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Friday Fanglish Cat Slang: Words on Routines and Habits

Think you know what "sandstorm," "lockboxing," and "slide show" mean? Think again, human.

Angie Bailey  |  May 20th 2016


Greetings and salutations! It’s that special time of the week when we come together for a lesson in Fanglish — cat slang. If you’re reading this, you’re part of the inner circle of humans who are privy to the underground language spoken by the worldwide feline community when we’re not in their presence. It’s a secret language, and we must never allow our cats to know we’ve been let into that part of their world. They like to have a leg up on humans, you know.

On Fridays, a feline informant brings me a fresh list of Fanglish words and terms that I share with you. All he asks in return is a large bag of cat treats. He’s kind of a junkie and will do anything for his chicken treat fix. This is good news for us because we get an inside look at the elusive lexicon of cat slang.

This week, the theme of our Fanglish lesson is “routines and habits.” Cats like routine and, in many ways, are predictable in their behavior. Sometimes that behavior is a little on the quirky side. This isn’t surprising because if anyone’s quirky, it’s a cat.

So let’s get to it! Here’s this week’s list of cat slang.

1. Pawting the waters

Dipping a paw in water and then licking the water from the paw.

“Buzz and Mitzy drank straight from the bowl, but T-Bone enjoyed pawting the waters.”

2. Meal planning

Meal planning in action.

Meal planning in action.

Calculating the perfect time for sweeping in and stealing another cat’s food.

“Boris quickly finished his food, saw Lucy’s dish, and immediately began meal planning.”

3. Turner classic

The classic move of turning in circles before settling in for a nap.

“Harold finished his snack and then jumped on The Lady’s bed and went directly into a turner classic.”

4. Rushing attempt

An effort to use a litter box while a human is still filling it with fresh litter.

“French Fry was known for his rushing attempts most every time The Man cleaned the litter boxes.”

5. Catwalk

Star of the catwalk!

Star of the catwalk!

The pacing that happens while a human prepares a meal.

“Lou Lou’s catwalk was longer than usual because The Man had to take a phone call.”

6. Slide show

A paw sliding underneath a closed door.

“While she sat on the toilet, The Lady found herself watching a lively slide show.”

7. Night of the ’round table

An evening in which a cat circles around the human’s dinner table.

“When The Man planned his dinner party, he didn’t know it would be a night of the ’round table.”

8. Penpal

Cats are excellent penpals.

Cats are excellent penpals.

A cat who’s obsessed with pawing at writing instruments.

“Minnie, a longtime penpal, loved hanging out on The Lady’s desk.”

9. Tripping the light fantastic

Tripping a human, causing her to drop a basket of light-colored laundry, making it wonderfully fair game for a cat.

“Kali saw The Man walk down the hall with a load of laundry and felt the sudden urge to trip the light fantastic.”

10. Getting a priority upgrade

One never knows when a priority upgrade will happen.

One never knows when a priority upgrade will happen.

Sitting on top of whatever a human needs at that moment, making oneself the new priority.

“When The Man wouldn’t pet Tabby, she gave herself a priority upgrade by stretching across his laptop.”

11. Sandstorm

Litter that is fiercely kicked outside the litter box while a cat is covering up his “business.”

“The Lady had to sweep several times a day because Hector created a sandstorm each time he visited the litter box.”

12. Lockboxing

Post-lockboxing.

Post-lockboxing.

Fixating on any new box that enters the home.

“Daisy and Stripes saw The Man place a shoe box on the dining room table and began lockboxing.”

13. Wait bench

A bench situated by a door where a cat waits for a human to return home from an outing.

“It was nearly dinner time, so Lester and Foxy took their places on the wait bench.”

14. Cabinet of curiosities

An open cabinet full of interesting items that pique a cat’s curiosity.

“Atticus happened upon a cabinet of curiosities during The Lady’s spring cleaning.”

That’s it until next Friday, fellow Fanglish students. Come back then for another lesson, and remember — let’s keep all of this between us, okay? Our cats are always watching.