I’ve never liked cats. To me a cat was always a creature that was never truly meant to be (or desired to be) anyone’s pet. Instead, I am convinced that if cats were large enough, they’d happily kill their owners. They are really just unpleasant animals. I mean, think about it. Most people are allergic to them. In other words, they are rejected by the human body. They shed their hair like a middle-aged hippie, and if you pick them up and hold them for any amount of time, you look like a body double for Chewbacca. When they are finished being petted, instead of simply leaning toward the ground, they either bite you or dig their claws into your flesh for leverage. How sweet-a pet that makes you bleed!
Then, along came my middle daughter, Anna. When she was about six years old, she looked up at me with her big, manipulative green eyes and said, “All I ever wanted was a baby Siamese.” Due to my lack of a backbone and my fear of feeling like the Hannibal Lecter of fathers, I found my self working with Santa to locate a Siamese kitten. Luckily, the search didn’t take long, and I didn’t have to go to Siam, wherever that is. In fact, I found Missy through a rescue operation in deep East Texas. Maybe that explains her penchant for monster trucks, vape shops and all things Wal-Mart.
Needless to say, Anna and my other girl children were thrilled with the kitten, which soon transformed into a cat. We did have her spayed and declawed (after she had proven herself qualified to work in the damage control department for the La-Z-Boy corporation), so there isn’t a whole lot of cat left there, but just enough to remind us all of what she is.
Living with Missy is like living with an annoying teenager. It’s all about her. I used to have dogs as pets, and when a dog wants to be petted, you feel a sense of unconditional love. When I pet Missy, I feel like I’m being used. During daytime hours, her signal that she desires the brief and barely tolerated touch of a human hand is that she flops on to her side, just out reach. She demands that you come to her, and it’s often at the most inconvenient time imaginable-like when I’m on the toilet. (Someday, I’ll learn to lock the door.)
In addition to interrupting my time in the bathroom, Missy’s petting habits also interfere with my rest. Each night, when I finally collapse into the haven that is my bed and I am just on the cusp of the precious oblivion of sleep, I feel the inevitable and ominous cadence of Missy’s footsteps on the bed. She then has the audacity to perch on my chest and demand that I scratch her bony head and back, which is like scratching a bicycle chain. If I neglect to scratch quickly enough, she places her foot on my mouth, undoubtedly after just having visited her litter box. During the scratching ritual, if I hit just the right spot, she either licks me with the tongue of agony (after having licked who knows what) or nips my chin, all while allowing me to experience her breath that smells like she’s been dead for six weeks.
A few days ago, I actually found myself leaning over my computer chair to operate my home PC to avoid disturbing her while she napped! Something is clearly amiss. I didn’t want a cat in the first place, and now I can’t go to the bathroom, sleep, or buy underwear on eBay without feline interference!
I suppose that the consolation to all of this is that my daughters love her and she makes them happy-when she’s not assaulting their feet when they walk through the living room. And I kind of like her, too. I guess I see her as a challenge, which makes my home life even more interesting, but I am determined not to allow her to take over the household. Excuse me, now, while I lean over Missy to search eBay for a second computer chair.