Rob Abrazado (flatvurm) wrote,
Rob Abrazado
flatvurm

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Can you fight your nature

The cats here have a toy, though it's really only used by Sonya. It's basically a Weeble; it's a little hollow plastic Grimace-shaped figure with a hole basically where the ass is. You fill the inner hollow with cat treats, and when it is sufficiently batted around, a treat will probably get pooped out. I think it's supposed to be an alien, but I call it the TreatBot. Sonya is a weird one; she doesn't seem to really enjoy the wet food so much, so she mostly just eats treats. Sometimes she'll bother Tb enough that Tb will shake a pile out for her from the main container, but for the most part, she's encouraged to extract treats from the TreatBot.

I watched Sonya engage with the TreatBot for a time today. I don't think she's very bright, but she gets the general idea of the TreatBot. If she knocks it around enough, often there will be a treat waiting for her at some point. I say "often" because it's not a sure thing. Sometimes it will tip over the correct way, but owing to whatever chaos is happening in the treat collection, sometimes no treat will come out. But it happens often enough that she gets the gist of the activity, anyway. She'll sit there and smack the TreatBot around for a time, and whenever she discovers that a treat has been left behind, she stops and eats it. Then she'll go back to smacking the poor thing around again.

It occurred to me as I was watching that I'm pretty sure she doesn't understand the physics of the situation. Like...it seems clear that she doesn't get that if a treat doesn't appear, it may just take a little extra shaking to get one to come out; the whole process has to be repeated of standing the TreatBot up and batting it around again until it falls over. I started to wonder if she even understands the causality of what's happening. Does she know there's a difference between a random occurrence of a treat not being ejected vs. the state of the TreatBot running out of treats? Tb refills the TreatBot often while Sonya is sitting right there watching. Does Sonya resent that the treats are put in the 'Bot instead of just on the floor for her to eat? Does she have the capacity for abstract thought necessary to conceive of something like a "container"? Can she draw the analogy between the TreatBot and the larger container that the treats come in when purchased from the store? How about a container of treats vs. a container of wet food? Is she aware that the 'Bot is decorated and formed to resemble a human (or at least something similar to that)?

Whatever the case, as I sat there watching, apparently what ended that particular session of 'Bot-smashing and treat extraction was that she'd eaten too much and she sat there and vomited all over the floor. What the hell, man. The treats are so much trouble to get from the 'Bot. Why continue that maddening process if you're past the point where you can digest what you've eaten. Are they that delicious? Or is the hunt that compelling, perhaps? Or does she just not have sufficient awareness of the state of her body to realize she's eaten too much? Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be able to speak to animals, or at least understand them. Sometimes I want to be able to hear it right from her; what the hell were you thinking. Other times, though, I don't think that would really get me anywhere. Even if she had the capability to put those ideas into words that I could understand, sometimes I think I just wouldn't be satisfied by the answers.

Anyway.

Today I did chores and ran errands. I'm feeling especially run down tonight, but in that good way after I got things accomplished. I think I'm going to sleep well tonight.
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