Some People Are Too Nice to Own a Cat

I resemble that remark, and I also own a cat.

My cat Tori knows how to get what she wants.

Last night, two times before midnight, I awakened to the sudden glare of the lamp on my husband’s nightstand only to find my cat perched inches from my head, watching me. Creepy.

Each time I left my warm bed to turn off the intrusive light, I returned to find Tori sleeping in my spot.

After the second time, I manually switched the knob on the touch lamp to the off position so I could get some sleep.

It wasn’t until this morning that I put two and two together. Two episodes with a touch lamp. Two instances of awakening to my cat’s stare.

Had she learned how to turn on the touch lamp? Had she purposely awakened me to get the warm spot on the bed?

That darn (talented) cat

Tori already knows how to open sliding doors, so my husband and I have to thwart her efforts with ingenious locking mechanisms. When we want to enter or exit the house, unlocking the mechanisms, she times the opening of the doors, slinking through them as we pass and quickly running under a thicket of bushes or a parked car so we can’t catch her.

(She only stays outside long enough to eat some grass or other vegetation, and then she cries for us to let her back inside, where she carefully vomits on the carpet.)

“You are dead to me!” I typically yell at Tori when she escapes and eludes capture. I shake my fist at her retreating form. “You are dead to me! Be an outside cat then!”

She ignores my declarations or sees them for what they are, mere words. (Much less powerful than meow.) Then she does as she wishes, returns when she wants, and manipulates me into opening the door and welcoming her home.

The prodigal cat. The idiot cat parent so happy she is home safe.

If she weren’t such a bother, I’d be proud of Tori’s many talents. She can dispense water from our water cooler (if we don’t keep the faucets covered). She can detect the low rustle of the deli wrap when we open lunch meat despite multiple radios playing all over the house.

She can smell fresh shrimp through the packaging, and she can tell time, as she always lets us know when we’re behind schedule or it’s her dinner hour and we haven’t filled her bowl.

She communicates that with her body, Lassie style. Coming to my husband and me, she’ll get our attention with a cry, then run toward the bedroom (or her food bowl) to show us what she means. She’ll do this multiple times until she gives up or we give in.

Guess what usually happens first?

She has us trained

My cat thinks that human hands are for her. If she sees your hand, she will insist that you pet her. She does this by walking near your hand, attempting to get under your hand so that, even involuntarily, you will begin stroking her fur.

She is insatiable.

She will sit right beside me and look at me with her enormous, expressive green-gold eyes. If I don’t pet her, she reaches out her paw to tap me.

“You who! I think you’re forgetting something!” she says without a single meow.

Unfortunately, when she extends her paw she extends her claws (because her owner is too afraid to trim them for fear of hurting her; as I might have said, nice people should not own cats). So she gently pricks my arm, my breast, and even my face in her attempt to get her due “pets.”

I’d rather be a masseuse than a pin cushion, and so I pet. (“No” doesn’t not mean “no” when you’re talking English to a cat.)

When I’m ready to go to bed and she isn’t ready for me to go to bed, I have to hide my hands under the blankets so she’ll let me alone. But she’s figured out how to make my hands reappear: She simply licks the end of my nose.

When I pull out my hands to wipe away her saliva, she takes the opportunity to reclaim my hands. Mini massage, anyone?

Just nights ago, I petted Tori as my husband and I watched football. (Football isn’t a short program on TV, and the cat should have had enough petting. I had had enough.)

But she kept pestering me until I finally floated the sheet over my head and pretended to be asleep. (I had tried sarcasm, my best weapon, but it is lost on cats.) So I played “asleep.” Convinced, she walked (over me, of course) to the foot of my bed to sleep too. (Whew!)

Minutes later, my husband got out of bed, turned on the light to look for something, and I made a mistake. I removed my sheet and spoke to him, giving away the fact that I was not asleep.

Busted! I quickly tossed the sheet into place and resumed the sleep position, but I was too late. Tori ran (over me, of course) to sit by my head and began her vigil watching my every move, ever alert for my hands. She knew I was awake.

This time my laughter gave me away. I can’t even fool a cat.

A cat can be nice, too

Some people are too nice to own a cat. I am too nice. Often, when I awake in the middle of the night to use the bathroom or add another blanket, I will find Tori snuggled up against me somewhere.

I do my best not to disturb her rest. If she’s blocking my left side (my side of the bed), I consider rolling over to my husband’s side (without disturbing him, of course!) or scooting to the foot of the bed to exit. If she’s tucked between my feet and legs, I’ll try to slide my legs slowly toward the top of the bed to slip out without awakening her.

I risk injury to my back and other body parts, but Tori, ever flexible, “let me show you how well I do Downward Dog” Tori, is undisturbed.

When I fall asleep, I lie on my back, with my left arm bent and my hand under the pillow. Sometimes Tori will lick the inner part of my upper arm, which I hate. But sometimes, just as I’m about to drift off to sleep for real and Tori’s given up on me, I’ll feel her fuzzy chin rest on my arm and the weight of her head as she uses my arm as her pillow.

It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling — and not just because she’s warm and fuzzy. It’s rather like the feeling you get when a baby falls asleep in your arms; you’re trusted, safe, comfortable.

It’s nice to own a cat. Even when you’re too nice to own one.

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