Behavior Matters: 5 Bad Habits My Cats Should Give Up for Lent

It's a great excuse for my cats to eat less, respect my boundaries, and be a little less disgusting.


As far as I can tell, Lent involves giving up something you love and enjoy from Fat Tuesday until Easter — going without sugar for a month, for instance, or not eating meat on Fridays. I am not religious, but I look at Lent in the same light as New Year’s resolutions; that is, I think any arbitrary date is a good choice when it comes to making a positive change in my life. Yesterday, for example, I deleted the Facebook app from my phone. (Talking about deleting Facebook makes me want to post a status update about deleting Facebook — yeah, I have a problem.)

My cats, however, need to make some changes, like, yesterday. Lent seems to be the perfect excuse for them to work on eating less, respecting my boundaries, and generally being a little less disgusting. Here are five habits they should consider eliminating from their repertoire until further notice.

I know Bubba Lee Kinsey looks perfect — but trust me, there’s always room for improvement.

1. Sleeping in the dirty laundry

As a general rule, if I can’t find Bubba Lee Kinsey around the house, that usually means he is curled up in the tightest little ball and buried in my boyfriend’s dirty laundry. In our house, Bubba is the nap-time pioneer, sleeping in unexpected places such as in dresser drawers, on the kitchen table, and on the floor directly in front of the heater. When Phoenix looks upon his invention and sees that it is good, she usurps the spot, forcing Bubba to continue his exploration.

I often remind my boyfriend how hilarious it is that there’s a living creature in our house who would rather sleep in his dirty underwear than anywhere else.

Phoenix relaxes amidst my boyfriend’s dirty clothes.

2. Eating too many treats

I suppose I am as much to blame here as the cats. I simply cannot resist the charm of a wide-eyed kitty purring and pawing at my leg, begging for a piece of bacon. I try to be prudent and give Bubba Lee Kinsey kitty treats instead of human food, but his adorable face almost always convinces me he should have one more. Just one more. Wait — just one more. What the hell, he should probably have some bacon, too. And before I know it, Bubba is barfing on the recliner or the shag rug — almost always the most difficult places in the house to clean.

Okay, I’ll admit it — this one is my fault. Bubba is a master manipulator. Just trust me on this.

Bubba Lee Kinsey wants to eat some yogurt — and my soul.

3. Monopolizing the electric blanket

I’ve spent the majority of winter hiding beneath the amazing electric blanket my mom got me for Christmas. I’m not gonna lie — I thought of the cats when I received the gift. “Oh, this will be really nice for Bubba Lee Kinsey’s arthritis,” I thought, perpetually aware of my 13-year-old gray tabby’s needs. “He can sit on it when I’m not using it.”

Here’s the issue: Now that the cats have discovered the majesty of the heated blanket, they want to use it all the time. It’s not uncommon to find them both sprawled on top of it, looking as though they’re about to melt like sticks of butter. Of course, I don’t have the heart to move them. Oh, well — we make it work.

My cats love the electric blanket. This is a problem, because I love it too.

4. Licking plastic bags

Phoenix has a bad habit of licking anything plastic until every square inch of the material is covered in her saliva. I do not see the appeal, other than to annoy me with the crisp crackling of her sandpaper tongue raking across a grocery bag while Better Call Saul is on. I also know that engaging in dangerous plastic-licking behavior puts Phoenix at greater risk for this:

5. Not respecting boundaries

Every morning when I get out of bed, it’s all but guaranteed that either Phoenix or Bubba Lee Kinsey (sometimes both) will harass me for snuggles while I’m on the toilet, wanting to sit on my lap while I’m, uh, in the middle of things. I guess it’s kind of touching, in a weird way, that they simply cannot wait until I’m in a more appropriate position to address their needs. On the other hand, it would be neat to poop without an audience.  

I will literally get in line to snuggle with these cats. Just give me a minute.

What do your cats need to give up for Lent? Tell me in the comments!

Read more by Angela Lutz:

About Angela: This not-crazy-at-all cat lady loves to lint-roll her favorite dress and go out dancing. She also frequents the gym, the vegan coffee joint, and the warm patch of sunlight on the living room floor. She enjoys a good cat rescue story about kindness and decency overcoming the odds, and she’s an enthusiastic recipient of headbutts and purrs from her two cats, Bubba Lee Kinsey and Phoenix.

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