Cat Prints

By Tina Blue
June 22, 2007

Whenever I print something from my computer, I have to keep shoving my cats away from the printer. My two younger ones especially--Paris, 2 ½ years old, and Tango, 2 years old--will stand by the printer and try to reach in to grab the paper as it moves into or out of the roller.

If they manage to get their furry little paws involved, the printer sometimes jams, of course, so I am always moving them away from there when I print.

Tango isn't too much of a problem, because it is Paris who usually monopolizes the computer desk to demand my attention when I am working, so she is always right there when I try to print something. She is also much more relentless than Tango, who is a bit timid. If you remove Tango from a place or a thing, she goes off to do something else. So in addition to being by the printer less often when I want to print something, Tango is also willing to take no for an answer, despite her initial attempts to get her paws in there when she hears the sound of the printer starting to work.

But Paris is quite single-minded. Once she has decided to be somewhere or do something, she is not willing to be prevented or distracted. I have to keep taking her down from the computer desk the entire time I am printing. If a print job runs several pages, it can be a real battle of wills.

Although I am severely hearing impaired, my printer is noisy enough that I can hear it quite well when it prints.  I can even hear it from across the room, which is more than I can say for most other things in my daily life.

So imagine my surprise when I was awakened the other morning by the sound of my printer working away. At first I assumed I must be dreaming or hearing some noise from outside my window, so I simply rolled over and went back to sleep. But the noise didn't stop, and it sure sounded like my printer.

Finally I sat up in bed and rubbed the sleep out of my eyes. As soon as I was awake enough to focus, I saw where the sound was coming from. Paris was sitting on the computer desk next to the printer, sticking her paw in after the page that was coming off the roller. As soon as that page stopped, she stood up and pressed her paw on the print button, so that she could paw playfully at another page as it went through the roller.

I got up and took her down from the desk (though not before she managed to hit the print button one more time), and then I counted her "print job." What a busy little cat! She had pressed that button six times!

Uh-oh, I thought. I knew it was just a lucky coincidence the first time, because occasionally she or Tango has accidentally activated the printer while walking across it. (That often happens when they walk across my clock radio, too.) But she did not accidentally press the print button by walking across it six times in a row. In fact, I had watched her deliberately press that button twice. After six times, she had done it often enough for it to be a true learned action.

The next morning, I awoke again to the sound of the printer hard at work. Yep, Paris was at it again. Three pages by the time I woke up to the sound.

Now I have to remember to turn off the machine entirely before I go to bed every night. Each time I forget, I wake up the next morning to the sound of Paris, printing away.*

*My sister Linda had a cat that learned to turn the light switch in her bedroom on and off--which Linda discovered while lying in bed reading one night. Her light kept going on and off, and at first she assumed it was a bad connection or a bulb that needed changing. She rolled over to get out of bed in order to fix the problem, only to spy her cat sitting on a dresser, playing with the light switch.