Cats know when you don’t like them; at least, that’s what I’ve been told.
Apparently they can tell if you’re a non cat-lover, perhaps using their animal instincts to detect subtle changes in your chemical signature, or by picking up on your body language or tone of voice.
Perhaps it’s the constant lashing out with a boot that gives you away.
Whatever method they use to detect your indifference the fact remains; once they do find out your life will never be the same.
Once they know they will take every opportunity to get you to engage with them. They’ll wrap around your legs, or jump onto your lap, or even try and sneak into your bed. Sometimes they’ll sit there, staring you down, and at other times they’ll reach up with their claws and grab your pants.
The first time I visited my girlfriend’s home I was introduced to Mr. Yin, her black and white cat. He was one of a pair of kittens she had rescued from the local pound some ten years earlier, but who now had the whole place to himself.
Mr. Yin had become tired of the shared living arrangements and decided it would be best if his brother, Mr. Yang, lived elsewhere. Repeated beatings reinforced this message, resulting in Mr. Yang moving across the road where he still lives today.
Now, I’ve never really liked cats, and my lack of enthusiasm regarding her feline companion was obvious, reinforced when I said, “I don’t like cats – they kill birds.”
You see; I live in a bushland area where cats are not welcome – they not only scare away the beautiful native birds but given half a chance they kill them. They also bite the heads off lizards and any other native creatures they happen across, dropping them smugly at the front door with a look that says “Love me, I brought you a present”.
The last few years have seen my relationship with my girlfriend develop into something really beautiful. We’ve spent many hours together and discovered that we really are soul mates. From tenuous beginnings has grown something that will become a lifelong partnership. We’re in it for the long haul.
And so is the cat.
There was no ultimatum, as in Peter Shelley’s 1975 song “Love me Love My Dog” but Mr. Yin’s not going anywhere. It’s me that had to change.
Gradually I’ve come to terms with having him jump all over me. I’ve come to accept that I’m invading his space and it is me who has to be flexible. I’ve adopted the higher moral ground and changed my ways.
After some effort on my part I found him to be not only tolerable (well, almost), but quite nice to be around (well, sometimes). I’ve become used to being covered in his hair, I’m slowly building up resistance to his hyper-allergenic dander, and his fish-breath is growing on me. And I’m gradually working out his psychology.
Or so I thought.
Mr. Yin is a psychotic fruit loop and in serious need of help.
One minute I’ll be sitting there watching TV with him purring away on my lap, and the next I’ll be bleeding all over the floor. For no reason he’ll hiss, and if I’m not quick enough he’ll then latch onto my arm, give me a rabbit kick and bite down. He’s totally unhinged. Completely unpredictable, and dare I say it, quite insane.
Two days ago I discovered to my eternal regret that this trait is endemic to the species.
All cats are mad.
I was visiting a drop zone that has a cat. The cat is not a pet, and is not tame. It is simply a blow-in that has taken up residence in the packing shed. It is very skittish, but is just starting to trust a few people and allow them close.
Whilst talking to one of the guys the cat came over to me. I have no idea why he did this but perhaps I was releasing cat-friendly pheromones that day. Thinking I’d make an effort to connect with this lonely creature I started patting him, and his purring signalled he was happy with the situation.
I’d been stroking his fur for a couple of minutes and enjoying the connection with this wild animal when suddenly, without warning, he plunged his fangs into my hand, grabbed hold with his claws, and hissed like a bastard. Then, just as quickly, he then released is grip and ran off.
It didn’t tickle.
His years of catching wildebeest had obviously strengthened his jaws, because my hand felt like it hand been crushed in a vice. The puncture marks were weeping a bright, blood-streaked fluid and it soon became obvious he’d bitten through to the tendon.
Wracked with pain I tried cleaning the wound, but within a few hours it was obvious I was in trouble. My hand started to swell. My knuckles started to seize up, and as the tenderness grew a red patch began to spread and the skin began to radiate warmth.
Overnight my condition worsened, and I soon found myself sitting in the Emergency Hospital’s triage area with a file stamped “Fast Track”. The Doctor took a look and for a moment gave me the impression he was thinking about admitting me to hospital. I’m sure I heard him mumble something about an IV antibiotic drip.
Thankfully that didn’t happen.
The nurse gave me a tetanus injection in my arm and a painful intramuscular antibiotic injection in my thigh (I’m sure the needle went right through). The Doctor then gave me a box of antibiotic tablets, placed my arm in a sling, and sent me on my way.
This was my reward for an act of kindness.
As I write the swelling is slowly subsiding and I am regaining movement in the fingers. The red line of death has also stopped its relentless march towards my heart.
I think I’ll live.
So why are cats like this? What makes them think they have the right to treat people like this?
Biting the hand that feeds them – how sane is that?
Well, I’m not waiting to find out. I’m done with being nice. From now on, no matter how cute, or how fluffy, or how sweet they look they can all go and get fucked.
No more tickles behind the ears, no more tasty morsels from my plate. No more “here kitty, kitty, kitty”
Oh I’ll still be nice to Mr. Yin, but it will now be a case of “pat softly, and carry a big stick”