The other day, I was sitting on my couch with a tiny psychopath screaming at me. He wanted me to give him attention so he could bite my hand. At some point, this has stopped being an abnormal occurrence in my house – about three and a half years ago, in fact, when I adopted my cat Loki.
Now, here’s a thing about me. I grew up with dogs. I love dogs. My first word, before mama or dada, was pointing at a man walking his dog and shouting “doggie!” in excitement, which my parents absolutely loved. I will run across the highway to pet a strange dog. During rush hour.
Conversely, as a child, I was terrified of cats. My first ever encounter with a cat involved cornering a neighbor’s cat then thinking it was cute how the cat puffed up and made a hissing noise, followed by a great deal of crying when it turned out that cats was made of fifty percent floof and two thousand percent knives and hatred.
That all changed with my first roommate post college. He had adopted a kitten, and I decided I was going to get over my fear. If you can picture a two-hundred pound twenty-two year old man shaking at the approach of a three pound kitten, you’re picturing someone thirty pounds lighter than I was.
A year later, owing to how friggin adorable that cat was or the infection of toxoplasmosis that probably infected my brain, I decided I had to have my own ball of fluffy murder.
I love my tiny psychopath. But I’ve learned that life with a cat requires some changes. So, without any further ado, here’s more pictures of my cat along with X things I learned from living with a cat.
Kitty gets pets when kitty wants
Again, growing up, I was used to dogs. With dogs that are used to you, if you want to pet the dog, the dog is going to be thrilled. It doesn’t matter when you do, you are going to have a stupidly happy animal.
Cats do not work on the same logic. If you pet a cat when they do not want to be pet, you are basically playing russian roulette with your intact flesh. Dogs only have one dangerous end, their mouths. Cats have knives for teeth, razor blades on the end of their paws, and I’m sure if they could would love to have a scorpion stinger in their tail just so they have more ways to murder.
Let sleeping cats lie. If the cat wants to be pet, they have ways of letting you know. They might walk near you and lay on their backs. They might make soft meows or purr. Or, if they are Loki, they might hop directly onto your chest and scream in your face until you stop what you’re doing..
The language of cats is a subtle thing.
That being said…there is absolutely no feeling better than petting a purring cat.
Straight lines no longer exist.
Let me tell you a story to explain this part. I had my sister over a few months ago, a fairly rare occurrence for me since she’s fairly allergic to Loki, but braved the allergen zone for some of my homemade mac and cheese. We were talking, the music was playing, and Loki was nowhere to be found. I get up and prepare to walk the three feet from my kitchen table to the oven.
Halfway there, with no sound to warn me, I pause my step just as Loki dashes through the space I had been about to occupy. My sister, who owns an oversized rat she claims is a dog, gave me a wide-eyed stare. “How did you know that was going to happen?”
I shrugged. “You get used to it.”
See, it’s a fundamental force of nature, Newton’s little known fourth law of motion. “A human in motion will have its path impeded by a cat.” Living with a cat means that you do not travel in straight lines at a constant motion. You pause, you weave, you sidestep. You do all of these constantly, without even thinking of it, because you’d sooner eat a bag of nails than risk stepping on your furry overlord.
It turns even the simplest tasks into a fun little game of dodgecat. And I absolutely love it.
Cats enjoy terrifying you and accidentally calming you down.
I’ve mentioned before I have pretty bad anxiety. This means I absolutely have to be in the right headspace to watch a scary movie without someone to warn me about pending scares, otherwise a poorly timed jumpscare will trigger a full blown panic attack. As a result of this, I watch horror films fairly rarely. A few months ago was the last time I felt the urge to watch something. I don’t remember what it was.
Loki obliterated all memory of that with one incident.
I was sitting on my couch, leaning forward on the edge of my seat, as the Plucky Heroine™ walked down a hallway. Loki was on my end table, his tail whipping impatiently in the air. It’s one of those moments when you know there is going to be a jumpscare coming soon. The protagonist is walking slowly, the violins are tense. The protagonist reached for the door, and a monster jumped out from behind the door and bellowed something monstrous.
At the exact same moment, my lamp fell off the end table, giving me a minor heart attack. Loki had been so bored by my failure to pay attention to him, he decided to knock the lamp off at the exact moment of a jump scare. Given he’s never knocked that lamp over before or since, I am convinced that this was a deliberate attempt to get me to turn off the movie and lay down to calm myself down, allowing him to hop onto my chest and purr for attention.
It definitely worked.
On the flip side, when my anxiety decides there’s a ghost or evil demon haunting my house, I check Loki. He’s usually laying around asleep, or blocking the tv, or sitting in front of me and screaming for attention. None of these are behaviors that happen in horror movies. In horror movies, cats can always, always sense the evil and respond to it. They do not melt into puddles and sleep.
It helps more than you’d think.
Hope you enjoyed some tales of living with Loki! Next time, something funny but less cat-centric.
Have your own crazy cat stories? Let me know in the comments below. And don’t forget to get your free copy of Rumors here. In case you were wondering – yes, there is a cat in it. If you want more Loki pictures, follow me on Instagram.