By Mark Crocker
Manners are important to us chosen ones.
Humans I understand also have what they call manners too. But chosen one’s manners are much higher and more evolved than human manners. I have watched humans for a long time now and I have learnt much about their manners. They consider good manners to be shaking hands when they meet. This I think is a greeting of some kind that humans do when they are meeting for the first time.
Then there is humans saying “good morning” to each other. If you ask me there is something wrong there. Are they asking the other human if they are having a good morning? Or are they wishing the other human good morning or are they saying “it’s a good morning” I just can’t figure that one out.
Humans are so confusing. But us chosen ones are just as bad about having one word that will mean many things.
But manners are very important and not just to you humans. We chosen ones have manners too as I have just said.
So what I am going to do is explain chosen ones manners and compare them with human manners.
I just covered the standard morning greeting and the same can apply to the human greeting of “good afternoon” and again I just don’t get that?
Now we chosen ones have a couple of greetings that are like you human “good morning” or good afternoon”.
When humans come back to our place of living after having been away for a long time we chosen ones will come to the door to greet them.
Humans believe it’s because we are pleased to see them or that we are excited that they have returned after leaving us alone for a long period of time.
Well this is not the case really as normally we have been napping or playing and have been just too busy to notice that our human or humans has been gone.
No the truth is that we are coming to greet them because that is good manners. And good manners as I have said is very important to us chosen ones.
So the next time one of you humans has been away and returns to you place of living watch carefully as we come to greet you.
You will notice a couple of things about how we greet you.
Let me explain so that you will be able to spot and understand what I mean.
When we come to the door we might be running or walking slowly. It does not matter if we are walking or running. What does matter is how our tails are pointed. If our tail is pointed straight up this means that we are glad you are back and we want to know why you were gone so long.
But be careful petting us chosen ones at this point as if we are not pleased to see you or we have been worried about you or we were scared that something had happened to you or that you might never be coming back the we might do something bad. How upset we are depends on what will happen. At the very least you will get a telling off or a tongue lashing.
Now if our tails are pointed up but the tip is pointing towards you that means we are pleased to see you and you can pet us and make a fuss of us. You better make a fuss of us or our mood could change and well you know what happens.
Tail angles and the way we hold it tells you a lot about or moods and is used to express manners such as please and thank you. So you need to watch our tails carefully.
You know that when we thrash our tails wildly it means that we are either upset or very playful. But did you know that the slow thrashing of our tails is also a sign that we are happy?
Ok moving along.
I have mentioned greetings now I am going to mention a couple of other things that we use as a way of expressing good manners. This is being very polite and we use it in a couple of different ways. The first way is again as a greeting but normally used when we are relaxed and are feeling happy.
I am going to tell you how to use it and when to use it with your chosen one.
Ok this is when and how.
You have been busy and have been ignoring us chosen ones. We are relaxing on the back of a long sitting thing or stretched out in a sun spot on the window sill.
You walk up to one of us chosen ones and you almost close your eyes and slightly turn your head and lower your chin all in one movement.
Now before you do that to one of us chosen ones I suggest you go to your looking thing in your human cleaning room and practice in the looking thing. Because if you do it wrong it can be taken as being rude.
Ok let’s go over it so you know clearly what to do.
Almost close your eyes so your cheeks puff up a little but not too much. Then slowly turn your head a little but not too far as again this could be considered rude if you turn your head too far. While lowering your head, turn and point your chin down. This is all one movement.
Now having practiced this walk up to your chosen one and try it.
Your chosen one might be surprised when you do it the first few times. But if you have it just right your chosen one will do the same thing back to you.
But be warned if you do it too fast and turn your chin and lower your head too far you might have an upset chosen one on your hands.
The reason is if you turn your head too far and close your eyes too much it’s very rude and is like saying “you are nothing”. The reason it is considered rude is that with your eyes closed you can’t see us and turning your head too far makes that even worse. By not seeing us it is like we are not there and we are not a threat to you. So do it slowly don’t close your eyes all the way and don’t turn your head too far.
Now the second use of the almost closing your eyes and the head turn is when it is used as a thank you.
This is normally after making a fuss of us when lying down or when you have put fresh water or food in our bowls.
It may take a few tries to get it right and even a few more before we respond. The reason is that your chosen one will be surprised by how good your manners have become and they might be in a state of shock and disbelief that you are being so polite to them. But once they have seen you being polite then they will be just as polite back and you will find that you and your chosen one will get on better than you have done in the past. Which is all for the better for you and us chosen ones.
Now to the next one.
This is a head nod and a sniff of the air. No we are not sniffing the air to say how good it smells or how bad it smells. Well we might be if we are outside. But no. When we sniff the air and you are close this means that we can smell you and that you smell good and healthy. Now while I am on the topic of smelling good and healthy I want you to understand that we can smell when there is something wrong with you. Let’s say you have something wrong with your skin. Something dread and nasty like a cancer. We can smell it even before it becomes visible and if you listen to us normally it’s before it gets bad and can be taken care of by your human vets. So listen to us when we start sniffing you and if we seem to focus on your arm, leg, or hand it could be that something is wrong.
You see we want you healthy after all you do things for us and making sure you are healthy is important to us.
Also if we sniff you breathe and get a disgusted look on our face that means we might be smelling more than just bad breath. You human breath changes with your health and as we have a very good sense of smell we can smell the smallest of changes in your breath. So when there is a change we know. So please listen to us as we want to help keep you healthy.
Now back to the sniff and head nod. Not only do we use it to make sure you are healthy we also use it to as a way of making sure things are safe. Plus it looks good too. But being safe is important as there are things that are bigger than us that like to invite us to dinner as the main course, or smaller than us that if we get bitten by them can make us sick or even kill us and we don’t want that. Or there might be some strange person near by that might want to harm us or worse harm you and we can’t have that. And looking out for you is good manners.
So when we sniff and do the head nod there are a number of reasons why we do that and some is to do with manners as I just stated but others is about your health and well being.
Next is that gentle paw on your arm, hand, face or other body part.
The gentle paw touching you has many meanings and most of them are about manners. Such as “thank you” or “are you doing well” or “I am here for you” or “are you ok” or “Thank you for being so kind to me”. I could go on and on but you get the idea.
This one simple act has so many meanings. But you can tell which is which by looking at us and seeing what we do.
Now let’s say I hop up next to my human and I sit next to him and I reach out my paw and touch gentle I am saying “Thank you”. But if I am lying down and I reach out with the paw and just barely touch I am asking “are you ok”? Now let’s say I am sitting again and I reach out and touch with that paw again but my ears coming forward I am saying “I am here for you”. Now if I tilt my head while doing that it means “Are you doing well”?
You have to watch out body closely as we say just as much with our body as you do with your face.
In fact I could go into great detail about body language and write many, many pages just on that topic on its own. But typing hurts my paws as I have to use my claws because I don’t have long fingers like you humans do and I don’t have thumbs.
But body language is something that you need to watch as we can communicate so much better if you learn how to read what we are tell you from how we move or how we hold our tail on the way we move our head. But as I said I could write so much about that. But right now we are working on manners.
Ok now let’s look at the sounds we make when answering you.
You might have noticed that sometimes when you ask us something we will answer and make a sound but not always.
Let’s say you ask us “How are you today She who must be obeyed”. I might either cock my head to one side and look at you or I might say “mew” which means “fine” But don’t confuse “meW” with “mew” that sounds almost but not quiet the same. Listen and you will hear that they are in fact different. As stated “mew” means “fine” but “meW” means “what”. Yes I know they are spelt the same way but you have to listen as you can’t put tone into words. But I have tried by making the “W” or meW bigger so that you can see what you have to listen for.
Sometimes its easy for you to understand what we are saying. A loud “MEOW” and you know what I am saying. But a soft “meow”.
Now “phew” is a please. But “Phew” is a “no”. I am still talking about manners. Now if we put “Phew” and “mew” together as we do you get “Phewmew” which means? Come on you are smart? What does it mean? So?
It means “no fine” which translates to “no good” or “not good”. So if you ask us “How are you to day She who must be obeyed” and I answer “Phewmew” you know what I am saying. Now if I add in tilting my head to make the point you know that I am not good.
The whole thing about is that we keep them simple for you. The downside is that keeping them simple you sometimes don’t see them or think they are something that they are not. But once you start to understand that we are being polite and how we show good manners you will be able to fit in better with us and that benefits you as well as us.
I guess what I am doing is what you humans call race relations? But in this case its species relations.
It would be bad manners at this point to start talking about who is high on the evolutionary ladder beside we know who it is and there is nothing more to be said on that topic. So let’s get back to manners and let’s go over the very few ones that I have given you so that we know where we stand.
Ok now let’s see what you have learnt.
Let’s say you have been out all day and you have just walked in the door. I come walking up to you and my tail is straight up. Now what am I saying? Come on, think it though ,what am I saying. If you can’t remember go back to the start of my explanation on manners and read down until you get to my explanation.
Ok next one for you.
The same things again but this time my tail is hooked towards you and not standing totally straight up.
Again what am I saying? Good, you remembered this time? Or did you cheat and read down to where I explained it?
Now what am I saying when I half close my eyes and turn my head slightly away and lower my chin? Come on this time don’t go back and read it think about it first and maybe you will get it right?
Now the head nod and the sniff.
I am sitting on the window sill and I turn and look at you and I nod my head up and down and start to sniff the air.
What am I doing?
I don’t want the whole checking your health and making sure you are well. I just want the manner related part of what I am doing.
Ok now what if I am sniffing your arm or leg or face. Why am I doing that? And what will you do about it?
Lastly what am I saying when I place my paw gently on you?
Now if you add in the sounds and tones I make what am I telling you.
The tricky part about the sounds and tones is that it’s all inflection and the smallest of difference can make a huge difference in what I am saying or what you are saying to your chosen one.
What I suggest is that you start off with the basics that I have given you and use it as a step by step guide to help you live with your chosen one.
By starting at the top of what I have written, your chosen one will accept what you are trying to do and will help you learn our language.
That’s about it for the time being so off you go and try using what I have told you with your chosen one.