I was talking to my friend Melissa yesterday and the subject of my cat came up. I know some of you are looking confused right now saying, wait a minute! You have a cat? You’ve never mentioned having a cat. Yes, sort of, I have a cat. Although she’s more of a squatter than a pet. She lives in my house and eats the food I buy. I clean up after her, allow her to sleep in my couch, and I let her in and out twenty-seven times a day (at least). But she will not allow me to treat her like a pet. She keeps to herself, she only wants human contact on rare occasions, and will only truly act like a pet when other people come over. Then she puts on the show. She wants to snuggle and sleep in your lap. She wants to be pet and played with. She’s friendly, she’s cute. She’s totally faking it to make me look bad.
The cat, her name is Star, but we generally call her The Cat, or in Luke’s case That F&%*ing Cat. The name Star was given to her by Luke’s mom because the white markings on her face and her white whiskers make the five points of a star. The reason that Luke’s mom named her, is that she used to be Luke’s mom’s cat. Shortly before we were married, we bought our first house in Andover from Luke’s mom and she moved to a condo in Manchester. Because she was getting a new place with new furniture, and also because Star was used to going outside in Andover and Luke’s mom was concerned about her going out in Manchester, we got a free cat with the purchase of our new home. Joy. I liked cats and she was cute, although demanding and vindictive. She needed to be played with constantly or she’d turn into a cranky evil kitty. She would get up on the windowsill, lock eyes with me, and then whap whatever decoration I had on the windowsill to the ground as if to say, “Ha! Take that!” Still, she was quiet and generally low-maintenance. We never had mouse trouble and she never liked us enough to bring home the rodents she was killing, so all was well.
And the came Molly and my world exploded. I fell so completely in love with Molly that I honestly could not remember why I used to like cats. I had cats growing up that I adored. Cats who acted like cats, not spoiled teenagers, like Star. Even trying to think about those cats, I couldn’t remember what it was about them that was so great in comparison to a dog. It was like Molly caused that part of my brain that appreciated cats to completely disappear. It’s not like I hate cats, I just prefer dogs now. Which makes living with Star even more challenging.
When we moved to our new house several years ago, I wondered if Star would get confused. You have to understand the geography of where we moved – basically we moved an acre behind our old house, and three acres to the left. You can see our old house from our new house and I was secretly hoping that Star would prefer the old house and choose to move in with the new owners. She certainly doesn’t act as if she enjoys our company, so why would she want to move with us when given the option? But darn it, she moved with us to the new house and as far as I know, never even tried to bunk with the owners of our old house.
Star and Molly get along great. Star puts up with Molly when she wants to play and they sleep together and share a water bowl. They’ll run up to each other in the yard, Molly will sniff Star while Star rubs her body against Molly. It’s very cute. When we take Molly for a walk to the river or over to the neighbors house, Star will inevitably follow us at a respectable distance so as not to appear to care. She does have some redeeming personality traits. Some things that make me smile, but generally she bugs the crap out of me.
She hasn’t set her clock to Daylight Savings Time yet, so lately she wakes me up with a horrible echoing howl in the doorway of my bedroom at 2am. It used to be 3am, I’m not kidding. Daylight Savings screws everyone up. I blindly stumble out of be to let her out, usually saying “and don’t come back!” and then I’ll go back to bed. At 7am she’s at the door waiting to come in for oh, about 90 seconds, and then she’s back at the door howling to go out again. In the hour between waking up and leaving for work, I generally let her out three times. In one hour. And she howls when you make her wait three seconds. She’s very impatient, it irritates me.
In the summer when we leave the windows open, she will sit outside our bedroom window and howl to let us know that she wants to come in. That’s lovely. The other night when I was painting my studio pink, she climbed up on the bench we have outside the window and pounded on the screen with her tiny paws. I almost fell off the chair I was on, she scared me half to death. This is the situation I was talking to Melissa about and Melissa suggested that if Molly did something like this, I’d think she was so smart for communicating her needs with me. This may be true, but Molly wouldn’t do that to me. She may insist on sitting on my lap while I knit, she may drag brush out of the woods and run around with it, only to leave it on the lawn, the very same brush I just dragged off the lawn and into the woods, but she would never wake me up to go outside in the middle of the night. Molly may drop smelly toys on my head to wake me up in the morning, but she does it after the alarm goes off. She wouldn’t whine and howl, she wouldn’t drive me up the friggin wall because she keeps to my schedule and she likes me! Molly acts as if she generally enjoys my company. Star acts as if I am an underachieving staff member. I know that this is how cats are, everyone tells me that, but if that’s how they are, why do people have cats? Wouldn’t you rather be appreciated than disdained? Seriously.
Whenever people come over and Star puts on the Good Kitty act, everyone says what a nice cat she is and Luke and I always try to get them to take her home. Luke is serious, I’m only half serious. I truly wish she wasn’t living with us because she’s 97% annoying and 3% cute and that is not working in her favor, but I will not be the one to cause her to stop living with us. I won’t give her away or take her to the pound. I won’t tie steak to her and send her out to find coyotes and fisher cats, although I threaten to all the time. What I want is for her to choose to move away. I want her to just pack up and go, find a place with people she isn’t disgusted with. A staff that will meet her needs, but unfortunately she seems hell bent on living her live to spite us. And the best part? She’s only 10. My parents have cats that are 17. Friends of ours just had a cat die who was 22. I don’t know if I can take the howling for another ten years. Can cats be de-meowed? We tried installing a cat door at our old house but she was afraid of it, and also, considering that we’re in the woods now, we would rather not find wild animals sneaking into our house in the middle of the night. Maybe I’ll just learn to sleep with ear plugs.
So yes, The Cat is smart. She’s smart in a calculating, selfish way, but if Molly went banging on my window screen in the middle of the night, she would not be my favorite anymore either. Let’s hope that never happens cause I need her warm puppy heater to keep the bed warm at night. After all, The Cat hates me too much to sleep in bed with me.