What if pets had thumbs?

We’re not in the midst of what I call the ‘silly season’ the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, where people are gearing up to celebrate the holiday, and spending an inordinate amount of money both at the grocery store and either online or at retailers to make their holiday as festive as possible.  Granted, with COVID still being a problem (and seemingly getting worse by the day) we all could use a little light-heartedness every now and again to lift our spirits.

Me, I’ve always wondered what my cat would do if his thumbs were opposable.  He’s the product of barn cats that my co-worker’s parent’s had in their barn, and while he does happen to have thumbs, he can’t use them.  Apparently, someone else had a similar thought and penned a blog post about it several years ago.  I read it recently and thought it worth both linking and reposting here.  Enjoy!


What If Pets Had Thumbs?

What if cats had thumbs?

Believe it or not, some cats do have “thumbs”! Cats with extra toes and fingers are called polydactyl cats, and sometimes an extra finger can look just like a thumb. This genetic mutation is generally harmless, and cats can’t use this “thumb” in the same way that we do. So what if cats had thumbs they could use? Here’s what I’d like cats to use their thumbs for, and what they’d actually do with them.

What I’d like cats to use thumbs for:

  • Clean their litter box. An opposable thumb would allow cats to grasp the litter scoop, carry the pan and sweep the floor. Scratch that idea. Let them flush the toilet.
  • Food prep and measurements. It takes a thumb to slice and dice and grasp a measuring cup or dispense food. Of course, I’d have to mark the cup and verify they didn’t double-dip. On second thought, this might not be such a good idea. Then again, celebrity cat chefs would be pretty awesome.
  • Walk my dogs. I know this sounds far-fetched and probably wouldn’t work in every furry family, but my dogs revere and respect my cats. So much that I believe if Itty Bitty Kitty (that’s her real name) could carry a leash, she could tag-team safe, responsible walks. The dogs would oblige Bitty Kitty and prance alongside at a sensible pace. That’s something I’d love to see.
  • Take selfies. Cats love to admire their regal selves. Give them a thumb and you’ll get more selfies than a Kardashian. Better increase your data plan.

What cats would use thumbs for:

  • Comb their fur. A thumb is a foundation for combing. No more waiting for lazy humans to stroke their luscious locks.
  • Program supercomputers; take over the planet. Forget Artificial Intelligence and aliens conquering our species, this is humanity’s true threat. If you see cats sprouting thumbs, better head for the hills.
  • Hitchhike. I see a world with millions of cats thumbing for rides, causing congestions and highway havoc, heading for nature parks. That is until cats program cars and robots to transport them around town.
  • Pinch people. That takes the risks of being a veterinarian to new levels. Ouch.
  • Open cat scratch services and kneading parlors. If they can’t program robots, they’d start making money performing these high-demand feline services on each other.
  • Rate movies and food. Thumbs up or down. It’s a big deal. Six-toed cats would be in high demand as celebrated critics. Four-thumbs up is twice as good as two.
girl using phone with dog

What if dogs could text?

I can’t disregard dogs during this thumb festival. If dogs had thumbs, they could text. Duh. The real question is, what would they text you?

  • First of all, I don’t think dogs would type much. They’d rely heavily on emojis.
  • Second of all, I suspect their syntax would be awful. Think Yoda mixed with Dug from Up. I’d constantly be seeking philosophical insights from my pet’s poorly phrased posts. Emojis.
  • I think dogs would primarily text nouns and love words. And heart emojis.
  • You’d be constantly interrupted at work with questions such as: Where are you? When will you be home? Is it time for you to come home yet? Are you here yet? Are you almost here yet? You know, emojis are better.
  • The real danger is if my dogs learned to text restaurant deliveries. I’d be broke and they’d be fat. Penniless and plump is not how I want to go out. Hide your phones.

Every now and then, it’s good fun to let your mind wander and explore outlandish ideas, like what if cats and dogs had opposable thumbs? Share your own musings in the comments below! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go examine my cats for any suspicious articulations. The fate of our species depends on it.

Posted
Mar 9, 2016
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Pet Health

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Rediscovered Family History

My wife and I are in the process of cleaning the house.  Granted, it’s a 20 years process, starting when we moved into the house back in November of 2000, but it’s an ongoing thing.  Recently, I took it upon myself to work on clearing out the garage, going through the boxes that have been sitting there for the better part of those 20 years, intending to rearrange the space on the sides for better storage since it is just a one-car garage. There are multiple yard machines and other equipment that need to be stored there and the car.  During the summer, the car sits outside, and the inside of the garage clutters up.  Usually, come winter, everything is piled to the sides, and I squeeze the car in.  This year I wanted to do it differently.

In going through the various boxes, I found one that was chock full of black and white photos.  I didn’t recognize the ones on the top, so I figured the whole box was probably from my in-law’s house, so I brought it in and told my wife she needed to look through them, as she probably hadn’t seen them in better than the 20 years.  The box sat in the house for a couple of weeks untouched.  The day before yesterday, she brought me a smaller box with an even smaller photo album on top that said quite whimsically, “Grandma’s Brag Book.”  I opened it up, and the first photo was of a baby with dark hair.  Definitely not me!  I had blonde hair up until age 7.  It was a baby picture of my brother.

1967, 1 year 9 mos

Several pictures in was a shot of me when I was 21 months old.  I was a happy kid when this picture was taken!   Sadly, none of the other pictures are of me; they’re of my brother.  But even so, the box of pictures had a lot of memories in them, places my father had been during World War II when he served in the US Army in Okinawa.

My father, standing outside his quarters in Okinawa c. 1945

I had never seen pictures of him in his Army uniform, though I was aware through his discharge papers (which I still have) that he made sergeant before he returned to civilian life in 1946.  A good number of the pictures I don’t recognize anything in them and only some of them have captions on the back.  Seeing as hundreds of WWII veterans are dying on any given day, it’s remote that any of the people in the pictures are still alive, or they don’t have copies of the pictures that I now have in my possession.

My other issue is what to do with the family pictures going forward?  Seeing as my wife and I decided not to have children, I really don’t have anyone to pass them down to that they would mean anything.  My father’s siblings didn’t have children, so there aren’t any cousins I could bequeath my pictures to.  Sending them to a historical society was a thought. Again, none of my family was either famous or historically significant, so it would just be a pile of pictures of people that no one would recognize.

I wonder what others do with their family pictures when there’s no one left to inherit them?

One Down, One to Go

Ah, Thanksgiving is finally here. Unlike the masses that shop in the store I work at, I’m thankful the holiday is here, rather than it’s still in the offing, so we can get past it and on to the last holiday of the year, and be done with 2020, as well as the ‘silly season’.

I suppose in a way it’s a symptom of getting older.  The more years I put on, the less I’m up for all the pomp and circumstances of the holidays, and more interested in getting them over and done with and behind me.  Christmas I suppose is pretty much the only holiday that I’m ok with tolerating, because it has elements that to me are enjoyable still and I can revel in, to some extent.  The music, some of the pagentry, the decorations (as long as they don’t get too ostentatious) and the memories things invoke, are more tolerable to me than the trappings of Thanksgiving.  To me, Thanksgiving reminds me of the year my mother died, and how that situation invariably ruined the holiday for me.

Too, the whole bastardization of the holiday is sort of off-putting, given how it was created in the first place.  Commercialization does have a way of making things less palatable, or perhaps dumbed down for the people that wish to have it simple, rather than understanding how it all began.  Thanksgiving was a holiday to allow people in the 19th century to be appreciative of what they had, to hearken back to a time when things were perhaps more dire and remember that there had been much progress in the 200 years since the pre-beginning of the US.  

Abraham Lincoln was the President that cemented the last Thursday of November as the ‘official’ Thanksgiving, in a time when there was a Civil War (hardly civil in many respects) raging in the southern part of the divided country.   There had been other days of ‘Thanksgiving’ or of memorializing the concept of being thankful for what the country had, or the citizenry of same possessed, or ‘had’ at that time.  With the unrest and armies mowing down each other en masse, it was necessary to refocus, or redirect the citizens into something peaceful, something to take away the horrors of the war that was tearing the country asunder.

Today, it’s all about retail.  Buying the right turkey at a reduced price, having to purchase the trappings to go along with it (gotta have that dressing, cranberry and pumpkin pie, right?) or if you’re less traditional, getting a ham or rib roast, and all the other sundries that go along with those menu choices.  Even this year, with people not traveling as much due to the pandemic, having to stay home unexpectedly, dragging out cookware that hasn’t been used in years, since they traditionally haven’t been home for the holiday.  I saw a lot of that this year, along with people asking about how to cook things that they like, but have no idea how to actually prepare it themselves. (I had a gentleman who stated he loved prime rib roast, he has it often, but when I got him the size he wanted for him and his wife, just before I turned away, he stopped me and asked how to cook it.  Fortunately, this wasn’t the first time this has happened, so I gave him a basic recipe that I’d seen on Foodwishes.com along with a handout that we have in the department for people that need a little assistance with cooking roasts and so on.)  Apparently not everyone either has an Internet connection or knows how to navigate it to find more than silly cat videos.

My wife and I, we’re celebrating subdued.  I have the day off from work (thank you!) so I don’t have to deal with the brouhaha there on the holiday.  Granted I’ll be working tomorrow for the aftermath, where we’ll be marking down the turkeys that we still have (the fresh ones, the frozen, or partially thawed ones go back in the freezer) and making the department look presentable after having been run from one end to the other for the past two days.  We’re getting a few holiday dinners from a place near us that does catering, the woman has been trying to make her business work with the pandemic, and people not needing catering for events that they cannot host due to restrictions on people gathering together.  You really have to feel for people who had planned for beginning businesses like that, and support them however possible.  So instead of cooking something ourselves, we’re picking up the dinners at 1 this afternoon, storing them in the fridge and having our holiday dinner this evening.  I’m roasting a butternut squash to go with the traditional meal we’re getting, just an addition that my wife and I both like.  Dessert is included, so we don’t have to worry about creating a huge mess in our galley kitchen.  No muss, no fuss and we can have a relaxed evening after.  

So, one holiday down, one to go.  If you made it this far, sorry (not sorry) for the rant.  I hope you and yours have a great holiday.  Enjoy the time you can spend together, if you can use Zoom, Skype or FaceTime (or Google Duo) to connect with your far flung off family, take time to do so.  Which reminds me, I need to FaceTime with my Mom. 

Happy Thanksgiving, 2020.