Monday, December 20, 2010
Why Owning a Cat is a Really Scary Thing*
Owning a cat can sometimes be a terrifying experience. You never know when they're going to suddenly flip, turning from aloof creatures that keep to themselves, to violently affectionate territorial little monsters, seemingly willing to annihilate any other animal vying for your affection.
My cat Hobbie has lately taken it upon himself to scare the living daylights out of me at least once a month. Ignoring the fact that he is disabled, is fixed and therefore should have little no testosterone production going on in his little emasculated kitty body, he has for quite a while now insisted on fighting bigger males on a semi-regular basis. However, that is no longer enough. Oh no. Now he has to get all schizo on me too.
Hobbie doesn't like other people. He hates men. For instance, although our neighbors have fed Hobbie for years, he still conducts himself exactly like a feral cat if they attempt to get near him. He only likes me. He also tolerates my family, but that's only because we all live together. Babies and children disgust him. So do visitors. Whenever he has to be near any of the aforementioned sort of people he'll fix me with this irate stare like, I do this for you, you unworthy creature. Just remember that.
But recently, that all changed.
It started with one bizarre night when Hobbie started dancing around the room, staring crookedly up at the ceiling with this unparalleled look of contentment on his face. It was like his kitty monologue was going: Ooh, look! I see stars! Lots of pretty stars! And I'm a cat! And I'm in a house! Wheeeee! I have three legs! (Or something equally discombobulated and disturbing).
He then proceeded to insinuate himself into my presence in every possible way, lavishing me with physical affectation.
Now, I was up insanely late reading about serial killers, and thinking about how bizarre it would be to work a serial killing animal - think Beast of Gevaudan - into fiction. Do you think maybe I was a little creeped out? It was like having Dr. Jekyll insisting on sitting on your lap while showering you with compliments. I just had to wonder if at any moment he was going to turn into a rabid, claw-wielding Mr. Hyde, diving for my jugular vein with gusto.
Because he also kept grinning at me in this insanely frightening way. It was like being locked in a room with the Cheshire Cat. I kept thinking, what are you going to do with those teeth, Hobbie?
I could only assume he was in an unmatched drug haze. Yes, my cat is a total addict. He keeps hanging with the cats next door, and their parents let them do catnip. I'm tired of trying to make him stop. Don't judge me. (And it makes him act mellow and happy and sometimes he'll let me pet him and tell him how wonderful he is while he's on it).
But anywho, as you can tell, catnip doesn't usually make him act like a cheerful, affection-craving maniac.
I fed him in an attempt to satiate whatever primal urge was making him act so bizarre, and then went to bed because Hobbie never gets on my bed. He can't stand to sleep with me. I wiggle too much. It was the one place I could be safe from him.
I awoke the next morning from one of my epic claustrophobia dreams feeling like I was:
a) having a life-threatening asthma attack
b) being suffocated by a Muppet
No, of course it couldn't be one of those things. That would be too normal. Of course it would be my cat, sitting on my chest and looking cunningly into my face. It was kind of the emotional equivalent of waking up to find someone standing next to your bed with an axe: it's disturbing. And it makes you want to get out of bed and find your mommy really fast.
The next chapter in my saga was Thanksgiving. We had LOTS of family for Thanksgiving. (Which was wonderful). We did a similar thing five years ago. During that holiday, we had family members staying at our house for a week. They actually questioned Hobbie's existence. They just didn't see him. Which is normal. He hates guests. Oh, his food disappeared like clockwork, but otherwise there was no real proof of a feline presence in our house. Because Hobbie hates people.
So what does Hobbie do this Thanksgiving? He saunters into the kitchen, in the thick of the dinner-making action, and begins rubbing himself all over the legs of my aunt who just really dislikes cats.
He then proceeded to make friends with my male cousin. Now, this is slightly more understandable. My cats always loved my grandfather, and my uncle, and this makes perfect sense because they were bona fide cat worshipers, and cats know these things. Naturally my cousin has this gene. So there you go.
But Hobbie seemed to have, for the day, lost his ability to discern who likes cats and who doesn't. He also seemed to never tire of attention from others. Usually he has a short attention span for adoration. He just finds it exasperating after five minutes or so. But for some sick reason, he was suddenly acting like a house cat. I'll admit, I was getting a little jealous.
I would say that the turkey had drawn out his inner Ms. Congeniality, but Hobbie doesn't love turkey, and his personality was completely altered. Rather than allowing willing humans to come into his presence and dote on him, he had actually been making friendly advances, shamelessly currying the favor of every heretofore despised human in the house.
And also, he was acting so giddy I was terrified he might have some degenerative brain disease and might spontaneously start running through our home and mauling house-guests.
I swept him away at the first opportunity and locked him in my parent's room with some food. He seemed to have the munchies anyway. I also thought it best to put him away before he embarrassed himself too much. (A gesture I was sure he would appreciate when he came to his senses).
Since then, Hobbie seems to have recovered some of his cold demeanor and natural feline dignity. However, at this very moment he is hovering over me as I write, pupils dilated, tail twitching. If I make eye contact with him, he places a paw on my arm or even tries to crawl into my lap, purring, claws perpetually extended. Normal? I think not.
I'm going to go feed him and retreat under my covers, but not before I say this: whoever has been giving my cat crack, please stop. You don't know what it's like to live with someone on a perpetual trip. It's getting scarier every day.
*Note: Okay, But I'm not really scared of my house pets (On a regular basis. For that long. Or that much). But most importantly, I am so not a cat lady. Just in case you may have been wondering about that.