I used to foolishly think that the term “micromanager” applied only to humans. Then I got to know cats. The real epiphany came when I met my friend’s cat, Leo, one of the most amazing and obvious micromanagers I’ve ever met. He amused me so much that I began to see some of these qualities in my own cats. Here are six qualities of kitty micromanagers:
Maybe your cat reminds you of your mother, with eyes in the back of her head. This cat knows what you’re going to do before you do it, even before you know you’re going to do it. Scary but cool, too.
I first became aware of this clever cat strategy while observing Leo. He has a very deliberate habit of placing himself where he can keep his eyes on as many of his household members as possible, and with two adults, two young kids, and three other cats involved, that is no easy feat. But somehow Leo gracefully pulls it off.
He strategically sits in the center of all the action, and if the action moves, Leo moves as well. I’m not sure if he runs upstairs and downstairs to check on people when they’re on different floors, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he does. He’s that kind of an organized cat. It probably helps that his person is a super-organized manager as well. I think Leo might be helping her!
My orange tom Milo was much like this. Granted, we had a very small house at the time, so the cat could pretty much see all that was going on wherever he placed himself. But it seemed that Milo had a strategy. He was watching everyone. It wasn’t a matter of fear — Milo was No. 1 in our house. It was more like he was saying, “I like to know everything going on, thank you. I like to be able to keep you all in my sights.”
Leo lives in a complicated household with busy human members who have lots of activities. If one of the schedules is suddenly off, Leo notices. For example, if a school bus is late, or one of the kids is gone for a few days, Leo is visibly concerned. His world is temporarily rocked. My friend says that she can almost see Leo tapping his paw if the school bus is late, wondering where the heck his human companions are.
I’ve had two cats do this, and it always surprises me. I thought this guarding behavior was the territory of dogs. For example, when someone unfamiliar pulled into the driveway, I’ve heard a cat growl in warning.
Some cats are very fussy about the way service is presented to them, and the micromanager is no exception. The litter box must be placed a certain way and emptied each day, the food must be prepared to certain specs, etc., or you’ll hear about it. I have had two orange cats who loved their canned food fluffed up. They were less interested in it if I simply scooped it into a bowl. No, it had to be mashed, fluffed, made light and airy like a souffle. The micromanager is a very good trainer; they have trained me well.
You know these cats: “Drag the toy a certain way, or I won’t play!” “Clean my dish, or I won’t eat from it.”
Well, I suppose these demands are fair. I wouldn’t want to eat from a dirty, crusty dish. And games are fun when played correctly.
Maybe all cats have an inherent streak of micromanagement, though they probably wouldn’t call it that. That’s a human construct. To a cat, maybe what we’re really talking about is living a good, smoothly functioning, high-quality life with no surprises.
Does your cat remind you of a micromanager? Tell us how in the comments!
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About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of The Great Purr (cat fantasy novel out June 1), the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.