Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blake's special needs

I've figured out what it is that makes me say Blake has autism.  Just in case you don't like clicking on links when I post hyperlinks, I'm going to re-type the disclaimer contained within the post I'm referencing.  It's very important:
"Remember folks, I'm an anthropomorphist. From my perspective, it is not an insult to human beings to talk about animals as if they were people. So, Reader: if you are insulted by me liking my cat to a person with autism, then obviously you haven't been paying attention to the fact that I'm specifically saying it's not meant to be an insult or joke, I do realize the gravity of having a mental disorder . . . do you realize the curse of anthropomorphism? So let's move on and give me an ounce of credit that for goodness sake I am not making fun of autistic people by saying my cat has autism!"
Moving on.

Blake is the happiest cat I've ever had.  Not because his life is so great, although . . . come on.  It is.  All he does is sleep, eat and lounge all day.

He's so photogenic!

What a life, eh?

But he is truly happy almost all of the time. It's the strangest thing . . . he is always smiling. Check out the pictures in some of these posts:
That's enough.  I don't even know if you're clicking on the links.  Just in case you were on the fence about clicking on them, just so you know they are mostly just photos of Blake.  So you don't have to scroll through a bunch of text.  Anyway.

Look how he's smiling in every single photo.  I feel like a detective and I'm proving my point by submitting evidence.  Note especially the last link:  see how Blake is smiling and Bunny is not?  That's not just me, is it?  Bunny is content, she is a perfectly happy cat, but she's not smiling and Blake is.  I don't care if you're an anthropomorphist or not . . . it is a fact that he is smiling.  And it's not because he's cheesing it up for the camera, but rather that's just the way his face looks all the time.  Bunny is serious, Ernie is doofy, and Blake is smiley.  That's his normal expression.

Except when there are people over.

He's like the Happy Clown Sad Clown theater mask.  Wait, is the theater mask a clown?  I may have made that up.  Okay, so.  I'm an idiot.  But that's not the point.  The point is:  Blake has two faces.  Happy and . . . Unhappy?  Sad?  Whatever the clown facial expressions are, Blake's second face is scared.

As soon as another human (not me or Dan) walks into our house, like you're turning off a light his face goes from happy to scared.  It's impossible to photograph* so my detective self will probably never have evidence to post, but take my word for it:  as easily as you can see the smile, you can also see the transition from smiling to scared.

*Because it happens too quickly.  All I'd ever be able to capture on camera is his orange asscheeks disappearing around the corner.
When he gets scared, his eyes get wide.  His forehead crinkles up because his eyebrows are raised.  His space between his eyeballs and his whiskers (his cheeks?) is elongated because the corners of his mouth have dropped.  He tucks his tail like a bad dog.

But still, it is the process of his transformation, the movement that is the alteration, that is most noticable, rather than the final result.  You can see the change.  Have you ever jokingly told someone bad news just to psych them out?  It's mean to bluntly state it like that, but haven't we all done it?  "Your car is being towed." [You watch their face change from smile to horror] "Just kidding!" [Relief]

Except with poor little Blake, it's not a joke.  There's no relief until he's certain all strangers have left.  Maybe it isn't autism anyway, but rather a severe case of anxiety disorder.  Whatever it is, strangers are definitely traumatic on a scale of unbelievable proportions.  His coping skills involve . . . nothing constructive, come to think of it.  He hides.  He looks scared.  Sometimes he hisses, but usually he just freezes like a deer.  If he completely falls apart, he might run away, but that's just to go hide somewhere else.  He can't learn, he can't trust, he can't get over it, he is wholly unable to cope with the situation.

And now I'm not quite sure how to end this entry.  Am I looking for agreement?  Applause?  I don't know either.

Guess I just have to hope for a photo-op so I can post my proof.

2 comments:

Pat Tillett said...

I know exactly what you mean. We have 4 of them. The people who might take offense at what you say, are obviously NOT cat folks. and/or just don't understand 'em. We have a cat who hides and we have one that thinks the way to greet a new person in our house is to jump on their lap and lay down.
Especially so, if they are allergic!

Love your blog!

T! (read as T factorial) said...

I clicked the links because I have a diabolical kitty at home =)

Wanna fold a blanket? Wanna fold your clothes? Read a book? Set your jacket down? All invitations for Bruce the Destroyer to make himself comfy (aka get in the way). I love it!

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