Forget About Herding

By Sean Carroll | February 25, 2010 3:01 pm

It’s walking cats that is truly problematic.

Feel free to construct your own similes. (Via Cynical-C.)

  • marc

    With the LHC supposedly starting (today? tomorrow?), it is obviously time for

  • Jerry Coyne

    HEY! DO NOT WANT! I haz teh monoplee on kitteh videoz on science wbsytes.

  • Sean

    Sorry, Jerry. We were featuring kitties back when WEIT was just a gleam in the blogger’s eye. Heck, our cat had a blog before she passed away. We’re talking years of tradition here.

  • Jerry Coyne

    O noes, I bin pwned by phisiks kitteh! Sry bout yer kitteh, srsly.

  • spyder

    “No longer hanging in there”

  • Claire C Smith

    Poor cat!


  • Low Math, Meekly Interacting

    Well, he/she handles the leash better than Pinky…

    And, marc, thanks for the link! LAWLZ!

  • JTHunter

    Maybe a low power cattle prod would get the cat off its lazy *#@&. Or, maybe it’s time for some “feline fricassee”! (LMAOROF)

  • Pingback: Cat Walking()

  • Bee

    :-) Reminds me of a friend who was walking his bunny. That worked quite well most of the time, but sometimes the bunny would just refuse to move a single inch further. (Not to mention that the bunny didn’t like pavement.)

  • marciepooh

    Love the video. It’s a good example of how cat’s can violate the laws of physics by changing density and/or volume to avoid doing things they don’ t want to do. (Ever try and pick up a normally 5lb cat who wants to stay put only to find it somehow weighs around 20lbs?)

    My oldest brother used to have a sheparding dog (a Briard, iirc); that dog was quite good at herding their cat. When the cat got tired of the game she’d hop up on some high piece of furniture. Funniest thing ever to watch.

  • Low Math, Meekly Interacting

    I’ve read that sheepdogs will herd your kids, too (the human variety, not the caprine). Maybe writers can have children if they have a collie.

  • Sili

    Our ferret wasn’t too hard walking. Out. When we were supposed to return home, he became a conscientious objector.

    Only walked my cat a coupla times to ensure he new the area – now he runs around on his own. Neighbours cat follows her to work, though.

  • John R Ramsden

    I saw someone walking a Siamese cat down the street in Bolton (a UK town) a few years ago on a lead, and the cat seemed to be doing fine until, as it seemed, he or she spotted me. Perhaps I was staring too intently, fascinated by the sight, but the cat seemed to lose its nerve and freeze.

    Some varieties of cats can be taken for walkies; but it doesn’t come naturally and, as my experience showed, they are easily spooked.

  • Greg McMahan

    This is why I love cats. If they don’t want to do something, they won’t do it.

  • Pingback: Caturday trifecta: head-percher, ice-fisher, and ninja kitty « Why Evolution Is True()

  • RantingNerd

    We have a cat who loves to go for walkies.

  • Dennis Towne

    I discovered accidentally some years ago that cats are extremely sensitive to things attached to them in terms of balance; based on my past experience, I’d say that the cat in the video hasn’t been properly acclimated to the harness yet.

    The harness is a restrictive, heavy thing (even if it seems light to us.) The cats I’ve had experience with generally take 15-30 minutes before they get used to something like a harness, and until they’re comfortable with it they’ll often just collapse back to the floor instead of try to walk with it on.

    Just like the cat in the video.

  • Steve Fentress

    Sean, this video was hard to watch. I don’t know the context and I’m not a veterinarian, but I wonder if the cat is feeling pain when putting weight on its hind legs – possibly because of impacted anal glands, a back problem, constipation, urinary tract problems, or kidney disease — all common with cats.

    I had two long-lived cats whose final illnesses increasingly impaired their ability to use their back ends for any of the normal functions.

    We missed you at the last KICP/planetarium/cosmology weekend in ’07.


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Cosmic Variance

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About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] .


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