With the ongoing shitstorm that is our exit from the EU, the tit for tat tanker seizures with Iran, and that mad fat bastard in the White House trying to bankrupt the world including the US, it’s been a poor start to the media silly season, which traditionally launches when parliament enters its summer recess. However, a bit of due diligence on my part has found me something utterly facile that manages to combine two of my favourite topics, to whit cats, and research that doesn’t need to have been done.

Researchers (dangerous word, that) at Nottingham Trent University have been working on the onerous task of how to stroke a cat. I’d love to have seen the research proposal for the grant for this. Anyway, they’ve come up with some glaring statements of the bleeding obvious, and made a couple of schoolboy errors along the way.

First of the errors is to refer to cats as being ‘domesticated.’ No they aren’t. They tolerate you being in their space, but that’s as far as it goes, and it’s one of the reasons I like them so much. They generally don’t give a stuff.

Lauren Robin Finka, crazy name, crazy gal, thinks she’s got a handle on this. Cats have only been domesticated for about 4000 years. They’re still wired up like wildcats, and wildcats are solitary antisocial creatures that don’t like hanging round with friends. That’s not how they interact. Pretty much like Snotbag, then.

This is where the research grant money goes to waste, because any cat owner, and I use the term loosely, could have told the team this for nothing. Apparently, if a cat is enjoying being stroked, it will purr. No kidding? Another sign it’s having a good time is the kneading and treading thing. Really? Who’d a thunk that? Then there’s the gentle head butt/nudge if you stop too early. Somebody paid good money to be told that. The researchers failed to draw attention to the fact that a cat having a good time will tend to dribble, or maybe that’s just the cats I’ve had in my life.

Meanwhile, how to know if your cat is displeased by the attention. It may growl or yowl. Well I never! It may swish or thump its tail. Any owner will know to lay off here. Similarly if you get bitten or clawed, you’re going to step away from the cat. You don’t need to read between the lines here.

Because wildcats largely communicate by smell, their heads are covered with olfactory glands, hence your cat’s well known tendency to rub its head on the furniture when it walks into a room. Allegedly this means your moggie prefers to be stroked on its head, behind the ears, under the chin…

This research was pointless and unnecessary. I’d have used the money to try and determine why cats go completely bloody mental for half an hour at about eleven at night, dashing up and down the stairs and performing clumsy handbrake turns on your laminate flooring*. That would be money well spent.

*Snotbag excelled at these, often crashing inelegantly into the patio doors.