Family Fun for May: Cats!

TonyHeadIt is May, and even in Michigan spring seems finally to have taken hold. This has made everyone in our house very happy, including the tribe of resident cats. Sitting in a sunny window is much more fun when the window isn’t the temperature of an icicle. In their honor, this month’s family fun activities are all about cats.

1. Cats love to play. While at times nothing can be quite as amusing as water trickling into the sink, sometimes cats need entertainment. The ASPCA has hints to avoid kitty boredom. TonysinkSee what you can add to the list. What kinds of cat games would build on their natural joy in stalking and pouncing? Or perhaps you’d like to take a field trip to a local pet store and examine the cat toys there. Surely you can invent a new one!

2. Or maybe you’d like to make some cat food? You could make healthy food for a real cat (no endorsement here, I’ve never tried it), or a healthy orange cat sculpture for people. Or strangest of all, read about a Japanese restaurant that serves (presumably delicious) human food designedorange-cat-made-of-orange-found-on-facebook to look like cat food. I don’t think this is a spoof, but it is hard to tell. You might design something similarly delicious for your family. (If you do, I really hope you’ll send a photo!)

3. Did you know that ancient Egyptians so venerated cats that they frequently mummified them? You might want to learn about the importance of cats in ancient Egyptian culture. While mummification is not what I’d want for our much-loved animals, you can experiment with mummifying a chicken (really!)–or even a mouse–using the recipes here. Should your cat present you with a mouse, that seems a fitting burial.

4. Why do cats meow and purr? Listen to the answer here. One of the most interesting aspects of this short piece, from Science Netlinks, is the description of different types of meows. If you have a cat, try cataloguing the different types of meows you hear. Can you discern the differentNinaincupboard meanings? This is precisely how scientists study animal languages. We notice that different cats in our household use their voices differently, and some have many more kinds of sounds than others—at least to our ears. How about yours?

5. Cats also are the subject of art and literature. Cat poetry ranges from the lovely to  the delightfully ridiculous.–in this case presumably written by the cats themselves. You could write either. My favorite website of cat art is totally fictional but a lot of fun. Great Artists’ Mews inserts cats into fine art from various eras, conveniently organized by era. Want to see Mona Lisa holding a cat, or a faux-Dutch still life of a cat holding a lobster? This is the place. Great Artists’ Mews could be a springboard into either the study of the actual fine art on which the cat-paintings are based or the creation of new cat mash-ups. Just a few Photoshop skills could allow you to insert cats in all manner of photos. I’d love to see how they turn out!


Bonus Activity: See how many things you can do with cat hair. If you have a cat, you know you have plenty.

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