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6 House Rules for Living with Me, as Defined by My Cats

If I got another cat, these are the things they'd tell him during his secret initiation ceremony.

 |  Jun 27th 2013  |   7 Contributions


My cats are ages 8, 11, and 12, and they've all lived with us since they were kittens. Over the years, we've established a groove that works for us. It's kind of like being married or living with a partner for a number of years -- you feel super-comfortable together and become accustomed to one another's quirks and routines. You can walk around in your underwear with no makeup and grunt-speak until you've had your first cup of coffee and you know the other person isn't going to judge you.

With cats it's the same thing -- you can totally be yourself and they learn to follow your routine and know, for the most part, what to expect from you (and how to push your buttons and manipulate you). And you come to discover what to expect from them as well.

Phoebe just finished reviewing the rules with Cosmo, who's sauntering off to let them sink in.

If a new cat joined the family, we'd be starting at square one, getting to know one another. That's OK and completely expected, but it's like getting a new pair of shoes. The old ones are so comfortable and fit you to a T and the new ones will, too -- you just have to walk around in them for a while first. 

If we added another kitty to our family, I'm certain my three would invite him to a secret meeting and go over all the rules he'd need to know in order to live with me. Here are six of them, as explained by my cats. 

1. Sleep close to her, but not too close

Cosmo: "She says sleeping too close to her will set her aflame. No way are we going to set the food-bringer on fire."

She says she gets especially warm at night and that's true. She's constantly tossing the covers on and off -- we can't imagine anyone having trouble with sleep, but whatever. The woman is so confusing. She wants us to sleep on the bed with her, but not too close because our bodies are "little heaters." We have no official idea what "too close" is -- it's all trial and error. Over the years, we've found that the end of the bed is a safe spot, but she really likes us to lie within her reach so she can touch us at her leisure during the night. Apparently, she's allowed to have boundaries, but we're not. 

2. Don't walk across the laptop or TV remote control

Phoebe: "Not touching your keyboard."

For some unknown reason, she freaks out when we walk across the laptop or TV remote control. We have no idea why, but have found we stay in her good graces and are better positioned for treats when we avoid these mystery items. 

3. Keep staring -- she'll give you more treats

Stare tactics.

She always has the best treats and is pretty generous with them. After one round of goodies, she starts to put them back into the pantry. Guess what, if we happen to catch her eye, stare and look especially cute, she'll come through with another serving. It's sort of like when a band leaves the stage at a concert -- everyone screams and makes a fuss and, of course, they return for an encore. Yeah, we've heard her talk about all these concerts to which we're never invited.

4. Just cooperate and she'll put the camera away

Phoebe: "Just do this right away."

If you're gonna stick around, there's one thing you have to know: She takes photos of us, and lots of them. We've found that if we fight it or look away from the camera, the whole process takes forever and seriously cuts into our precious nap time. If you just look cute or do something moderately funny, she'll usually snap a few shots and be off your back in a matter of seconds.

5. She sings and dances with us -- just humor her

Even in 1986 I danced inside my house. And my hair was way cooler.

This woman likes to dance ... and sing. Oh geez, does she sing. And not well. For whatever reason, she wants to involve us in her little shows. She makes up songs about each of us and holds us over her shoulder when she's dancing around the kitchen. At least then we cats can make faces at each other. I think Cosmo likes it, though -- he's a real mama's boy.

Cosmo: "The Smiths again? I'm starting to get depressed."

6. If she sleeps in, start knocking things over

Cosmo: "That set of keys looks noisy."

The good news is she's usually an early riser and feeds us "on time," as she calls it. We don't know what that exactly means, but it's never quite early enough for our liking. On occasion, she sleeps in and that's completely irritating and selfish. Here's a tip: If you walk across the kitchen counter or her dresser and start swatting random items so they fall over, she'll immediately get out of bed. She won't be happy, but we'll be fed within minutes.

What rules for living with you would your cat write? Tell us about them in the comments!

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About the Author: Angie Bailey is a goofy girl with freckles and giant smile who wants everyone to be her friend. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, and thinking about cats doing people things. Wrote a ridiculous humor book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that may or may not offend people. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.

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