Editor’s Note: Brian’s article originally ran on Thought Catalog. We’re rerunning it here with his permission.
As some flatteringly loyal readers will recall, my beloved cat Cheese passed away recently. It was awful, and remains so, but things improved somewhat when I persuaded my girlfriend to bring her cat over for the weekend. And then, well, I refused to give him back. It’s a cat-napping, if you want to get cute about it, which obviously I do.
Henry the Cat has been here a few weeks now, and I have already successfully taught him to puke on the carpet AND eat turkey slices out of my sandwich. I’m kinda the Cesar Millan of housecats and their behavior.
Anyway, having a new cat in the house after that time alone allowed me to rediscover some of the charming and insane things we endure to keep our kitties happy. Here’s a far-from-complete list of every feline-sourced indignity we experience, with great thanks to Henry and Cheese. May we ever see the humor in their actions.
“Oh, don’t mind me! I’m just gonna scoop these balls of charcoal, poop, and piss out of this box and ÔÇª oops, got some on my hand! Well, that’s okay. It won’t happen again, I’ll just be extra careful … nope. Got more on my hand! Yippee! I am now covered with the only thing worse than cat pee: old cat pee. This pet thing is working out great!”
If the person you loved most in the world asked you to scoop her waste out of a box of dirt, you’d slap her in the face. But for a pet, we do it in exchange for a lap sit and a few face licks. Plus the occasional confused bite. And somehow, it’s all worth it.
“I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to loveÔÇö” AAAAAND my cat is licking her butt. Nothing ruins a perfect Julia Roberts smile or Sandra Bullock pratfall quite like your cat diving into its own hindquarters. And it’s never in the corner — it’s always right in front of the TV, as if he’s saying, “Sure, you’ve seen Notting Hill, but have you seen THIS?!”
And yet there is something transfixing about watching a cat lick his butt. He just goes right after it, without the tiniest bit of shame. If we could lick our bums, you know we wouldn’t commit fully. In the back of our minds, we’d be thinking, “Good God, is this horrendous. My mouth is on my rear end! Fine, I’ll do it, but just dabble. I’m just dabbling!” Not cats. I can’t decide whether that’s admirable or horrifying. Let’s move on ÔÇª
Henry eats plastic bags. And packing tape. And toilet paper. He’s a lunatic. It’s kinda cute at first, and I yell “Oh look, he’s playing!” until I realize he’s biting off large chunks of plastic and swallowing them down like roast beef.
So then I have to get up and try and fight the plastic bag away from him. You know life is turning out just the way you planned when you’re yelling “No! You’ll Get SICK!!” while you’re trying to pull an old Ralph’s bag out of a cat’s mouth at 10:30 on a Friday night. Especially when he gets defensive and bites you, just as you get it away from him. And then you feel bad and, for some reason, apologize. Sigh. Life is hard.
There’s nothing sweeter than a cat lick, in my opinion. Dogs will lick anything. Grab an old paper towel out of the garbage and a dog will lick it to shreds. Cats, however, are more discerning. (Please disregard previous paragraph about licks, butts.)
You feel like you’ve really earned something when a cat licks your face. It’s rough, but feels like genuine affection. Until you inhale and realize your cat just ate the fish mush you put on the floor for her dinner. And that means, along with kindness, you have just received a thin layer of processed fish parts all over your mug. Yippee?!
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a human to be naked in bed, your cat will always want to join in. And cuddle. Even though I fail to see the pleasure in cuddling up to a big naked thigh. It’s uncomfortable, but cats don’t really get uncomfortable about anything (Please reregard previous paragraph about licks, butts.)
Then, just because he knows it will creep you out, his tail starts wandering all over the place. The whole deal. Then he looks at you like, “What? Oh, that makes you uncomfortable? Kinda like when you removed my sexual organs altogether, right?” Touche, cat boob toucher, touche.
Most cats seem to think going to the bathroom is a public activity. Possibly because we stick their toilets in an open closet, then say hello to them peeing while we read a magazine. But every cat I’ve had likes to be present for bathroom activities, and let me tell you, nothing makes you reconsider how you’re performing bodily functions like a withering look from your kitty cat. “Oh, that’s how you do it? Chump.”
Henry, however, likes to sit on your lap. While you’re on the toilet. And stare dreamily in your eyes, as if you’re doing something infinitely more romantic than what you’re actually doing. It’s disgraceful, but such is the lifestyle we have chosen. Kitty cats, forever and ever.
Other stories about our feline overlords:
Brian Donovan has written for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, NPR, Chappelle’s Show, CNN, Fox News, and Comedy Central, and can be seen regularly making fun of famous people for no reason on Vh1. He lives in Los Angeles and takes orders from his cat. You can buy his ebook, Not A Match: My True Tales of Online Dating Disasters, on Amazon or iTunes.