If the cat purrs, pet it

Kendra Jackson

The black cat was curled up on the mat in a room which looked very much like a typical living space.  Most living spaces, however, didn’t come equipped with hidden cameras and sensors to record and analyse everything that happened therein.

Professor Darren, head of robotics, watched through his monitor as he ran down his checklist, noting down the time and date as well as the model number of the mechanoid being used in the test.  “All lights are green,” he announced for the benefit of the recording devices.  “Send Carly in and let’s see what she makes of KitKit.”

The barely perceptible sound of the door handle was enough to alert the cat, which flowed from lying to sitting in an instant, and started to lick its paws with careful disdain. The door opened and a young woman came in.  “Oh KitKit, I’ve missed you!” she said, dropping to her knees beside the cat and extending her hand, scratching the back of the cat’s head.  “Who’s a patient kitty, waiting for me like this.  Do you want some food?  Hmmm?  Of course you do!”

   “So far so good,” muttered Darren, “ust keep petting KitKit.  See what sort of reaction you get from her.”

KitKit, however, appeared to be getting bored by the attention and with a swish of a furry tail, turned away and started grooming herself.  Her tiny tongue licked its way up and down her furry limbs and her eyes did not glance once at Carly. 

Carly frowned, and reached out again towards the cat, this time scratching its belly.  KitKit’s reaction was immediate, forgoing the grooming in favour of grabbing Carly’s arm with all four limbs.

A warning light flashed on Darren’s panel, but he already knew from Carly’s yelp that claws had been deployed.  

“This wasn’t programmed, should we call a halt?” asked Darren’s assistant, Taylor.

Darren shook his head, “I want to see how it plays out.”  He watched as Carly shook her arm gently, trying to dislodge the cat.  “She won’t hurt her.”

“Naughty kitty!” cried Carly, “That’s not playing nice!”  

KitKit was obviously of the same opinion, sniffing at Carly before suddenly letting go,miaowing angrily, and stalking away, tail in the air.  

“Interesting,” said Darren.  “I think we’ll need to examine the internal telemetry to see just what happened here.”


A few hours later, Taylor looked at the body on the table in front of them and sighed, “I’ll never understand why you always put the black box in the head.  It’s so unsettling when we have to retrieve it.”

“It’s traditional,” said Darren with a shrug.  He reached for the head and applied just the right amount of pressure to slide Carly’s face panel open and expose the ‘black box’ that recorded more than the external sensors ever could.


Meanwhile, in her well-appointed basket, KitKit curled her tail around her body and settled down.  

She wasn’t sure why those people in white coats kept sending strange smelling people to pet her and try to play with her, but they always seemed very pleased with her afterwards.  Next time maybe she’d try biting.  That might be worth an extra helping of tuna.  

By day, Kendra Jackson crunches numbers for a living. By night (and sometimes into the early hours of the morning) she expresses her pent up creativity by crunching words instead.  For many years, those words consisted of fan-fiction under the name Cein/Ceindreadh, but now she’s switched to original work