On the whole, Americans love their personal space, and I am no exception. I’ve lived alone for five years, and while that certainly has its drawbacks (the single-lady fear of slipping in the bathtub, dying, and remaining undiscovered for days while your cats slowly feast on your corpse comes hurtling to mind), it also has many benefits. One of the most appealing parts of living alone, in my opinion, is privacy. I can do what I want when I want, and no one will question me.
But I also have cats, and “personal space” is a concept they are either unable or unwilling to grasp. Here are five ways my cats invade my privacy.
Cats’ fascination with the bathroom is well documented. I cannot get a moment in there alone — and if I try to close the door, one or both of them will sit outside and meow like they’re afraid I’m never coming out again.
Their wide, curious eyes watch me while I’m on the toilet, in the shower, doing my makeup, or trying to wrangle my hair into a presentable shape. When I’m brushing my teeth, Phoenix, a certified “stage-five clinger,” even insists on being held.
If my cats ever take my advice and get some damn jobs, I could probably start charging admission to this crap.
When my boyfriend and I are, uh, enjoying each other’s company, Phoenix insists on being part of the fun. She will plop her furry, rotund body down between us and start purring. Weirdly, I’m kind of fine with this — up to a point, at least.
Sometimes, after a long day, all I want to do is sit on the kitchen floor in my underwear in peace and cry while eating a Pop Tart. I just want to be alone — I need a little privacy.
But within 10 seconds of removing the wrapper, Bubba Lee Kinsey will be in my face, licking the Pop Tart, and Phoenix will be rubbing her scent glands along my thigh, dying to be held. Which is sweet, but dammit. A girl doesn’t always want company while she’s emoting and eating junk food.
I feel awkward enough watching myself put on a pair of skinny jeans in the mirror without any kind of audience, regardless of species. In my mind, the process is something like a snake shedding its skin in reverse. Trying to get them up and over my thighs, then buttoned, then stretched to the point where I can do things like sit and bend my knees — well, it’s not pretty, and it frequently involves swear words and squats and mental notes to go to the damn gym more often.
So it is inevitably uncomfortable when, at the apex of such a struggle, I turn around to see one or both of my cats staring at me, wide-eyed, as though I’m some kind of alien who has just sprouted a second head that’s announced they’ll never be getting any treats again, ever, no matter how good they are.
I almost want to say, “Uh, how much of this did you see?”
It happens to the best of us — we swear we’re going to push snooze JUST ONE MORE TIME, and then we’ll get up and go to work, WE SWEAR, just 10 more minutes. Then we wake up an hour later, and we were supposed to be at work 20 minutes ago, and CRAP CRAP CRAP.
Well, your cat sees all of this, and she knows that you didn’t really have a flat tire like you told your boss. She knows the truth — and she’s judging you.
About Angela: This not-crazy-at-all cat lady loves to lint-roll her favorite dress and go out dancing. She also frequents the gym, the vegan coffee joint, and the warm patch of sunlight on the living room floor. She enjoys a good cat rescue story about kindness and decency overcoming the odds, and she’s an enthusiastic recipient of headbutts and purrs from her two cats, Bubba Lee Kinsey and Phoenix.
More by Angela Lutz: