My Strange Relationship with Cats


I have never made a secret of the fact that I am a dog person. Thoroughly, through and through.

Every cat I’ve ever known I’ve viewed with a range of attitude from indifference to outright dislike.

Until seven months ago, I’ve never been in close proximity with cats long enough to get to know one. Seven months ago, I moved into my current apartment, with my roommate Ellen and her two cats, Tschaicovsky and Bluebell.

Until I met these cats, I had no idea they were creatures of great personality. I assumed they had at least moderate levels of intelligence, since they can be litterbox trained, but as for personality I figured they were all little rude fluffballs of disdain, eating, and poop.

Well, the first month at my apartment, I was practically a guest. (A story for another time.) I slept on a mattress in the living room and lived out of two shopping bags of clothes. In my brain I consider that September the time of my life when I was quasi-homeless.

Since that was a remarkably busy month in my life, it wasn’t awkward. I ran into my roommates/hosts pretty seldom since our work schedules were practically opposites, so I spent most of the first month getting to know my feline flatmates.

The first few nights that I rested on that mattress, the small fuzzy ones were apparently somewhat shy, and after an initial hand sniff of greeting they retreated to the bedroom. But as I continued to ignore them, an act they apparently understood as an overture of friendship, their curiosity grew and their shyness subsided.

First, meet Tschaikovsky, commonly known as Chai.

Tschaikovsky

From the beginning, my relationship with Tschaicovsky has been one of quiet tolerance going both ways. I regard his state of feline-ness with a grudging, but growing, amiability. I don’t know how he regards my random cuddle assaults and friendly mocking of his large belly because he is a cat, but he is patient with me and doesn’t fight me off, so that’s good. He is a very fat cat, and I find him irresistible when he’s splayed on the floor in a puddle of fur, warmed by the sun. Cuddling will ensue.

Bluebell, however, the other kitty, is mentally unstable.

Bluebell

One of her favorite activities is to frantically dash around the house at all hours of the day and night, meowing and howling in frustration when she cannot catch the ghosts she’s apparently hunting.

During my month of quasi-homelessness/guesthood, Bluebell entertained herself most nights by stepping on me.

The first few nights, I tried to shake her off with increasing annoyance, but like a well-thrown boomerang, she always came back. Just as I am apparently unable to resist Tschaicovsky’s fat belly, so Bluebell is apparently unable to resist a blanket-ensconced, sleeping Bethany.

The more I ignored this mental kitty, the more affectionate she grew toward me, rubbing her face on my head as I tried to sleep, purring and chewing her tongue, and in a particular Bluebell quirk of affection, biting my nose.

It’s obviously cute and extremely frustrating, but through the 4 weeks that sleeping Bethany served as Bluebell’s jungle gym, I developed a very important skill. I can now sleep through almost anything. (A mighty talent to have when your young friends Micah and Juliana think it’s a very funny idea to awaken you by dropping a kitty named Pippin on your torso.)

After seven months of living in close proximity with the two feline flatmates, I have learned much.

However, I have come to the conclusion that my relationship with cats will always be strained, if only because they frequently misinterpret me reading a book or eating as a great time to occupy my lap.

While I remain a person who always will prefer dogs, cats are fun (and not only because you can poke them and they freak out, but that’s pretty awesome.) Ultimately, I think I still have a sort of attitude of dislike towards cats in general, but I’ve grown quite fond of the ones I live with.

That’s all.

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    • Kjiersten
    • March 26th, 2013

    They sound quite a lot like Pippin.

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