Ah, the joys of sharing your home with a cat. The late night snuggles, the comfort when you’re feeling down, the kitty kisses, the perfect sound of happy cats quietly gobbling down their food, the hilarity that ensues when catnip meets cat toy — these are things that make cat life so delightful to me, and worth every hairball.
But as every cat parent knows, the hairballs and such are also a part of life. For every adorable pill-bug-impression greeting at the door, there are scratched-to-tatters couch pillows and sweaters with hair so deeply intertwined with the fibers that no amount of lint rolling or washing will ever render it cat-hairless.
And that’s okay. At some point you have to throw up your hands and say, “Fine kitty! You win!” When I look at my cat-lady life, I’m amazed at the things in my home I’ve surrendered to my cat’s “needs.”
So, as I’ve slowly started taking stock of my home to get ready for a huge move, it’s become ridiculously apparent how much of my home has been claimed for kitty-kind.
Here is a quick tally my former possessions that have gone to the cats. I’m sure if you look around your home, you’ll find that you too are simply living in service of your cat’s whims.
I used to have two pillows on my bed. One of which was a fancy memory-foam pillow, which my husband gave me for my birthday. I loved that pillow.
Noticed I said “loved.”
That pillow now belongs to Brandy. She claimed it last year when I was in St. Louis for a month for work. When I came back I found my pillow covered in cat hair and my husband looking guilty.
“One night she decided she wanted to sleep on your pillow, and I couldn’t get it away from her. She bit me!” He held up his hand to show some scratches and what he claims was a bite mark in a bid for sympathy. “I think she missed you?” he offered, trying to assuage the loss of my favorite pillow.
But he was right. When I tried to reclaim my pillow I was met with hisses and the big saucer-like “crazy eyes” I’ve grown so accustomed to when Brandy has decided something is HERS. I’ve long since given up on that pillow, and it now lives on the floor next to our bed, where Brandy likes it.
Tailsy loves the bathtub. It’s her domain.
She’s not the first cat I’ve had who likes the cool surface and high sides of the tub, but her claim of the tub goes beyond a mere fondness.
Removing her from the tub often requires negotiation, dodging of claws, and if I’m running late for work, a quick grab with a towel. Tailsy is usually the most timid, sweetest girl, but something about the bathtub brings out the panther in my little black cat.
On my more than one occasion I’ve been late for work because Tailsy will not vacate the bathtub so I can take a shower. One even more occasions, I’ve decided to just be dirty and avoid the bathtub altogether.
My friend Bill has an immaculate, trendy loft apartment. His home epitomizes the saying, “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” That includes his cat, Lisa.
Lisa is a perfectly content kitty, but she knows her limits. Like the coffee table. If she even makes a move to hop up on it to sniff at his takeout meal, Bill just has to give a quick “Hey!” and down she goes to sit at his feet. I don’t know how he does this.
Not so in my apartment.
The coffee table is a favorite lounge spot. Any mail, pens, phones, and remote controls will get knocked to the floor if one of the cats decides it is in the way of her comfort. Of course we didn’t exactly help things since, upon moving to Honolulu, Brandy decided she would only drink from a glass of water on the coffee table. So that is where she drinks, and that is where the cats hang out while we watch TV at night.
Forget about leaving food, especially cheese or fish, unattended. We might as well offer up our meals on a platter to them.
And they take full advantage of this.
Okay, obviously the cats still permit us to move (semi) freely across the floor. But my husband and I have learned to negotiate that floor with care, especially in the morning or night.
When I first get up, I always check the side of my bed carefully before swinging my feet over the edge and trudging to the bathroom. If I’m not careful, there is a good chance that I’ll find myself with a foot sticky with hairball or, if I’ve slept in late, a piece of raw chicken meat.
Somehow, the area around my bed has become the place to barf up hairballs. I can’t count how many times I’ve felt that familiar squish, then had to hop to the bathroom to wash the goop off my foot.
In the case of the raw chicken, sometimes on the weekend my husband will get up early and feed the girls before I get up. For some reason, Brandy and now recently Tailsy will carry chunks of their raw chicken food to nosh on at the foot of our bed. This only happens when I sleep in. I’m pretty sure I’m being punished.
Beyond the “gifts” around the bed, we’ve learned that walking near the girls (so anywhere in the kitchen) while they are eating will result in warning glares or even cranky, hissy swats, and if Tailsy is watching “her TV” (the world outside the screen door), it’s best to give her a wide berth. The view of the “jungle” out there brings out her inner beast, and I’ve more than once been scolded if I walk to close.
These things, combined with the fact that I’ve developed mutant “cat litter sensors” on the soles of my feet, remind me that while I pay rent for the floor we walk on, it is not mine at all.
When Brandy gets mad at me she steals my socks.
If I’m foolish enough to leave my clean laundry on my bed for too long, not only will a pile be converted into a most excellent kitty “fort,” but more than likely a sock or two will go missing.
I’ll see Brandy batting one of my little ankle socks around, her favorite lamb toy jealous of the attention. And if I’m not able to rescue it soon enough, I’ll likely find it buried in the littler box. She started this behavior a few years ago when she got mad at me for going out of town, and I guess she got a kick out of it, because it’s been happening ever since.
And it goes without saying, I’ve given up ever having clothes that aren’t at least partially covered in cat hair. If I can get just the front mostly cat hair free, I consider it a victory.
It doesn’t help that most of my clothes are black. More often that I’d care to admit, I’ve shown up to a formal party with some “accessories” from Brandy (thank God Tailsy is black!). Occasionally, someone will make a HILARIOUS remark, “Well, SOMEONE has a cat.” At this point there’s nothing I can do but shrug, pretend to cough up a hairball if the mood is right, and sashay over to the bar.
I’m sure you can relate to this list — and I’m sure you have some to add. Tell me what what you’ve given up to the cat-cause in the comments!
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