It’ll take me nine lives …

I understand that if the ratio of humans to cats is 1:1 then the humans are outnumbered. After years of trial & error I can get my head around that & deal with it, but it never ceases to amaze me how many things about living with our feline friends I’m still baffled by.

Case in point: cats who prefer pork products, specifically ham, to seafood products. WTH?!?! Are my cats so Southern that they instinctively know the joys that can be found in processed pig? There has to be something in the DNA somewhere that allows Coal, our adult male black shorthair to know the difference between hearing me open a pack of ham to fix a sandwich versus me opening a pack of, say, roast beef or baloney or anything else in similar packaging.

Don’t tell me that it’s the smell either. I don’t care if the ham is branded Plumrose or Wal-Mart, whether it’s Honey Ham, Boiled Ham, Cooked Ham, or simply Sliced Ham, the smell does NOT carry from the kitchen around the corner, up the stairs and into the bedroom in a matter of 5 seconds. It wouldn’t be that loud nor travel that quickly if it were six months out of date, much less brand new & sandwich ready. That’s an explanation that doesn’t come close to passing a sniff test.

But let me open that pack & here comes trouble, at full tilt & usually at increasing volume. It’s like hearing a furry black ambulance approaching, mmmrrrrwWWWLLLLLL!! And Lord help me if I try to finish making the sandwich before parceling out a single slice between his bowl & little Vivi’s, I’d be picking myself up off the floor in short order, he’s a master of the between-your-ankles-and-on-your-feet takedown technique. Yesterday the conflict escalated further, as now little kitten Reese has allied himself with their cause & demands his own slice of piggy goodness as well.

So now you’ve got the picture … but there’s still no rational explanation I can find for his ability to identify ham from a distance. No, it’s not the sound of the package opening, I’ve opened identical packages containing other meats, barely a flicker of interest & certainly nothing like the stampede that ham causes. No, it isn’t sight, he’s usually not even in the room or on the same floor of the house.

Maybe it’s just another of those mysteries that everyone who has shared a house with a cat is familiar with. The relationship between their desire to be in your lap & your need to go to the bathroom. Their ability to identify which section of a Sunday paper you want to read next in order to sit on it & practice their talent for hindering. The discipline required to ignore a new toy in inverse proportion to how sure you were that they would love it. The list goes on & on but I don’t know that there’s anything that’s ever confounded me more than this one.

Maybe it’s time I gave up ham & switched to tuna salad. At least then I’d understand why I was getting bum rushed just for trying to have a bite of lunch.

**Footnote: to avoid being hung, drawn, and quartered by my fellow cat lovers, let me make it clear that with the exception of canned tuna (which has been approved as a 1x-2x a week treat in small quantities by multiple vets), people food is NOT a staple of any of our kitty diets. The ham is dispensed as a single thin slice split between them, amounts to a few slivers each. They don’t get seconds and I don’t eat THAT many ham sandwiches.

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