“She owns you, and she knows it.”
That’s what my husband said to me last night while I was battling with Brandy over burning her little kitty face off.
You see, suddenly, Brandy has become enamored with our stovetop and sink. She’s never cared about the sink or stove before in her 14 years, but now there’s this behavior problem — suddenly the sink and stove are THE kitty cat hotspot (groan, I know). Every time I rinse something off in the sink or cook something on the stove, Brandy is right there perched on the recycling bin next to the fridge, complaining and threatening to hop up on the hot cooking surface. I suspect she’s figured out that this is where the food comes from, so she’s determined to enter the promised land.
Understandably this freaks me out. I am terrified that she’s going to burn her face or paws. In the name of cat care I would move my food prep area to a less hazardous location, but I have almost ZERO counter space in my tiny apartment so I’m a little stuck. So what do I do? I’ve tried three tactics:
- Build a barricade. I don’t really have much to build a barricade with, but I was able to construct a reasonable barrier using a teapot, some tupperware, and some cans.
- Battle the beast. I’m sure you all know this game. It involves repeatedly removing your cat from the danger zone and placing her in the “safe zone,” such as your bed or on your work documents.
- Standoff. I watch her. She watches me. We each wait for the other to make a move. The stove cools off, I win. This is the only tactic that has really worked so far.
Luckily Brandy is like a teenager, in that she goes through phases. Phases, like her brief love affair with the toilet plunger, that generally don’t last more than a week or two, provided I make the phase as annoying as possible for her.
But my husband is right, she does own me, and I know full well that it’s my fault. I allow her to torture me. Why? I have no better argument than because sometimes her torture is just SO DARN CUTE. Here are a few more ways in which Brandy exerts her dominance over me.
1. Oh, did you want to sleep in my bed?
I’ve always struggled with insomnia. Lately, I’ve struggled with the mighty triumvirate of insomnia plus jet lag plus the Cold That Won’t Die.
Typically when I can’t sleep I just get up and putter around. But feeling as crappy as I have, I’ve been staying in bed and desperately trying to doze off. Unless Brandy gets there first.
Not only is Brandy an immovable force once she is tucked in for the night, but she’s so purringly content, all curled up warm and toasty (she gets so cold in her old age), I just can’t bear to move her for my stupid legs. So I try to sleep around her — at an angle or curled up in a quarter of the bed.
I know how ridiculous this sounds. I should probably just move her but … I can’t. I just love seeing her looking so happy and like a little cat-loaf. My current defense is getting to bed before her.
2. Move aside, I have some work to do
Brandy has work to do, and I keep getting in her way. Or so it seems.
Ever since we moved to Japan, and I’ve started working at home full time, she’s become fascinated with my computer. More so than ever. Her most charming habit is that she likes to “type,” or try to type, when I’m typing.
I’ll be sitting at my computer, writing an email or article, when a little kitty paw will dart across the screen and tap at the keyboard. Or I’ll turn away from the keyboard for a second and she’ll have “edited” my work.
To date, Brandy has not only edited emails and articles, but also SENT emails, taken a screen shot, forced me to learn how to recover documents on various publishing platforms, and given my delete key a workout.
Again, I could probably stop this behavior if I was just firmer about “cat zone” versus “people zone.” But as much as I try to push her away and take control of my computer, I have to admit that her antics make me laugh and make my work day a little more interesting. Plus sometimes emails that say things like, “Our target audience”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””jkyuderz┼¥╬®” amuse me more than they probably should.
3. What’s mine is hers
Brandy isn’t the only one who gets cold here in Japan. Yokohama is the first place I’ve lived in years that actually has what one could reasonably call a winter. Once the temperature dropped below 65, I knew I was in trouble.
So, in order to actually be able to work during the day instead of just shivering and whining, I bought a space heater; lots of thick, cozy socks (I rarely wore socks in Hawai’i); and a fluffy blanket to throw over my lap during the day.
Ha. I don’t how I thought I could hang onto that blanket. As soon as Brandy saw that it was something I liked and cherished, she claimed it as hers. Like my mustard-colored sweater, my lap blanket was forfeited to the kitty cause.
She kneads and drools and snuggles into that blanket every day now. Adorably mocking me.
As I type this, Brandy is peering at me from over the top of my computer screen, daring me to remove my hands from the keys for a second to blow my sniffly nose. I’m holding out, but something tells me she’ll probably win in the end.
How do you let your cat boss you around? What have you given up to your cat? Tell us in the comments!
Read more by Louise Hung:
- How Do You Deal With Your Cat Getting Older?
- Living With a Cat in a Tiny Apartment: How I Make It Work
- Does Your Cat Have a Secret Life?
- Is Your Cat Your Insomnia Buddy?
About the author: Louise Hung is a morbidly inclined cat lady living in Yokohama, Japan, with her cat, her man, and probably a couple ghost cats. She also writes for xoJane. You can follow her on Twitter or drop her a line at IamLouiseMicaela [at] gmail.com.