Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Things I Say To My Cat

I was talking to a friend at work the other day and let it slip that my evening plans included the wildly adventurous, madcap way to pass the time of downing some beers and talking to my cat. She gave me that look which instantly communicates that I had strayed past the point of romantic, arty isolation and into the realm of the truly pathetic.

“Mmm,” she grunted, “How does that usually go?”
“Kinda one-sided,” I had to admit.

Because, yes, while Kitty is pretty vocal, sometimes to the point of annoyance; she’s not the best of conversationalists. If she’s in the mood she will purr and rub her head against me but, aside from that, there’s not all that much give and take. Thinking about it, I realized she can only offer what she’s been taught by example and it dawned on me that I, myself, had not exactly been keeping up my end of the dialogue either.

Here, then, is the entire list of things I have said to my cat for nearly a decade and a half:

“Good Kitty.”
“Sweet Kitty.”
“I love you Kitty.”
“Shut the fuck up! You have food in your bowl! Walk the five feet and take a look!”

Of course, the one thing I’ve told her most often is, “Jesus Christ, it’s not a goddamn race!” This one is reserved for every single time I try to go downstairs to pee. The cat insists on getting there first, usually by darting between my legs in such a way I am someday bound to wind up at the bottom of the stairs with a splintered neck. Her fascination with watching me urinate is only trumped by the way that my taking a crap—call me crazy for considering this the ultimate private moment—has for her become a bonding experience on par with a father and son going fishing. I plant myself on the throne and she’s right there, swishing back and forth on the tub ledge and attempting to rub her every body part on my bare thighs while purring loud enough to rival a riding lawnmower. I know. It’s a cat. It doesn’t get the same social boundaries when it comes to pooping as, say, a roommate. But when I’m straining to expel half a log that’s hung up like a breach pregnancy and some animal chooses THAT moment to become most affectionate, I get a little twitchy. Mostly because I imagine that if I allow it I am part and parcel to some strange, inter-species scat scene you can’t even find on the internet. So I pick her up and throw her out and slam the bathroom door. Always, she starts scratching on it and howling like she’s starving and I’m in there shitting Meow Mix.

That’s mostly it, but there’s a few more:

“What the hell’s the matter with you?”
“Git! Git! Git!” (This is when I am trying to touch myself and she’s staring at me like Kinsey with a clipboard.)

I do vary the wording, just to make it seem like I have more to say:

“Pretty cat.”
“Sweet cat.”
“I love you cat.”
“Shut the fuck up! It’s a goddamn bird!”

There is one recent development. After years of cuddling the cat has taken to instead crawling out from under the covers and sleeping on top of my legs. I wake in the middle of the night, unable to move them, and start screaming that I am paralyzed and need help. Technically, this one is directed at the neighbors. Thus far they have reacted in the same fashion as my cat to everything I’ve ever told her: complete and utter indifference.

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