When did my house become a Stockholm?

There’s a cat that lives at my house. She’s chubby, fluffy and ginger. I was told that ginger cats are usually male, so she’s a little bit of an anomaly. I don’t know what her deal really is and I think the two of us are still sizing each other up. I’m pretty aloof when it comes to cat psychology, so I a) am not sure how to handle basically anything she does and b) don’t care a lot.

Sometimes she’ll meow loudly. Wait, often she’ll meow loudly. When my girlfriend moved in and this cat was a new tenant, she’d indiscriminately meow at any time of the day or night. She meowed a lot at night, anyway. She may have meowed during the daytime, but I wasn’t there to hear it. So did she really make a sound? She wasn’t my favourite person during that period. I understood her reaction a little: She’d been uprooted from her home of the past four years. She wasn’t satisfied with this action, but had no say in it either. In order to try and assert some form of protest, she’d vie for our attention whenever possible. You know, if someone lured me into a bag with promises of free drugs (catnip, in this case), then shoved me in a car and took me to a random new space, I’d get shitty too. Frankly, we probably got off lightly with some meowing.

We did some internet reading, which said she may be acting uppity because of a lack of activity. In her old house she was usually confined to a large room, but occasionally had the run of the whole house. There were more humans and some other cats to interact with. The new place is larger than her old room, but smaller than her old house. She used to be able to snuggle up on the bed while her owner slept. Unfortunately, if she slept on the bed I’d always have a shitty sleep. This was one thing while I was sleeping over at my girlfriend’s place, but I wasn’t about to sacrifice the ability to sleep well in my own bed for the sake of a cat’s peace of mind. Henceforth (seriously, how many chances do I get to use the word “henceforth”?) the bedroom door got closed at bedtime. I know, I’m the asshole here.

The site suggested doing multiple feedings a day, so we split her daily allocation of food into two sessions, one morning and one at night time. We got toys and would play with her before feeding. Just a couple of minutes to give her the illusion of hunting for her food. She now chases a little mouse on a string twice daily. I say chases, but sometimes she’ll just lay there in a lump looking at you quizzically. You’ll be all hey kitten, kill the thing. Don’t you remember when your species were hunters. Before humans noticed you had squishy foot pad things and took you as trophies? Don’t you want to relive your glory days when you felt like your life mattered? Yeah, me neither. Sometimes she’s filled with bloodlust and tries to rend the squeaky toy asunder. Other days her understanding of existence’s great futility mirrors my own.

Occasionally I think she’ll learn, but often her wilful obstinance astounds me. I picked up a scratching post from the side of the road. My girlfriend was concerned that the cat wouldn’t use it, that it’d smell too much like its previous cat. She figured hell, the smell of catnip was enough to kidnap her, maybe it’ll get her to rampage on this post. She brushed up against it once or twice, but no Wolverine style berserker rage. I tried grabbing her paws and rubbing them up and down on the post. She looked me dead in the eyes and mewled strange man, why are you doing this? First you take me from my home, than you take my moonlit affection. Must my punishment be more severe? I resist everything inside of me that implores me to put on a gravelly voice and intone “it’s a living.” She still scratches the painted white doorways, then looks at me plugging away on my computer. Shit eating grin on her face. Why do I feel like I’ve started a rivalry I can’t possibly win?

Every now and again she’ll come into a room and start meowing at me. I’ll meow back. She’ll meow louder, so I’ll increase my volume. After a few minutes of this I’ll stare at her, unmoving. She’ll continue to meow, but getting no response she quickly gets bored. I don’t know what I said with my meows, but I think we’re both sure we won the argument.

Living with a cat is weird, but I’m not sure if the cat or I find the arrangement weirder.


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