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5 Ways My Cat Expresses Her Distaste for Houseguests

Brandy hates to share the bathroom -- and the couch, the bed, the hallway, the kitchen ...

Louise Hung  |  Feb 19th 2015


My best friend, Joy, is coming to Japan! And while I’m downright giddy, planning trips to all the cat cafes and “weird Japan” places for us to visit, I know that one member of my household isn’t exactly thrilled to have a houseguest.

That would be Brandy.

You see, Brandy hates houseguests. Even though she likes Joy more than most, I suspect Joy’s welcome will be quickly outworn.

The quintessential Brandy vs. Houseguest story comes from when Brandy and my husband were living the single life in Los Angeles.

My husband’s friend Sam moved to L.A., and he needed a place to crash. They were straight out of college at the time and living the struggling artist life. (Brandy refers to those times as “the dark years.”) So Sam slept on an air mattress in Brandy’s living room for a couple months.

Brandy did not like Sam in her living room. She’d keep him up all night and wake him up early. She’d hiss at him all the time (especially when he tried to go to the bathroom). She popped not one but THREE air mattresses. My husband says that the third one was a “meow-by popping.” The guys inflated the new mattress, Brandy came screeching into the living room, jumped on it, popped it, and skittered off.

Sam took to sleeping on the floor.

More than 10 years and two more air mattresses later, Brandy still loathes houseguests. And while I can’t wait for Joy to be here, I’m fully aware that in such a small apartment, Brandy’s tactics for expressing her distaste for houseguests may be amplified.

So here are some of Brandy’s “Don’t you think it’s time to go home?” tactics. My only hope is that with her senior years comes maturity, comes wisdom, comes — oh, who am I kidding.

You’ll sleep when I tell you to sleep

No matter where a houseguest sleeps, it tends to irk Brandy.

The way she sees it, nobody asked her permission, so she has every right to interrogate a houseguest ALL NIGHT LONG. I do supply earplugs to guests.

Maybe it’s a new-smelling body snoring in her space, but no matter where a houseguest lays their head, Brandy becomes a sleep-seeking missile.

“You’re sleeping? Are you? Are you? Are you? Let’s talk. Okay? Okay? Okay? Why are you here? I smell a cat. Do you have a cat? Do you? Do you? Want to scratch my face? My chin? My butt? What if I put my butt in your face like this? Does this help? Does it? Does it? Does it? DON’T TOUCH ME! STOP IT! STOP IT! … Are you awake? Are you? Are you?”

And on and on it goes. Brandy’s sleep deprivation tactics are the stuff of Bond villains.

Who said you could walk around?

With her progressively foggier eyesight, Brandy is not a cat you should sneak up on.

By sneaking up, I mean don’t walk next to her if she’s in a bad mood. Or don’t pass by her when it’s feeding time. Or just don’t walk around the apartment at all when she’s not feeling it.

Otherwise you’ll be swatted at, claws out.

With houseguests, Brandy’s crankiness magnifies. She’ll perch on the bed or on a table and lie in wait for the offending guest to dare walk by. Hiss! Swat! Blood!

I’ve witnessed her selectively swat at houseguests while leaving her minions (me, my husband, our former roommate aka Brandy’s Jester) alone. Many a guest have left with a scabby little “souvenirs” from Brandy Land.

Oh, did you like those shoes?

Since getting her diet on the right track, Brandy isn’t a big barfer.

Of course, she coughs up the occasional hairball, but she tends to keep them in “Hairball Alley,” a little storage nook in the corner of our apartment. However, if we’re due for punishment, it’s in our shoes.

This courtesy — akin to a mint on your pillow — extends doubly to houseguests. When guests visit, I’m always wary if Brandy is due for her monthly hairball. If she is, and a guest forgets to hide his or her shoes (or socks, or purse, or hat) at night, odds are that at some point Brandy will “express her dissatisfaction with them,” right into those new leather loafers.

I am the terror that meows at night

Our friend Alex once stayed with us. At around 3 a.m. we heard a shout and a hiss from the living room.

As I stumbled into the living room, Brandy darted past me into our bedroom. I saw Alex sitting up on the couch, dazed, bathed in bright light from the streetlamp.

“Wha?” I slurred.

“Brandy. I was sleeping, I felt something tickling my nose and I heard her meow. Figuring she wanted some scratches, I reached for her but couldn’t find her. Then I opened my eyes, and she was sitting an inch from my face, STARING AT ME — eyes wide and wild. It scared the crap out of me! I yelped, she hissed. Your cat is scary.”

It’s psychological warfare my friend, Brandy’s forte. I hope Joy is a heavy sleeper.

Find your own bathroom

Brandy has always had a thing about the bathroom.

Maybe it’s the cool tile floors, the occasionally drippy faucet, or that it’s private and perfect for a laboratory. Whatever it is, sometimes she gets a little “possessive” of the bathroom in her home. Especially with guests.

I’ve seen her sit in the doorway to a bathroom, yowling and swatting at a guest who tries to enter. If they do manage to get past her, she’ll often follow them in, claws out and swinging. If they get her out, she’ll sit outside the door and employ her patented “MeowOWowOWowOW” until they exit.

I’m not going to lie, I find this kind of amusing.

Luckily, most of my houseguests have been cat lovers or just flat-out afraid of Brandy. Despite her often infuriating antics, it’s hard for anybody not to see the humor in the situation. And even though I sometimes give her a “stern talking to,” Brandy knows she has me (and my houseguests) wrapped around her little paw.

How does your cat deal with houseguests? Do your guests get any “special” treatment? Tell us in the comments!

Read more by Louise Hung:

About the author: Louise Hung is a morbidly inclined cat lady living in Yokohama, Japan, with her cat, her man, and probably a couple ghost cats. She also writes for xoJane. You can follow her on Twitter or drop her a line at IamLouiseMicaela [at] gmail.com.