Xeno and Kitty being best buds,
Together forever, where no one hears you scream
Killin’ all humans, the fun never ends
Xeno and Kitty, two of kind
No, I’m not saying that Jones the cat and Xeno the Alien are besties. Not exactly. I just got through watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and I had the “Bunny & Kitty” song stuck in my head. However, I will argue that Jones is one of those cats who just doesn’t give a flying frick about any of the humans, except for the one who feeds him. That one might as well be the most responsible human, Ripley. To go further than that, Jones, as the Nostromo’s ship cat, saw the Alien was just another vermin that needed to be dealt with in any way possible.
Cats are hunters. Spanning over centuries, there are records of ships bringing a cat or two along on the journey. Their most practical function was to hunt down vermin that could cause irreparable damage to the vessel or contaminate food stuffs. They were also regarded as good fortune if given enough care and attention. Take care of the cat, and the cat will take care of you.
Then again…I gather most voyages didn’t have to deal with a highly adaptable, silicon-based Alien with molecular acid for blood.
You may remember that the Alien starts out the size of a large rat like the ones you’d find scurrying all over New York City in Tom Clancy’s The Division. (Have you seen those suckers? They’re big enough to get XP when you shoot one!) No problem. Jones is a big enough cat to be able to pounce and snap some part of the creature. But…he also witnessed the complete f*ckery that just occurred in the dining area. “Okay,” thinks Jones, “Being careful wouldn’t be the worst idea.” He stalks the little sucker all over the ship and, finally, somewhere in the cargo bay. Where it’s shedding its skin and getting way bigger than he can handle. And scarier looking.
Bucket of NOPES! And he hides as quietly as he can while he hatches another scheme.
Cats are territorial creatures. When a new element arrives, the cat is going to investigate it, learn its movements, and mess it up any way possible. The Alien just changed from prey to invader, and Jones ain’t havin’ it!
I said earlier that Jones doesn’t really care about the other humans, except for the one that feeds him. The most responsible one we’ve seen since the beginning of the movie is Ripley. If everyone would have just listened to her, they wouldn’t be in this mess. Jones understands this and decides that she is must be the one that lives; everyone else is just a bonus.
So Jones is a little nervous. There’s a giant monster lurking in the cargo hold, too big for him to deal with it alone. He knows nothing about it, but he’s not about to stick out his own neck to see what it can do. What he can do is…
“Holy sh*t, Brett! You scared me to death. What the hell is wrong with you?! You die first!”
Brett and Parker, while tracking the Alien using a motion tracker, pick up Jones’ movements and quickly move in with a cattle prod and net. Surprised, scared, and now a little bit vengeful, Jones tears through the hold into the room where he suspects the Alien is still hiding. He knows they’re going to want to grab him too. “For my own protection,” he thinks incredulously. Brett calls out for Jones. This is his chance. Lure Brett to the exact spot where the Alien is hiding, and see what happens.
Cats can be vengeful little tyrants. They can get angry at you for the tiniest reasons. I once had a cat who got mad every time my dad directed a snide or teasing comment her way. To get back at him, she’d single out one of his shoes and use it as a litter box. She always made sure it was one he used frequently, too. During my current cat’s adolescent (and rebellious) stage, I was busy traveling and working. I didn’t spend just the right amount of time with him. Angry and “neglected,” he took his frustrations out on my bed by tearing everything up and then using it as a litter box. Apparently cats think pooping on your belongings is the biggest “f**k you” they can think of. Usually, they’re right.
In Jones’ case, the biggest “f**k you” is leading someone to certain death.
Do you see the indifferent look on Jones’ face? That’s a look of a killer admiring someone else’s kill. “Look at that technique. Such grace! It must be stopped.”
Jones now knows that the Alien is something that must not be allowed to live. There’s only enough room on the Nostromo for one predator, and that’s Jones, damn it! He spends most of the middle part of the movie leading it around the ship, giving the humans every opportunity to kill it. Dallas fails miserably. Ash loses his marbles and goes after the other humans (“I knew he couldn’t be trusted”). Lambert and Parker are too busy shouting at each other and clanking metal containers around like idiots to notice that the Alien easily finds them and kills them.
This Alien is obviously too good. It’s time to get the hell off this ship while I still can. Find Ripley.
Jones notices that Ripley is moving around the ship like a woman with a purpose. She frightened, yes, but there’s determination in her eyes. The ship rumbles. Strobing lights, blaring alarms, and hot smoke mess with Jones’ sense. The closest, quietest, and safest place on the ship (for now) is the bridge. “Good, Ripley’s here. Take me with you!”
Helpless within the cat carrier that Ripley stuffs him into, Jones has no choice but to look on and pray that Ripley succeeds in getting them both off the ship before something bad happens.
“Wait…oh crap. The Alien sees you, Ripley. Get away! Get away! I’ll distract it with my irresistible kitty cuteness.” The Alien notices perfectly helpless prey conveniently locked inside a box. “I’m practically being served to you on a silver platter!” Jones says. “I’m not a trap, or anything, trust me. I’m just giving my human a head start.” The Alien investigates and scoffs at the amount of effort it would have to make for such a small prize. It knocks Jones’ cage out of the way and searches for Ripley. “I hope you burn, Alien.”
Jones’ carrier is thrown in such a way that he can barely catch a glimpse of the Alien circling back and hiding somewhere within the little ship just ahead of him. He thought the worst for a moment. Thankfully, he doesn’t wait too long to learn the fate of his only way off a ship that is clearly about to fall apart. Ripley retrieves him once again and they quickly lock themselves inside the little ship. “Wait. Wait! I think I saw it come in here!”
There’s a thrust. The aftershock of the Nostromo exploding rattles Jones’ cage a bit, but then quiet. “I have a bad feeling about this,” groans Jones as a tired but triumphant Ripley gently takes him from his carrier and places him within the sleep pod. Then he sees it. Just before the glass door seals him in, he spots an irregularity within the tubing just a few feet away. Exactly where Ripley’s heading now. “Clever.” Jones backs all the way into the front of the pod and wait for the fall out to occur. “She’s a clever human. I hope she makes it.”
Jones hears muffled screaming, followed by terrible shrieking. A loud whooshing sound drowns everything out, then silence. The glass door opens again. Jones’ fur is ready to stand on end, depending whose hands he sees coming for him inside the pod.
I’ve learned over the few years of raising cats that if you prove yourself to be a provider, your cat will not leave a fresh kill in front of your face while you sleep for you to eat later. Socks are a different story. Ripley, clearly the smartest human on the ship, probably proved herself to be the best survivor and a worthy provider for Jones. He didn’t need to lure the Alien her way. She knew she would get rid of it one way or the other
Jones realizes that the hands reaching into the pod belong to Ripley’s, and instantly relaxes. She lies next to him, he curls up on her legs to warm her cold toes. “Goodnight, human. You did good.” Jones falls asleep and dreams about being back on Earth, eating an unlimited supply of wet cat food with catnip sprinkles on top.