Saturday, July 16, 2011

Learning to use the iPad

Clem had trouble falling asleep the first night in her new home.  She nestled down in the hair of the yarn lady, but wasn't sleepy.  The yarn lady wasn't asleep either.  She was lying in bed playing some game on her iPad, and Clem gave up the pretense of trying to fall asleep.  She climbed down and nestled between the yarn lady's chest and the iPad and became transfixed by the popping balloons on the screen.  She reached out and her paw popped a bunch of them.  She tried again and more popped.  Wow, this was fun!  She got bored after a few minutes when she realized that not all the balloons would pop, so the yarn lady went to the app store and checked to see if there were any games for cats. 

There were three free ones.  The first was a keyboard that made musical meowing sound, but when she played it for Clem she ran and hid at the end of the bed.  Those were scary sounding cats, and the things they were saying!  Obviously the humans who made the game didn't speak cat, because if they had they never would have included some of those vocalizations.  Gross insults, scatological terms and even profanity.  She guessed that the cats who'd contributed those sounds were still giggling that the humans had recorded them and used them in a game.

The second one involved a mouse that ran around the screen and squeaked a lot.  If Clem managed to tag it, it made a kind of a squished squeak sound that kind of made Clem's stomach a little icky.  The mouse went too fast, anyway, so she didn't play that one for more than a minute.  On the other hand, the third game with a fishy that swam around was kinda fun.  When she tagged the fish it disappeared and then in a couple seconds a new one appeared in a new color.  And every time she patted the screen concentric circles appeared.  It was cool, and she happily played it for at least five minutes, which for a kitten is the equivalent of at least an hour for anyone else.  

After that Clem watched the yarn lady check her email and look at what people were saying on something called Facebook.  It looked pretty easy, this Internet thing, especially with the iPad.  There was a popup keyboard and you could make the letters bigger or smaller, and she could probably make it big enough that her paws would fit on the keys if she was careful.  Clem was a smart little kitten.  Although she was only four months old, she knew how to read, and she figured she could write if someone made a pencil that she could hold.  She'd practiced tracing letters in water from her bowl on the walls of her cage.  Her litter mates laughed at her, but she wanted to be a cat who would better herself.  She'd learned to read from the family she'd fostered with for a few weeks.  There was several girls in the family, one who was just learning to read, one who was in grade school and an older girl.  Clem had sat with each of them and they'd read to her, and Clem found that she was able to follow along and quickly learned to read on her own.  She didn't know if this was the usual thing for cats, but she kind of liked it. 

Finally the yarn lady turned out the light and fell asleep.  Clem slept on her head for a while, and then got up and wandered around, still wide awake.  She jumped off the bed and decided to do a midnight reconnaissance.  She checked out all corners of the bedroom and then headed under the bed.  She looked around for stray dustmice to chase, and didn't find any.  She sprawled on her belly and then rolled onto her back.  As she did, she noticed that there was scratches in the slats holding up the boxspring.  On closer examination, they turned out to be writing, and the message said, "Hi, if you're reading this you're probably the yarn lady's new kitten.  I'm her old kitten and I live nearby.  Send me an email to and I'll introduce you to some other nice cats, and even a dog or two."

Very interesting.  Clementine stared at the message for a while and considered how she could send an email.  As she considered it she found herself becoming drowsy and soon kitten snores wafted from below the bed.

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