A few months ago I was persuaded to bring a starving, injured, stray cat into my home. At the time she was the gnarliest, most beat-up beast I think I’ve ever seen. In the six months, (human time,) that I have had her, she has become a healthy, pudgy beauty.
I never talk about owning my cat. She is my roommate. I use the word “roommate,” because there is not a doubt in either of our minds that a human does not, and cannot, “own” a cat. The cat either deigns to live in your home, or she does not. The human input in this decision is minimal at best.
I have written about the changes my cat, Sugar, has brought to my life. However, she is equally as confused by my behavior. In the spirit of open, honest communication, I am allowing Sugar to write about our life together from her perspective.
I have frequently been called “Asshole,” by the human. I infer from her scathing tone of voice that she means to insult me. I do not understand why naming a body part is insulting. I also do not understand why she thinks I am doing something that merits insulting me.
I have tried and tried to train the human to behave in an acceptable manner. However, she seems slow to learn. I learned right from wrong from my mother. My mother taught us with nips to our necks and rear ends when we were doing wrong. If a mere kitten can learn etiquette and the correct behavior in any social situation, why can’t the human understand?
When I wake in the morning, it is the human’s duty to arise immediately. I always start by trying to wake her gently by kneading her belly or walking on top of her. She is rarely bright enough to respond to these prods. You would not believe how many times I have to stand on her face or bite her on the rear before she will get up to prepare my food.
Obviously, the cat is to be the first mammal fed and watered in the morning. The human understands this relatively well, but occasionally she insists on stalling by sitting on her litter box first. When this occurs, I have to chastise her by nipping at her hands and legs. It’s not my fault she does not have fur to protect her. Occasionally I have tried pulling on the fabric between her legs to get her to move. If she still insists on delaying the presentation of my food, I must resort to non-stop bitching with loud squeaks.
Once the food has been prepared and served, the human needs to immediately vacate the area. While I reserve the right to sniff at her food while she is eating, I require absolute solitude for my own dining pleasure. There is nothing more irritating than having her step on a bite of food I’ve moved to the floor so I can better relish the flavor.
The human still doesn’t understand that I am not to be petted unless I request it. When I do request to be petted, I will let her know by patting on her three times. If she does not respond after the third pat, then I need to bite her to teach her. Once she does start to pet me, she should know by now that I only want to be petted exactly three strokes. If less than the magical three strokes are applied, the pat, pat, patting is reinstated. If she exceeds the three stroke limit, a bite will be forthcoming. This cycle may be repeated as many times as I deem appropriate.
In addition to being petted, there are times when I want to curl up and snuggle, but that is entirely up to me. Why the human thinks she can reach over and pet me when I have not let her know I am ready is beyond me. Even more irritating is when she tries to touch my belly. Bellies are to be admired, but never touched. Felines understand the importance of letting the alpha cat set the rules, but the human appears to be remarkably slow in learning who is alpha around here.
The human doesn’t seem to mind having me in the vicinity when she is using her litter box, and in fact, I rather insist on being held and petted if she is on there any longer than I deem suitable. However, I insist on total privacy while I am using my litter box. I don’t understand how she doesn’t realize yet how rude it is to walk up on a cat while she’s using her litter box. Any violation of this need for privacy will result in litter being hurled as far as it can be flung.
Cats are curious by nature and I need to be allowed to indulge in this need. If the human can’t understand the need for both of us to be in the kitchen while she is preparing food for either of us, then she needs to learn the importance of this. I take my sacred duty to inspect all food very seriously. Just watching the microwave alone can take hours out of my day. One never knows when it might ding and present the food that seems to magically appear in it.
I am exhausted by how alert I have to be in order to protect our home. At least twice a day I must run at full speed from one end of the apartment to the other end and back again as many times as I can in order to keep the evil spirits out. It is even better luck if I jump onto and over a minimum of two pieces of furniture in each room. It wears me out, but if I don’t do it who will? The human has not once taken her turn and one of us must stay vigilant.
I love my human and I am glad we are able to share space. However, there are times I can’t believe how slow she is in learning the most basic rules of life. I will stay the path and keep trying to teach her, but I am only one cat, and there is only so much I can do.