Anyone who thinks that cats do not have the same level of intelligence, cunning and malicious humor that people are capable of … well, I can only guess that you’ve never had a cat.

Of course, that is a misnomer. People do not have cats as pets. Cats have people as executive assistants.

My two, Tiger and Bella, are a real pair. Tiger, for instance, has a habit of jumping up on the desk when I am at my computer, and physically situating himself between me and the monitor screen, so that I cannot see what it is I am trying to work on, as he seeks attention from his Beloved Person. He shows no interest in being up on the desk at any time other than when I am sitting there trying to get something done.

And as he does this, his mouth is open just wide enough for me to see his little teeth — and if I didn’t know better, I would swear he is smiling at me, because he knows full well what he is doing, he knows that I know and also that I can’t really prove it.

Then there’s Bella, the pampered little princess. If you so much as make eye contact with her, she’ll scurry over and demand attention. She makes these little chirping noises, kind of like a Tribble, as a friend of mine pointed out. She’ll almost badger you into petting her and giving her some attention.

One night during the recent heat wave we had, I was sitting out on my screen porch late at night with a beer. The door to the house was closed, to keep in the central air conditioning. Tiger came over to the door and looked out, clearly indicating that he wanted to come out on the porch. I got up, put down my beer, went over to slide the door open … and he scurried off in the other direction, back into the house.

A few minutes later, he came back to the door, I got up again, and the same thing happened. This cat is messing with me, I thought. When it happened a third time, I realized that Tiger somewhere must have picked up the ability to read the funny pages, because this was clearly his version of Lucy yanking away the football from Charlie Brown.

At this very moment, Bella has just jumped up onto my desk, making her little Tribble sounds and seeking yet more attention. It’s never enough, apparently. And she’s gazing at my computer screen …

Nah, she couldn’t know that I’m writing about her, could she?

I wouldn’t put it past either of them.

Best of all is when they jump up onto my bed in the early morning and mewl until I am forced to get up and give them their breakfast.

Yes, they know who’s in charge, all right.