Saturday, July 10, 2010

Why I Will Never Become a Cat Lady

Cats have recently begun fucking with me in my dreams. I wish I wasn't seriously having nightmares about cats, but apparently that is where my life has gone. So in my most recent feline nightmare, a pack of orange house cats were roaming the alleys that I was running through (cliche, I know) hissing and yowling. When they finally caught me (lead feet/cornered in the alley, of course) they proceeded to literally rip my skin off. So, yeah, something is wrong with me here.

Now, I don't dislike cats. I feel like I need to add this little disclaimer every time I talk about cats. Its THEM that dislike ME. I swear. I think that they can smell my unease the moment I walk in the room. I have had cats just run up to me and bite me for no good reason. "They are just playing!" the owners will say casually, with a big dumb grin on their face. But I know the truth...I see that look in those crazy yellow eyes.

Cats make me totally paranoid. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they catch me totally off guard. Like the time I spent the night at Maggie's parent's house in Los Osos. Her cat literally jumped on my face at 5am and started "playing" with Eric the poodle, who was sleeping soundly next to me. Or another time I was at a friends house when her cat inexplicably ran up to me and leaped onto my shoulder, ripping my tee shirt and clawing its way up to my ear, which it then proceeded to bite and draw blood. I dont even do anything to deserve these attacks! Half of the time, I dont even realize that they have a cat until something like this happens. I need to be a lot more vigilant.

Are you starting to get it now? It's not me, it's them.
I could go on for hours; these aren't the only cat stories I have...but they all seem to end the same way.

I think this all comes from one particularly traumatic cat experience I had when I was about eight. My neighbors were on vacation and elected me to feed their cat daily while they were away. This was a HUGE deal for my little eight year old self, who wanted so desperately to be about fifteen. It meant that I got to walk to my neighbors house, go into their house by myself using the key, and feed their cat, Benny. I was in charge of another life...what responsibility! And I got paid!

So, I didnt even have to interact with the cat, but he always seemed to show up when I was putting the food in his bowl (go figure) and I liked him. I had been warned that he became "feisty" from time to time, but I had no idea what that meant so I didnt think much of it. Big mistake. So, one day when I was feeding him, I put the food down in front of him, and made the grave mistake of patting him on the head like I would a dog. I guess I just lost myself in the happy moment, but he immediately looked up and shot daggers at me. It was terrifying, like his eyes had changed colors to an angrier shade of orange.

I began to back away, with him still looking up at me from his food, and he began to follow. At that point, it was obvious that he was preparing to attack, or at least bite me, so I turned and ran. The fucker chased me. He chased me down. I ran as fast as I could and jumped onto the old swing set that the neighbors had in their backyard, scrambling up to the top of the monkey bars where I sat scared but satisfied that Benny couldnt get me.

Obviously I underestimated his strength and determination to remind me that I was on his turf and I had greatly offended him by petting his head the wrong way. He flew through the air with some sort of crazy battlecry and landed on my outstreched leg, immediately digging his claws into my calf and sinking his teeth into my knee. Thankfully, this was enough of a "warning" for him, so he jumped down gingerly from the monkey bars (which I fell off of, further scraping my knees) and proceeded to eat his food that was still waiting for him on the porch.

I ran home crying (forgetting anything about being a big girl or having responsibility) and told my mom that Benny bit me...which is all I could get out between sobs. I dont think she knew the full story, and If she did, she probably wouldnt believe me. It does sound pretty ridiculous, but that cat was crazy. He and I were on different terms after that. I would see him around the neighborhood, but I wouldnt pet him. He always gave me a warning stare. My mom had to go feed him for the remainder of the vacation days, and I didnt care. She did me a huge favor.

Cats still mess with me all the time, sneaking up on me, biting me, and scratching me. Nothing has ever compared to Benny though. That guy was nuts. He belongs in a cat asylum. Or a horror movie. Or a nightmare...

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