Post 4.3 - Kitties
As I haven't had a cat in my home since I was about two years old, this week's post is by special guest blogger, David Finkelstein of Brooklyn, NY, USA. Enjoy!
The first thing you need to know about owning a cat is that you do not own the cat. The cat owns you. The cat does not adapt to living in your home and to your lifestyle. You change your lifestyle to please the cat.
Cats don't really need you--they're much too independent--but for some reason they like to pretend that they do. When they rub up against your leg and you think it means they're being affectionate--they're not. They're making sure that you know who is in charge. That's also what they're doing when they pounce on your face in the early morning, that and to punish your for not filling their water and food bowls or cleaning their littler box. If you put out fresh clothes to wear or piles of laundry, you will find a cat sleeping in them before too long. And when you complain about all the cat hair on your clean clothes and they simply look at you, they're saying "Thank you for making me such a comfortable bed."
But if you can get past the scratched up furniture, cat hair everywhere, and the occasional puddle or vomit and hairballs, the nice thing about owning a cat is that--since they're so independent--you don't really have to take care of them at all. All you really have to do is put out fresh food and water every day and clean their litter box once a week. If the scratched up furniture (or the scratches they leave on YOU) really bugs you, you can clip their nails. (Though my cat HATES that and I have plenty of scars to prove it.) Some people put scratch guards on their furniture or glue plastic tips to their cats' claws. Me? I just buy cheap furniture.
Another thing about cats is that--in most cases--they're faster than you are and get into things you can't. They don't care if that was the last roll of toilet paper in the house. If they want to play with it while you sleep, that is exactly what they will do. They also don't care if you really need your sleep for that morning meeting. They'll tear through the house in the dead of night crashing about and knocking down anything not nailed down. And then, during the day when you see that mouse skitter across the floor and watch your cats eyes following it, it's a complete tossup as to whether or not she'll give chase. My cats just stared at the little mouse and gave it free run of my pantry. Thanks, cats.
I've had three cats and the behaviors I mentioned were consistent in them all. Whenever we put a glass of water on the table, we do so knowing we'd have to share. I don't know what it is about a fresh glass of water that excites cats so. But unlike most people, I think it's the most adorable thing in the world to watch a cat drink from my water glass. Coco used to even try to steal food from my dinner plate. She'd look up at me with her innocent blue eyes, and while she held my gaze, her paw would be moving as fast as it could to knock a choice morsel onto the floor--as if I couldn't see her there. Cleo likes to hop up onto the edge of the tub every time I walk into the bathroom in the hopes that I'll turn on the water so she can drink from the tap.
And even though my cat pretends she doesn't like me, even though she bites my hand sometimes, or hisses at me when I pet her, or runs away when all I want is to pet her and give her a treat, I know that things just wouldn't be the same without her. Just having her in the house with me makes me feel less lonely or sad. Watching her do little cat things always brings a smile to my face--whether it's watching her curled up in a sunbeam or chasing a wadded up piece of paper. And on those rare occasions when she sits next to me, purring, or when she deigns to let me rub my face in her belly, or when she sits on my pillow, purring until I fall asleep, I don't remember the times she's been mean or less than affectionate. No, I'm just happy to enjoy the moment, those moments that remind me why I own a cat.
Thanks, David! Have a question or a suggestion for a future topic? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.