Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Cats Are Pointless

I am sick of the cats. There is not one cat-hair free zone in the house. And what is the trade-off for this? Nothing. They perform no function, offer no service, fulfill no responsibility or real pleasure. I took this up with them recently.

First to be confronted was Emily, the 16-year old Himalayan-Siamese mix who limps stiff-leggedly around and spends 22 hours a day in her hair-filled bed where she snores. Emily was making her gimpy circuit around the dining room rug when I stopped her. "Emily," I said. "EMILY!" (she is also hard of hearing) "What good are you? You do realize, don't you, that in some early Native American cultures, you would already be in some solitary hut in the wilderness? Or, in primitive Inuit communities, they would have placed you on a sheet of ice and hacked it off, waving a last goodbye to you on your little floe? Do you know why? Because you are no longer a contributing member of the family. You don't play, you don't like being on laps, you can't make it onto anyone's bed to cuddle up at night. All you do is sleep, eat, drink, and shed. Emphasis on the SHEDDING. And you hiss constantly at Travis-cat. And you yak up hairballs like there is no tomorrow. Your special food is expensive. You are not covered on my insurance. You bite when we groom you. Your days are numbered, got that?" Emily sat down. At that moment, Travis eased his way into the room and, unwisely, stretched luxuriantly.

"Hey, Travis," I said, turning to him as he lay down for the hundredth time that day, rolling onto his side. "Don't think you're getting off easy here. You disappear to God-knows-where in this house for hours at a time, spreading your hair as you go. Not to mention the piles and pools of cat-yak that apparently only I can see and step in and have to clean up. You get bored and pick on Emily, jumping on her and tackling her. So we buy you huge cat toys which you will not interact with unless someone plays with them with you. That is not the idea! WE do not want to play with a little ball tucked inside a circular track or a pink puffball on a spring. YOU are supposed to. You will not lie in your own bed; no, you sneak into Emily's. In fact, you have very few positive interactions with anything. I am concerned that you have no meaningful life goals. And no, sneaking out everytime someone opens a door to the outside more than a half-second is not a meaningful life goal. And this not using the litterbox for your "solids" is really becoming tiresome. People put pets to sleep for things like that. And when I say "people", I mean "me". Shape up."

It is to both cats' credit that, during this entire diatribe, they maintained eye contact with me. Travis even rolled off his side and assumed the Sphinx position. And there was no hissing, for the record. There has not, however, been any significant improvement in any of the areas I spoke on. That is disappointing.

Really. Both the cats were rescued cats. You'd think they'd be more grateful.


  1. What you need is a new cat! It just so happens we have one that's been hanging around the house for the past month. We would keep her except for the small fact that the dog can't stand her. She's young, loves to be snuggled and is an expert chipmunk hunter. She thinks they taste good! Think about it. Solve your yard problems and restore your loving feelings about cats in one stroke!

  2. Anonymous5:05 PM

    Nance--I hear you. Cats are pretty useless once they get past the "Isn't-that-cute" kitten stage. But you should know by now that lecturing them does no good. One, they don't care. And two, well...they don't care. Period.

    Like you, I sometimes feel that a "rescued" cat ought to be more grateful somehow. I look at mine constantly and say, "Do you know where you'd be right now if I hadn't come along? Moldering in some dumpster, that's where."

    But that's when I realize that they could easily ask the same question. "Do you know where you'd be right now if we hadn't come along?" The answer is, of course, a lot worse off. The young ones make me smile with their antics. The old one made me glad that I never came home to an "empty" house. She was like comfortable shoes--you know you should throw them out, but damn, I'd miss them. And I do miss Grayce--hairballs and all.

    So get over it. They are there, like living knicknacks you have collected, touchstones to your past. And they love you in their own weird cat way. Some cultures value the old, you know. And isn't there little enough value we are putting on the old these days without adding our cats to the ice flow?

    Besides, they'll never, ever end up costing you as much as those kids. Get rid of them instead.


  3. J--Outdoor cats are the bane of my yard. They might help with the chipmunk population, but they are hell on my bird haven. And they upset the resident cats at night. But thanks for the comment and for visiting the Dept., and I hope you return often!

    Ann--I love your metaphor of "living knicknacks"; only the very best writer could have put that very apt phrase together. Today, as if to punish me for my blogpost, Travis sat defiantly upon every single tabletop he could find. Totally forbidden, of course. Sigh. We had words.

  4. Anonymous9:04 AM

    Shame on you. Your cats never threaten you with ultimatums during your health tribulations.

  5. jimbo--

    You're right, but I also don't leave my stuff all over their bed!

  6. Anonymous12:37 PM

    We're just jealous of our cats. We know as soon as we become incontinent and sleep all the time, someone will haul our ass off to the Death by Neglect Nursing Home and the cats will have the house all to themselves to shed and barf on at will. They'll be sitting on the kitchen tables licking their paws daintily as we're hauled out on stretchers.

    The only up side: we get to wear sweatpants in the nursing home--and they don't have cat hair on them.

  7. v-grrrl--Jealous is a great word to use. The endless napping, the lack of responsibility, not having to decide what to wear, never fighting traffic, etc. What a life!

  8. Yes, I'm jealous of my cats unlimited nap time. And they can be so headstrong.

    I just had it out with one of our cats when he wouldn't come in from the garage. I said "fine, just stay out there and freeze" ...so he left dirty paw prints all over my car...

  9. Nelumbo--

    And if you'd have left your car windows open, it would have been even worse. We can never win with the cats. That's the worst thing.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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