Download (7)Rachel Z. Arndt at The Believer:

If a cat doesn’t like the furniture you’ve bought for it, you have two choices: blame the furniture or blame the cat. (Never blame yourself for raising an ungrateful cat.) Most Amazon reviewers choose the former, steering clear of inquiry into the hairy world of cat taste or into whether animals are fickle by nature or nurture: they just slap single-star ratings on the trees and castles and scratching posts that don’t delight their pets as promised. “This product must have something in it that cats don’t like!” they write. “Our cats wouldn’t touch it, our friends [sic] cats wouldn’t touch it, and their friends [sic] cats wouldn’t touch it!”

I know all of this intimately, unfortunately. For half a year, as a researcher for a start-up incubator, I was tasked with trawling Amazon for some insight into what people like and don’t like. I’d sit—back to the window and face to the screen, sunlight bouncing off Lake Michigan’s corduroy waters and onto my shoulders, an occasional horn twenty floors below piercing the murmuring air conditioning—and I’d click.

more here.