How to keep human beings as pets

Timian the Cat SupremeBy Aviana PK guest writer Timian

There has been some discussions in cat circles lately on the benefits of keeping human beings as pets. Some cats have argued that to much work is involved, and that humans impede their freedom. Others say that human beings are useful because they work hard and are in general easy to train and keep clean.

I definitely belong to the latter group. And speak out of experience, having kept two human beings as pets since the fall of last year.

Per and Susanne are friendly creatures, they show strong affection towards me and my sister Basilikum and are in general good at performing the tasks required of them (the provision of food, litter box cleaning etc.).

If I have any complaint it must be that it is hard to get them to understand the concept of quality food. I am sure the dry pellets are good for my fur, but they taste like cardboard!

Anyway, I believe it would benefit some of my fellow cats if a shared my man keeping rules with them.

1. Be strict and consistent

Human beings are simple creatures and their instincts may drive them towards trying to restrict you freedom of movement. They may, for instance, try to stop you from walking on tables, scratching furniture and eating plants.

In my experience the proper response is be gentle, but strict. Make it totally clear that this is your preserve and that you decide. If you are persistent long enough, the human beings will give in.

Give them a hug when they give in. You can get a long way with some positive conditioning!

2. Communicate in a transparent manner

My human pets have clearly been around cats before, as they do — for instance — understand that narrow eyes signify a sense of satisfaction.

In other ways, however, they are totally inept at normal communication, which proves, in my opinion, that the human intelligence is not well developed. They are brighter than dogs, but then again, what animal isn’t?

They do, for instance, not understand that it is impolite not to sniff a behind when presented to them. On the other hand, I accept the explanation given by my sister Basilikum for the fact that they do not raise their own tails: The poor creatures do not have tails, and their unfortunate lack of fur forces them to cover their behinds in artificial skins.

Some philosophers have argued that human beings have a underdeveloped body language and a weak sense of smell because they are using sound for communication instead — very much in the same way as birds.

However, recent research goes against this theory. Hence Felix the Magnificent believes that their chattering is just a form of auditory grooming. He correctly points out that not one of the intelligent species we know of (cats, lions, leopards, pumas, lynx and tigers) make active use of noise for advanced communication, except for reining in kittens, warning enemies or attracting mates.

Hence restrict your communication to bodily contact.

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The Amazon knows me

The Amazon knows me. She understands me, because she send me all these wonderful gifts wrapped i brown recycled cardboard: books, CDs and DVD boxes.

She has a perfect understanding of my taste.

She knows that I listen to electronica, and not to folk rock. She knows that I read a lot of science fiction. She knows everything about American high quality cable TV and even managed to send me the DVD boxes of the British TV series Life on Mars I like so much.

It must be love.

My wife is not jealous, though. She laughs and says that it is no wonder that the Amazon sends me all these gifts. I have, after all, given her my credit card information. She can be so cynical, my wife.

Tor Johnsen’s 17th of May

One personal that definitely has embraced the nature of the Web is our good friend Tor Johnsen.

Last autumn he started the blog Enjoy Food and Travel, which now boasts some 500 posts on — well, yes — food and travel.

These contains musings, reviews and recipes that will warm the hearts of anyone who loves life. Those of us who knows him personally, however, may also read about the meals we have been served after the party.

We celebrated the Norwegian national holiday with him, and this is what we got! Great stuff…

(By the way, Tor may also blog about the meals we serve him!)

Summer of 2006

My wife Susanne has made a slide show of pictures from our holiday in Spain last year and uploaded it to her own Vox blog.

Catalonia is a great place for experiencing art, food and Catalan culture. However, if you want to combine such experiences with a beach holiday, stay away from Lloret del Mar and most of the other concrete tourist traps found along the coast. Some of them are veeeery ugly.

“Our” town, however, Tossa de Mar, has kept many of its original buildings, and remains a beautiful fisherman’s village. There is even an old medieval city centre.

We have also a photo collection from Tossa online.

Welcome to PK at aviana.com

Aviana.com has now been up and running since 1998, which in Internet terms is an eternity.

Together with my wife, Susanne, I have been publishing search engine news over at Pandia since 1999, and is no stranger to blogging.

Still, I have never had my own personal blog, but here it is.

I am going to use Aviana PK for publishing thoughts and ideas that do not fit into the framework of Pandia. Topics that will be covered are research and innovation policy, science, music, the history of ideas and whatever I am working on at the time.

I — i.e. Per Koch — am currently working as Director of Analysis and Strategy Development at the Research Council of Norway.

I have been actively involved in Norwegian (and European) research and innovation policy development since 1990, having worked in what was then the Norwegian Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs, the research institute STEP (later NIFU STEP) and now the RCN.

I have a background from the History of Ideas and is interested in everything that covers human creativity and innovation.

For more personal information, see my home page.