Sunday, February 6, 2011

Management Team, Part IV: Rameses (the Great)

This is Rameses (the Great).  His middle name, Enkidu, is in honor of his predecessor, Agamemnon Gilgamesh (or "Memnon") whom we lost back in 2005.  (You'd have to know your Sumerian epics to get it - time for a trip to Wikipedia!)  He joined us at just less than four months of age in June of 2005, about two months after Memnon left us.

Rameses is the most intelligent cat I've even known - and I've known quite a few cats in my time.  I heard somewhere that most cats will only memorize a couple of "routines" (dog people know them as "tricks"), partly because a cat will not learn something if it doesn't feel doing it is in its best interests.  "Training" a cat largely consists of reinforcing behaviors the cat already expresses.  In Rameses's case, he's memorized five or six routines, some of which he executes at the snap of my fingers.  He's figured out how to open the toaster oven and pull out the rack, so I can no longer store anything he might consider tasty in there.  (My friend Catherine very helpfully asks me from time to time if he's figured out how to get in the microwave; thankfully that has eluded him thus far.)  He knows what doorknobs are for and how they work and, if he had opposable thumbs, I'd be in for a world of hurt with this guy.  (There was one time when I think he did manage to open the bathroom door when he was done eating his breakfast but there hasn't been a repeat occurrence, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that was a fluke.)

I've also realized that Rameses has some self-esteem issues.  Even though I give him lots of positive reinforcement (because, honestly, he's very handsome and healthy and lets me give him belly rubs, which I really missed after Memnon passed - among many other things), he does seem to be a bit of a bully with his brother Alex and sister Princess Nur.  (NO ONE messes with Meli.)  So, I'm working on positive experiences and using some different techniques to correct his less than desirable behavioral traits, an approach with which we are seeing some modest success.

But he is handsome, and affectionate, and very social, and has a great sense of humor and is very intelligent - so I'll take the package on this one, too!

Other news - had a great time at the Detroit Garden Center's ("DGC") Winter Gardening Series.  With the support of the attendees, Black Cat Pottery will be able to donate more to support the DGC and its programs than ever before.  Remember:  Make a purchase from Black Cat Pottery between now and the end of March and mention the Winter Gardening Series and 10% of your purchase will go to support the  DGC and its programs.  Also - got the call from Chicago Botanic Garden - and I'm in for the Antique and Garden Show in April!  OMG - that's less than 10 weeks away!  I gotta get to work!

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