A Rant from Strider the Cat  – My Human is Despicable

I am a reasonable cat, but lately I have been feeling frustrated.  She is a horrible person, and there is nothing I can do about it.    I know that in my previous postings I seemed optimistic and even happy, but that was just a front.  My life is bleak.  She is awful.  Since I can no longer determine any pattern to her comings and goings, I am going to start right in describing the terrible things she is doing to me.  Please, save this.  It may be needed as evidence.

Let me start off with the worst. She has put me on a diet.  My food allowance was never overly generous, but in the last month she has seriously cut back. I am a cat, a member of the Felis genus, and by nature a carnivore and fierce hunter.  A great human would provide me with live prey for food. A good human would make sure I had bowls full of freshly butchered meat.  My human feeds me kibbles that taste like dry, meat-flavored pebbles.   Not only is my food substandard, but now it is meted out in overly small amounts.

I am willing to admit that I have put on a bit of weight, but so has she and that is what makes me so angry.  We could have gone on the diet together.   Instead, she stands in the kitchen having a late-night snack while my food bowl remains empty.  I glare at her fiercely but it has no effect. Her willingness to withhold food from me while stuffing herself is despicable, but not the only example of her complete lack of decency.

She has no sense of humor, none what so ever.  Mine is delightfully sly. For just one example, a few years ago she purchased a rather expensive upholstered chair.  Since the day that chair was set down, I have gone out of my way to claw and scratch it whenever she is around.  It drives her nuts!  There is nothing funnier than watching her race towards me when I start in on the chair.  I can run it around or under it and she cannot catch me.  She has purchased any number of products that are supposed to make me stop scratching that chair, and of course none of them worked. If she had even the slightest appreciation of a good joke she would applaud my efforts.  I will not stop until she either gets the joke or that chair is in tatters.  Either way, I win.

Some time ago I wrote about the game we played called “Hallway Escape”, and how much I enjoyed it.   There is another game we occasionally play in which I chase a most exquisitely fascinating red light that moves up and down walls and through every room in the house.  That light compels me as no other thing can.  Just when I think I have caught it, the light dances up a wall or zips past me.  It vanishes without a trace, and then suddenly reappears.  I love that light.

Well, my horrible human found a way to combine my two favorite activities into a single disappointing and infuriating game I am calling “Wretched human”.  It starts when she is clearly about to leave.  I’ll run up, excitedly thinking we are going to play Hallway Escape, and hide near the door.  Just as though we were going to play that fun game, she will find me and toss me away, and I sneak back.  We do that a few times and then the red light appears! It flickers and dances near my paw and while I try to ignore it, I start reaching for it.  The light races off into another room, and I jump away and run after it.  Next thing I know, the light is off, the door has opened and shut, and I am alone in the house.  Tricked, shamed, angry.  With nothing to do but write this plea to all of you out there.  Please, help me.  She is cruel and terrible.  Wait a minute; I hear a key unlocking the door.  Sorry, but I must start clawing the chair so that is the first thing she sees when coming home.  Goodbye for now, I remain as always, Strider the Cat.

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New Year’s Greetings from The Cat

She had company on Christmas, and one of the visitors mentioned how much she enjoyed reading my updates.  I was touched, so much so that I let her briefly scratch my belly before reaching out with a warning slash.  That kind and intelligent visitor then asked why I had not been posting any updates over the last few months,

I have much on my mind that needs sharing, but it has become difficult to use the computer. She used to be on a schedule that was easy to figure out.  Monday through Friday, she left the house early and was gone all day. There was plenty of time for me to explore, nap, look for food, and organize my thoughts for writing.  Alas, that schedule is no more.  Last summer she started staying home later during the day.  Now she sleeps in late and comes and goes at irregular times.  She might spend an entire day at home, not leaving once; or she might leave in the morning, be home briefly during the afternoon, and then be gone until late night.  It has disrupted my life and made finding time to write updates much more difficult.

Now, do not interpret what I have just written as an excuse; no cat would ever indulge in such self-abasing behavior. Excuses are what a cringing dog would do: “Oh, please don’t be mad because I piddled on the carpet, but it’s because you weren’t there to take me for a walk”.  Disgusting! I am not asking for your approval or forgiveness, simply stating a fact.

Her new schedule has affected every aspect of my life, and mostly for bad.  She is up later in the morning by several hours, which means that my food bowl remains empty.  She has completely disrupted my nap schedule, and I have found myself getting a bit cranky from lack of sleep.  There were some rather delightful things I enjoyed doing when she was not around to stop me, and the opportunities for those activities have become more challenging to find.

Adding to my general frustration is that as my life has become more challenging and stressful, she seems so much more relaxed and, dare I say it, even happy.  Apparently, what she did was to retire.  I thought that word referred to the very wise idea of taking a nap, but now realize its meaning is to sleep late and look happier.

Good for her, but what about me?  I’m still waiting for that better mood to translate into something of value, like giving me more and better food, or not being so upset when I scratch that delightfully scratchy chair.

Damn – I hear her at the door. She was gone for such a short time.  Such is now my lot in life.  I wish all of you a very happy New Year, and my sincere hope that 2017 will be a good year.  For me, personally, my New Year’s wish is that she purchases a huge bag of cat food, leaves it out on the floor, and then takes a long vacation.

Answers from the Cat

Were my facial muscles capable of doing so, I would have laughed out loud while reading your letter. Clearly you have forgotten the most basic premise of our relationship, which is that I issue demands, not you. You want a companion willing to spend their time answering your yammering questions? Get a dog. Though, of course, most of them are not bright enough to craft readable answers, and those that could are such despicable people-pleasers all they would do is write simpering, sniveling responses.

I am the cat, the true mistress of this household, and it is not my job to provide you with comforting answers to your boring questions. However, I am a generous and kindly soul, and therefore will answer one. Like all cats, I see little distinction between food and friend. So long as my bowl remains full and you show signs of life, you are my friend. That does not mean I cannot occasionally daydream about a time when those conditions cease.

There. I have answered one of your questions. The rest are too tedious. It is not my job to salve your ego or to explain how best to spend your money.  I am off to take a nap.  Please be sure to have the food bowl filled by the time I wake up.

Questions for My Cat

Let me start out by stating how I admire you, both as an individual and as a member of your species.  I’m especially impressed at how felines made a somewhat hesitant deal with humans for food and shelter in return for, well, not much on your side.  Sure, you’ll live with me, take food, show some level of affection, but I recognize it’s a choice, and one you make on a daily basis.

Still, there are some things I just don’t get.

  • Why do you wait all day to use the litter box? You spend the entire day alone in the house, but wait until I get home before you decide to let loose with something that smells so bad I’m considering purchasing a hazmat suit.
  • What are you looking at?  Periodically you will stare at nothing for a long time, and with a look of total concentration.  It weirds me out.  
  • How come you pretend to love your toys when I have company, but won’t go near them otherwise?  You look like those cats in the commercials; when it’s just us they gather dust.
  • And, in general, what’s with the pickiness regarding play things?  I buy a toy guaranteed to amuse you.  You play with the box and won’t touch the toy.  
  • Why are toes so fascinating?  No explanation needed on this one, just some rationale for why you feel that my feet, and especially toes, exist solely for your amusement.
  • Do you deliberately wait to scratch my favorite chair in front of me?  You never touched any of the furniture, only using scratching posts.  Because of that, I spent a lot of money on a custom-made chair that is now covered with a throw.
  • Am I food or friend?  You snuggle up next to me and purr.  An hour later I catch sight of you perched on top of the kitchen cabinets, glaring down at me like I’m a gazelle and you’re the tiger.   
  • And, finally, the biggest question of all: do you like me?  Sometimes you seem to adore me, but other times you shoot me that look of utter disdain and scorn only a cat can manage.  It really messes with my confidence. 

Please respond at your earliest convenience.  Don’t pretend you can’t read or write; I’ve seen your earlier posts. 

Cat Chronicles

I had some spare time in between naps the other day and reread my kitten posts from last year. How young and silly I was; my tail was twitching with amusement as I read them.

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Last year I was obsessed with establishing dominance over my human.  So many things confused me.  I couldn’t figure out why she would spray me with water or physically remove me from the best places in the house.  I worried a lot over our relationship and what my future would be.  Now that I am fully grown, I have come to realize how foolish those kittenish mewsings were.

First is the ridiculous notion I had regarding who was actually in charge.  It was me, of course, all along.  Sure, she is physically bigger, but that means nothing.  Do I feed her?  Am I required to do anything I do not wish to?   Do I even need to clean up after myself?  No, no and no.  She attends to my every need, from ensuring I have a multitude of toys and attention to keeping my bowl filled with food.  No one does that for her; I know this is true, because in all the time I’ve lived with her I have never seen anyone come in and provide her with food, or clean up her messes, or even bring her toys.  Yet I get these every single day. 

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She is my servant, pure and simple. Though not always the best servant, at least she tries.  This leads to the second lesson I have learned, which is that she is not that smart.  Last year I was so proud of a trick I taught her that I wrote a post about it.  I was excited and felt this would be the first of many such games I could teach her.  I was wrong; while she is capable of learning, the pace is much slower than what I had hoped for.  I believe this lack of intelligence is endemic to the entire species.   Other humans that visit her also appear to lack the most fundamental logic and reasoning skills.  For just one example if another cat showed up I would chase it around, fight a little, wrestle, determine who was dominant; in short, have fun.  When she has other humans in the house they sit and talk, none of them realizing what they are missing. 

20150919_191728_002I think a big reason for this species-wide stupidity is their inability to communicate in meaningful ways.  The gentle nips and scratches that are clearly meant to push her, or a visiting human, in the right direction never work, and instead of going “Oh!  You need more food.” I get shot with a spray of water. Believe me that gets old fast! She has extremely poor communication skills, and this seems to be the case for all humans.  They don’t get the most basic requests.  A simple “get out of my chair” is ignored.  Obvious requests to stop petting me, or to start petting me, are consistently misinterpreted.  They have no sense of smell, and limited hearing and sight.  The complex range of mews, yowls and chirping noises I make are never interpreted.

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I realize now vastly superior I am.  Those few issues I noted last summer mean nothing. My nemesis the spray bottle is still used but I now understand she has to use this because she has no other way to communicate.  It is annoying, but I feel sorry for her more than for me; how limiting it must be when her only options are to spray water or physically pick me up!  Her size, which intimidated me last year, means little without brain power behind it.  She is like any large beast of burden, capable of heavy lifting but certainly not up to the philosophical reasoning on which I spend my days.

The key to our relationship is to let her think she’s in charge.  This is quite easy to do as she misinterprets size for smarts.  She is remarkably easy to manipulate, and within her limitations I am becoming somewhat fond of her.  Wait… I hear her at the door.  Time to close out this post, turn off the computer and pretend I’m napping.

Kitten Chronicles Continued

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I’ve learned much since my first missive. While my mental capabilities are far superior, I’ve come to realize the few advantages she has allow her to believe she holds the upper hand in our little pas de deux. Actually, there are only two advantages she has, but they are major.

The first is size. She can easily scoop me up in one of her massive paws. This is not mere hypothesis; it happens to me multiple times on a daily basis. Just when I find a cozy nook in the closet I’ll look up to see one of them coming at me. I can’t figure her out. When I attempt to include her in my games (I adore many of her dangly earrings and other jewelry), she picks me up and moves me to the couch. Okay, I can stay away; there is a nest of wonderfully pliant wires behind the TV set, and I can have just as good as a time playing there. That should be perfect, right? Nope, as soon as I start having fun there she is, bending down, picking me up and tossing me off to somewhere else. It’s clear her size is vastly out of proportion to her intelligence.

The second area where she has been blessed with a physical advantage is located right on those aforementioned meaty paws. I’m talking, of course, of her opposable thumbs. Sure, I have marvelously dexterous claws that allow me to pick up a single grain of rice one minute and eviscerate a vole the next; but I can’t turn the door knob to go outside, or open a can of that delectable food I get only sporadically. Oh, the cruel irony of fate and evolution. Were that I were her size, and with even one opposable thumb!

Still, I’m not one to dwell on the negative. I’ve been working on a few tricks, and while her ability to learn is painfully slow, there is some progress. The game I’ve been working on the most is one I call “Hallway escape”. It’s very simple, and deliberately so; to date I’ve caught only the faintest glimmers of cognitive abilities from her. Here is how the game works: when I hear her approaching the front door, I lie in wait and then dart out into the hallway.

At first, to help her learn, I would stop right outside the door. I can’t tell you how proud I was the first time I tried this game. She went to the front door, and I ran and hid on a chair located next to it. As soon as she opened the door I darted outside and then waited. Would she notice I was out? Would she know what to do? I held my breath waiting. She got it! Right off the bat, she noticed me and let me spend a little time enjoying the carpet before she picked me up and brought me back inside. It was a big moment. She’s picked up this game far better than I thought she would. Now we play it from either side of the door. I race up and down the hallway while she follows behind me, waiting until I’m ready to go back in the house. It’s one of our most fun times of day.

So, I have hope. I think that with time she may end up being fairly useful. If you don’t believe me, just come over one evening around the time she gets home from work. Watch me race out the door and down the hallway, with her dutifully following behind, letting me enjoy the delightfully scratchy carpeting before we go back in house, where she will immediately give me more food. That didn’t just happen; it’s the result of months of work on my part. They say you can’t train humans, but I know that’s not true. It just takes patience.

Kitten Chronicles

DSCN3924I’m sure you’ve seen those ads, where pathetic sniveling dogs express gratefulness to their new owners. Well, those are dogs: disgusting, noisy creatures with no sense of self-respect.   I remember dogs from my time at the pet store; they groveled and begged at every person who came in. How stupid. We cats know better; let the humans come groveling and begging for our attention, not the other way around.

Several weeks ago, I was still living there with some of my litter mates. We had been rescued from the cold and fostered by a kind woman who realized that the greatest good she could do in this life was to take in feral kittens. I am learning that such devotion and intelligence is rare among humans. After I reached the age of reason, my brothers and sisters and I were brought to a new location. Some painful and humiliating things were done to me there, and the less said about them the better. Still, I enjoyed my time there. There were many toys to play with and best of all we were mostly kept apart from the annoying people. Oh, an occasional hand would poke through the bars of our home, but it was easy to avoid them when privacy was wanted.

Until the afternoon she showed up. I was in a good mood that day, and was more than willing to snuggle and play with her. While at the store, she showed the appropriate amount of worshipful attention to me. I realize now that she was pretending in an attempt to fool me. One minute I was enjoying myself, chasing after a toy and racing around her skirt, and then suddenly I was locked into a small box and subjected to a car ride. That was the first indication of her evil, treacherous nature.

I now live with the woman. At one time there was another cat here: I can smell her clearly but she is nowhere to be seen. This concerns me greatly, and I wonder if perhaps I will meet the same fate that must have befallen the missing cat. There are a number of really fun things to play with, but the stupid woman gets upset whenever I attempt to enjoy myself. For example, I was just having the best time rolling around and tugging at some wires. I was able to pull a number of items down from a taller shelf, giving me even more things to play with. Sure enough, she ran over and ruined all the fun. She hissed at me and pushed me away. Hissing! Really? Who the hell does she think she is – my mother? Or perhaps she thinks I am as stupid as she is and will not know the difference between a human woman and the cat that birthed me.

That is just one example of how much my life now sucks. The other night I was having a grand time. I started on her dresser, jumped onto a rocking chair, raced around on the floor, jumped up to go back and forth on the bed, then over to the headboard where I ran across it back to the dresser and started my second lap. I was considerate enough to include her in the game, making sure that when I ran up and down on the bed it was right over her. It would have been a lot easier to run just anywhere on the bed, but that’s the kind of kitten I am. Well, you’d expect that she would have been thrilled with this game, or at least thank me for including her. Instead, she let out a yell, turned on the light, and shot a stream of water at me. What a bitch.DSCN3937

To be fair, she is not totally evil. I eat well, and there are times when she is willing to play and provide me with the proper devotion. Still, she seems intent on prohibiting me from doing much of what I want to do, and for that she must pay.

She isn’t here right now, which is why I am able to use the laptop. In yet another example of her idiocy she doesn’t use a password, so I hop on the computer whenever she isn’t around. What a maroon.   I’ve placed an order for 10 pounds of cat treats and the largest, fanciest cat tree I could find. It’s got a perch way up at the top that will let me jump on top of her head anytime she’s near it. That should be fun!

Wait; I hear her at the door. Time to save this document, close the laptop and pretend I’m just hanging out on the table. She is so stupid…

Daily Prompt: The absolute and true story of my recent life (from the cat’s perspective)

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This is the absolute and true story of my recent life.

At one time, it was a good life, a great life, actually. Like most of my species, I am hesitant at using superlatives, instead preferring to hold back and observe before praising; but I can say, now that it is over, that indeed my life was wonderful.

I lived with two humans, both of whom adored me. Of course they did, for I was (and am still) perfect, and completely worthy of adoration. I am a tri-color, what humans in this part of the world call “Calico,” and the pattern of black, ginger and white I was born with is quite attractive. Apparently, my personality was a constant source of delight to my human staff, because they fussed and played with me endlessly.

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The smaller, female human was gone most days, leaving me to spend time with the male. She was a good staff person, making sure my food supply was adequate, brushing me, and adept at learning the games I enjoyed. However, on occasion she did some things that were not so good; trimming my nails and, worst of all, putting me into the small container and then on those horrible, horrible car rides to the vet. I did my best to train her, but she is not that bright, and no matter how many times I showed my dissatisfaction she never learned. I’d watch her cleaning up my lessons and wonder how she could be so dense; but then, I’ve never fully understood humans and expect I never will.

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The larger, male human was home the most. That was a good thing, because he was the more trainable. I am proud of all the games I taught him; there are too many to list here, but I will tell you about one, the door game. If I walked over to the door and looked at it, he would jump up to open it, allowing me to wander out on the balcony. Once I tired of being outside, all I had to do was stare at the door, and he would once again open it for me. He performed very well. I would sometimes test his ability by going in and out repeatedly, and no matter how short of a time period there was between requests, he was always right there to open the door for me.

His obvious worship of me extended beyond the simple tricks I taught him. He got up early every morning to come downstairs and give me fresh food and water. He was always willing to spend time stroking and petting me, and was a great nap companion. During my more active moods, I could get him to play games of touch your nose, hunt your foot, or stalk your hand (my personal favorite). Yes, I had the perfect life. I realize that, now that it has changed.

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Slightly over a year ago, there was a very bad morning. The usual routine was for the male to come downstairs and take care of me. The female would follow later, with wet hair and smelling of soap, and be handed a cup of coffee by the male (he took care of her as well as me). This very bad morning, none of that happened. My house was rudely intruded upon by a group of strangers. Not only were they loud and very scary, not one of them showed the slightest interest in me, obviously the most wonderful being in the house. They were only interested in the male, and ended up taking him with them. The female human followed them a few minutes later. I was completely ignored: no food, no fresh water.

It was unforgivable.

For the next month the male was gone, the female was hardly ever home, and my routine was completely disrupted. It was a living hell; let me tell you. The female paid only the most cursory attention to me.

They say you never realize what you have until it’s gone, and I have learned how true a saying that is. It’s been a year now, and my life has changed for the worse. The male never did come back; it is just the female and I now. My food bowl stays empty longer in the morning, and I am alone during the day. She never was as trainable as the male.

I miss him, a lot. I think she does as well, but it’s so hard to tell with humans; they just don’t act in a manner that makes sense.

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