Thumbs up!

I had some second thoughts about this morning’s post of Kaja as tech support. Not second thoughts in the sense of “that was a bad idea”, but in the sense of “would she really”? And I suspect that the answer is no, she wouldn’t. Kaja has a lot to say – that’s a family catch phrase, actually – and she loves telling people what to do, but following a support script and keeping to a call quota are going to be way outside her core competency list.

Realistically, her job options are limited, most notably by her lack of opposable thumbs. This is not a new idea by any means. For years our answering machine has mentioned that the cats can’t take a message because they don’t have opposable thumbs. We’ve also had a standing policy that any cat who can demonstrate the ability to use a fork and knife is welcome to join us at the table for dinner (no takers, yet, but I suspect Kokoro is working on it.) – we explain the policy to every new cat in the house, and it does seem to cut down on them jumping on the table during meals.

But I digress.

Nor are we the first people to toy with the notion. Cravendale*, a dairy in the UK have had a lot of fun with the idea. They did a great commercial based on the idea, then followed up with a whole series of “Thumbcat” videos.

* I’m not providing a link in accordance with my standing policy about linking to Flash-only sites – though I will note that they do have a decent mobile version.

But I got to thinking (I know, always dangerous), and it occurred to me that many of the “What if cats had thumbs” ideas out on the net ascribe way too many human traits to their thumbed cats. Let’s face it, even if cats had thumbs and could operate can-openers and screw-top containers, they would still prefer to have a human deliver dinner than to get it themselves.

So if Kaja did have thumbs, what jobs would be open to her?

Well, we can immediately rule out anything in customer service. No way is she going to admit that the customer is always right. Or even occasionally right.

I think we can also rule out musical performance. Most instruments would require more modification than just thumbs (her jaw is the wrong shape for reeds and her lips are entirely wrong for brasses. Claws and strings don’t mix. Her fingers are too short for keyboards. Maybe she could play the drums, but frankly she’s got no sense of rhythm. Keyboards? Well, maybe – I’ve certainly heard keyboardists with less sense of rhythm than she has – but claws clicking on the keys would likely drive her bandmates nuts. Vocals are more her speed, but (a) that doesn’t require thumbs and (b) there’s a limited market for sCat singing these days.

She could go into acting, but her unwillingness to let others put words in her mouth would limit her quite a bit. Improv comedy and Christopher Guest movies aren’t going to keep her in Kitty Krunchies.

Politics would appeal to her personality, but the grind of the campaign tour would turn her off quickly. I can’t see her even making it to the first debate.

Accountancy or any other profession involving numbers seems improbable at best. Given that she hasn’t figure out that transferring the contents of the food bowl into her stomach leaves nothing in the bowl, I suspect she has trouble with the concept of “zero”. Not what I’m looking for in the person doing my taxes.

Teaching? That might work, at least in jurisdictions that still allow teachers to administer corporal punishment to students. She’s a firm believer in the power of a slap upside the head to demand attention and obedience.

No, unless there’s a category of employment I’m not thinking of, her best bet is to become a CEO: make a few decisions that underlings will have to figure out how to implement, ignore federal regulations as being beneath her feline dignity, part ways with the company to pursue other interests, retire on her golden parachute, and let a human bring dinner to her.

3 thoughts on “Thumbs up!

  1. Cats with thumbs … no no no. Being such prima-donnas, i wouldn’t be surprise if they were offered the option they would refuse it for the same reason you mentions, they would have to do things for themselves. It does bring back memories of my “younger” years where I wanted to design a fluke/fins controlled robotic hand/arm and see what dolphins would do with them.


    • You’re probably right that cats would decline thumbs if offered. But that would have made for a really short post.

      I’d worry about giving dolphins hands. Not because I would be concerned about what they would do with them on their own, but what they would be required to use them for. There was an article in today’s newspaper about Navy-trained dolphins that locate mines. I have a sneaking suspicion that if the dolphins had hands, the Navy would be training them to recover the mines, rather than just locate them. (The cool part about the story, by the way, was that the dolphins had found a torpedo dating from the late 1800s. I hadn’t realized the technology went back that far.)


  2. Pingback: Beware the Cat! | Koi Scribblings

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