do. This is a once-in-a-lifetime lucky stroke.

When it happens, savor your friend’s humiliation, even if he may not be a friend much longer.