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Does Your Cat Terrorize Your Mail Carrier?

Olive is the bitiest, scratchiest kitten ever, but in a 12-pound body -- why wouldn't she be in trouble with the U.S. Postal Service?

 |  Mar 24th 2014  |   16 Contributions


My cat Olive loves the mail. For the most part, I couldn't care less about it, since I get mostly catalogs and rent statements, but for Olive it's the most exciting part of the day. When Olive hears steps on the porch, she stops whatever she's doing, whether it's chewing through a brand new pair of headphones or knocking everything off my dresser, and races to the door. The mail carrier shoves a pile of papers through my slot and Olive bats at the mail with her paws, then eventually tries to pull it out of the slot with her teeth.

How much damage can one little cat do through a mail slot?

I've always found this routine adorable, and I naively assumed letter carriers must as well, until the fateful day I received a stern letter from the U.S. Postal Service.

Dear Postal Customer,
On November 26, 2013, your cat reached through the mail slot and scratched your letter carrier. Please help protect the letter carrier by restraining your cat or blocking the cat from having access to the mail slot. Should this happen again we will ask that you install a mailbox on the outside of your house next to the mail slot. The Postal Service strives to provide consistent, safe and reliable mail service. We must also ensure the safety and well-being of our employees.

My cat was terrorizing letter carriers. My cat was a menace to society. My cat had to be restrained from injuring federal employees. The U.S. Postal Service has enough to deal with: unflattering uniforms, budget woes and now, Olive, possibly the worst-behaved cat ever. 

The letter surprised me a little bit, because who knew Olive could fit her paw through the mail slot? But if any cat was going to be terrorizing innocent letter carriers just trying to do their jobs through rain, snow sleet or hail, it was her. Sometimes she attacks me when I'm not doing anything. Sometimes she attacks me when I'm sleeping. If she is physically capable of destroying something, she'll do it. She is basically the bitiest, scratchiest kitten ever, but in a 12-pound body. Why wouldn't she be in trouble with the U.S. Postal Service? As I thought about it more, I was surprised that Olive wasn't in trouble with more government agencies.

Olive in her cat tree, looking adorable but probably planning her next assault on the mail carrier.

For a moment I was annoyed that a little cat scratch was such a big deal (my hand was bleeding from Olive's earlier attack and I wasn't making a big deal of it!) but I quickly realized I was being heartless. Cat scratches can get infected and people should have safe working environments. I would have to figure out a way to prevent my terror of a cat from striking again.

So far I've thought of following solutions:

1. Keeping Olive out of the living room

I live in a pretty small apartment, and the only way to do this would be to shut her in my bedroom all day. She would tear down the door. Not an option.

2. Install some sort of thing over the mail slot

Seems like a lot of work. Also I'm afraid of putting screws in my door -- what if I lose my deposit when I move out? OK, mostly it seems like a lot of work.

3. Tape some sort of makeshift cardboard thing over the mail slot

Olive would just tear it down and eat it, though. She's a monster.  

4. Install a mailbox

Also seems like a lot of work, and requires money, of which I have very little. And I would probably have to ask my landlord, and my landlord is worst, so let's just avoid this one.

Olive and Agnes are BFFs. Maybe Agnes can have a word with the Postal Service on Olive's behalf.

5. Get a P.O. box

While maybe it would be fun to turn collecting bills and catalogs into an hour-long adventure, I think I'll pass.

6. Accept that my cat is evil and just get rid of her

OK readers, calm down, I'm kidding. She is evil but she's mine, because who else in their right mind would want her? (Um, if you want her, let me know in the comments. If you have a mailbox, a full suit of armor and don't care about any of your belongings, it could be a perfect match!) 

7. Leave a note apologizing for my demon cat and asking the mail to be left behind the screen door

This is the route I've chosen. It is almost as lazy as not doing anything at all, though I did have to find tape, which took a while. But I put the note up a while ago and so far, my mail has still been put in the mail slot. Is the letter carrier a masochist? Does the risk of being attacked by Olive add some excitement to her day? Is she concerned that someone might steal my latest Anthropologie catalog? Perhaps more likely, is it completely again postal regulation for mail to be left somewhere other than a mail slot or official mail box? And of course, the most important question: Will Olive be a repeat offender? 

Does anyone else have a cat as crazy as mine? Has your cat ever gotten in trouble with the federal government? If you cat hasn't, do you want to trade? Please let me know in the comments.

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