I keep a cache of toys so I have something to roll her way, or throw at her, when she begins to howl. Some of the howls reverberate with so much pain, it sounds like she swallowed another tortured cat to torture it some more.
She never howls when I hold her, so I carry her around like a baby, talk to her and take her for walks in the yard. Moving the furniture around amuses her, I mean when we do it. She doesn’t rearrange the furniture herself, usually. I hide little crinkly packages for her, but she still finds other things to ruin that aren’t meant for her. She gnaws.
She loves to go out at dawn and listen to the birds, at least I think she hears them even though she’s a bit deaf. Her ears don’t turn and scan the way a normal cat’s do, rather her whole head swivels, just a little too fast. If her neck made a noise, it would be a high-pitched creak, but thankfully, it is silent, as a regular cat or an owl should be.
Brushing her fur requires a set of tools, some of which she hates with hot claws of passion. Actually, I believe I will call that mat comb the Hot Claws of Passion from now on. Even if I’d rather not use it, I have no choice. If no one brushes her, she explodes with revolting masses of regurgitated fur. These are the entities I think of whenever anyone uses the term fur babies. I’m sorry, that’s just how it is.
What she demands of me is nothing less than worship. Good thing for her I have so few kids around to demand other things these days.
It occurs to me that what the cat requires is community. Since the other defective cat went off to college with your sister, this cat has progressively become more insane. If she were a human, she would be causing me to get calls from the police. “Come get your cat. It’s wandered into the library again and is yelling at the patrons here.” (Does the library have police? My imaginary library has a whole squad).
She would steal my car keys, only to swat them into an open floor vent and pretend she never saw them. Later, she’d get into the catnip and phone distant relatives to complain about the way I shouted at her for walking on the piano, or how I keep her hostage in this square house with puny toys and ignorant dogs.
She’d go online and be angry that meowspace is blocked by our firewall. She would crave an online community without recognizing that it’s a tactile, stinky cat community that she really needs.
I would try again and again to explain to her that it’s the potential bobcats and hawks that are the threat that keeps her indoors. She can’t go out and mingle with the other cats in safety. There’s no way she can be allowed to sit on fences with them and screech or host their traditional pooping contests.
There would be no reasoning with her, just as it is now.
She’s not wrong to need her cat clan. Despite the risks, having a real community is essential. If she lived in a cat hotel she’d have all the stinky swivel-headed pals she ever desired to ignore.
Dealing with humans is like fraternizing with the help, it’s a last resort of the lonely cat.
It wouldn’t matter if the other cats agreed with her, as long as they were cats and licked her neck every day and acknowledged her superiority every week or so. They could warn her when the really big hawks were nearby and keep her warm when the wind turned bitter. The main thing is that they, as cats, would be cats together in their cat community.
Perhaps it is my problem and yours too. Perhaps we need an insane cat caretaker support group.
Groups and clubs are a pain. People can be horrible, they will aggravate you and worry you and not text you back fast enough, but that’s what we all need somehow. We need people to rub us the wrong way, and surprise us. They remind us where our boundaries are, who we are and who we are not. It’s why we care about kindness and why we don’t care about which day of the week it is, really.
If you always got your way, where would you end up? A fat house cat?
Don’t be a house cat. Find your folks, hug them, stay sane, and run from the hawks together.
p.s. You can still buy my book–mere pennies for my thoughts: Book info!!