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5 Ways My Sneaky Cats Are Not as Sneaky as They Think

Our cats are naturally stealthy, but sometimes their ninja-like sneaking skills are total fails.

Angie Bailey  |  Oct 27th 2016


Cats are highly intelligent animals — no one can deny that. I’m often amazed at their brilliance in the empathy and problem-solving departments. Although my cats would probably outsmart me on Jeopardy!, they sometimes lack in one area that seems like an obvious feline attribute: sneakiness.

It’s not that they consistently fail where slyness is concerned — sometimes they’re complete sneaks right under my nose! My Phoebe has — in my presence — jacked earrings, french fries, and straws with masterful ninja skills. Other times they think they’re sneaky, but completely miss the mark. Here are five typical fails that happen in my house. See if you can relate. I think you can.

1. Counter strike

"Mission aborted! Also, I was never here."

“Mission aborted! Also, I was never here.”

Phoebe is fascinated with anything on a counter or table. She loves heights and is extraordinarily curious, so oftentimes she helps herself to an exploratory cruise. She knows she’s not allowed on such surfaces, so she tries to remain quiet about the whole thing, but exploration isn’t such a quiet business when it comes to Miss Pheebs. She seems to forget I can hear her nudging silverware or knocking over cups. The sounds she creates don’t give her any cause to jump off the counter. She’s in it to win it, man.

When I hear the telltale sounds and enter the room, she freezes in place. I’m thinking she believes she’s invisible at that very moment. When I say her name, she won’t look at me, but she does jump to the floor and acts aloof about what just occurred. Sneaks don’t need to admit anything, even if their sneakiness isn’t all that sneaky.

2. Hidey-NO

"Folks, this is what professional hiding looks like."

“Folks, this is what professional hiding looks like.”

Cats appear to possess great confidence in their hiding abilities. Sure, they can make themselves scarce — usually it’s around the time to leave for the vet or take a pill. Sometimes, however, they believe they’re out of sight, but, um, they’re kinda wrong. In my experience, it’s typically the tail that gives them away. They seem to forget that this long appendage is actually attached to the rest of their body. Or maybe they’re going with the “frozen in place” assumption of invisibility demonstrated on counter cruising expeditions.

3. This isn’t happening

phoebe-wastebasket

“La, la, la, la, la.”

Also as in counter cruising, any time cats are caught doing something they thought was on the down-low, they refuse to look at the human who busted them. If our eyes don’t meet, the event never happened and they remain super sneaky. This is a feline mind game that never works in their favor. Still, they regularly haul it out and expect our buy-in. In case you haven’t noticed, cats, in general, are masters at the mind game.

4. The slow sidle

phoebe-notebook

And just like magic …

It never fails — as soon as I need to devote my undivided attention to something, Cosmo or Phoebe gets all up in my business. That includes sitting on top of, or restricting, the work at hand. And moving a cat does no good because the feline responds with what I call the “slow sidle.” They don’t automatically jump in the middle of my project. Instead they slowly make their way there, thinking I won’t notice what they’re doing. They’re like the cat in the Ninja Cat video. Every time I look back at them, they’re a few inches closer to me until they’re finally on top on me again. Not so sneaky, sis.

5. Dishing it up

"You're out of your damn mind. I have ninja tongue."

“You’re out of your damn mind. I have ninja tongue.”

Don’t our cats know we can usually hear them licking dishes? Especially when there’s silverware attached to the dish or their licking pushes the dish around, sometimes ending with a loud smash onto the floor. They’re convinced they can score some snack time and no one will be the wiser. Maybe they know the odds are against them and the small amount of gravy, milk, or butter they’ll acquire is worth the risk? Who knows, but it’s still an absolute sneakiness fail.

How do your cats mistakenly think they’re sneaky?