Is My Cat Trying to Kill Me?

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This week’s post is written by guest blogger Nancy Mauro whose first novel “New World Monkeys” was released by Random House last month. Nancy’s relationship with the feline species is precarious at best but I think you will enjoy her entry tremendously – and recognize some of the characters. To learn more about Nancy and her novel, just click here www.nancymauro.com (after you read the entry of coures!).

Is My Cat Trying to Kill Me?

The short answer?  Yes.  Cats, the kinsmen of tigers, lions and pumas have yet to rid themselves of that ancestral compulsion to not only bite the hand that feeds it, but to devour that hand and then patiently lick itself clean of the damning evidence.

Domestic, my foot!

Since this blog is devoted to the re-wilding of the mind, I’ve charged myself with keeping a trained eye on the shaggy underbelly of life.  And while that hidden side can rear some magnificent, primitive impulses, it can also reveal the occasional hard truth.  One such truth is that your cat, given the chance, would like nothing more than to take you down like an injured baby gazelle.

True, I am not a cat lover.  Too much time in their company and I itch and wheeze and sport hives.  So I decided to investigate at the source—talk to the people who live among the lions.  You might be surprised at how forthcoming these so-called ‘cat-fanciers’ are.

Don’t Die Before Your Cat:

“It’s a well-known fact that cats will eat you,” my friend R___ says, while lovingly stroking his overweight feline.  “If you happen to die in your apartment say, and it’s just your body and your cat for a good long time?  Yeah, you’re gonna get nibbled.  Now a dog, on the other hand, will just lay down beside you and die as well.”  I ask him why he didn’t get a dog.  “Because then I’d have to walk it.  I figure if I’m already dead, it’ll be a fair trade-off.”

Don’t Sleep with a Cat:

It’s not folklore, a cat will steal your breath in the night.  This piece of wisdom comes from R___’s grandmother who happened to be visiting.  “In the old country many, many cats steal the breath of children,” she says pointing an accusing finger at the fat beast on R___’s lap.  According to custom, one should never allow a cat near a sleeping infant for fear that the animal will slurp the oxygen from the vulnerable child.  “Come on, you don’t believe that,” R___ says to his grandmother.  She turns to where he and his cat sit cuddled together and gives him a withering look.  “That animal,” she says, “will suck your soul through a single nostril if you let it.”

This cat is plotting what it'll do to you once you fall asleep--just ask your grandmother.

Don’t Make Eye Contact:

“It’s better not to engage a cat, avert your gaze.  If you do make eye contact, do not maintain it.”  This sounds lion lion-taming advice but comes from my neighbor V___ .  She has a pink gash on the back of her hand which she refers to as a ‘love swipe.’  “It was my own fault,” she says.  “Roscoe has got these mesmerizing eyes.”  As she tells me this she forgets her own warning and holds the cat up to my face so I can better see his demonic swirling orbs.  (I look away quickly.)  “Anyway, it’s just skin,” she says.  “It’ll heal.”

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Don't let the furred deceivers and their wide-eyed cuteness lull you into a false sense of security.

Don’t Underestimate their Handiwork:

“I thought only chimps and humans had opposable thumbs,” my friend T___ says.  “But I once found an avocado under my bed.  My cats literally rolled it up a flight of stairs.”  Now, this seems a bit extreme, even to me.  “Are you sure you didn’t drop it there yourself?” I ask.  But T___ shakes her head.  “I put two on the kitchen counter one morning.  In the evening I went to make guacamole but there was only one avocado left.  I live alone!  I found it a week later under my bed skirt.  Those two cats always collude.  I think they have retractable thumbs and have learned how to hoist—this is not a case of batting an avocado up a flight of stairs.”  She takes a deep breath.  “Also, they once turned on my curling iron.”

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This cat has thumbs and once attempted to burn down an apartment with a curling iron.

Don’t Think You’re Safe Because You’re Male:

A lot of men would categorize cats as a female problem.  But that couldn’t be further from the truth.  My brother is a perfect example of a male falling victim to a gender-biased cat.  “Simon and I have a delicate relationship,” he says of the cat belonging to his wife M___.  “When M___ and I were dating, I used to pick her up at her apartment.  One day I dozed off on the sofa while she was getting ready.  When I woke up I found Simon on my chest.  He was staring at me and licking his lips.”  Since this incident he and M___ have gotten married and brought Simon to live with them.  “But I know what he’s thinking,” my brother says.  “I’m always watching my back.”

This cat is looking at my brother and thinking, "You are a dead man."

Now, if you already have a cat, what can I tell you?  You’re probably doomed.  Biding your time like Siegfried & Roy.  But if you’re still contemplating ownership, the cat-fanciers I talked to advise that you to ask yourself these questions:

1) How much do I like my furniture?  R___ has artfully draped a throw over the mauled arm of his sofa and another over his chaise-turned-scratchpad.

2) Am I single and female?  There’s nothing a guy likes better than to walk into a dander den of cats.  T___ (who owns two cats and is always on the verge of adding a third) has been rightfully cautioned by her mother:  “Bring home a third and you’ll never get married.”

3) Am I patient?  You will spend an inordinate amount of time trying to persuade a skittish feline out from under the sofa.  (This one sealed the deal for me–Jesus Christ, I already date guys.  How many more scaredy cats do I need?)

If you are still determined to live with the feline, check out City Critters.  It’s the rescue and adoption organization used by many of my Manhattan cat-loving friends.  They may even let you foster before you decide.  But the thing is this, if you wake up one night with a sudden, staring weight on your chest, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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  • Haaaaa! This reminds me of my mom’s cat, who tries to kill her all the time, even though she has cared for it and pampered it for 14 years. I’ve been avoiding it for 13 years – ever since I witnessed it latching onto the back of my sister’s leg on the day of her wedding. Evil kitty.

  • Our meowm should be dead. We sleep with her every night. It is only the fact that she caters to our every whim and need that keeps her alive. But if she crosses us one too many times…..

  • Ihavecat

    I can’t imagine who “T” refers to…can you?
    🙂

  • I have only won one staring match with my cat over the 8 years I’ve had it, and it actually kind of scared me that I defeated the big tub.

    Entertaining post.

  • It’s all coming together for me now. Somewhere along the line, those sweet stares from a kitten’s innocent face turned into evil glares. I’ve always noted a certain smirk, but just chose to overlook it. You are absolutely right. Katie, my 9 pound domestic short hair, is trying to kill me.

    What a fabulous post! Clever, insightful… I hate to admit, truthful. I love Nancy’s writing style and will definitely be picking up a copy of New World Monkeys.

    Glogirly

  • Hey there T…
    Katie finally convinced me to do the Inside The Actor’s Studio interview with her. She pinned me down on the “10” questions. Thought you might enjoy!

    http://glogirly.blogspot.com/2009/11/inside-katies-studio-with-glogirly.html

    • Ihavecat

      saw it and love it! you are sooo creative! or Katie is!~ LOL must run in the family 😉

  • I sleep with my Mom & Dad, but only if they let me. Mom says that’s a myth that we cats will suck the life out of a baby. We’re attracted to the smell of milk and may accidentally smother a newborn by laying on it’s face.

    George.

  • T,
    Glad you appreciated the Cat Herding commercial…. It’s my all time favorite. A local ad agency here in Minneapolis did it years ago and you are absolutely right, NO ONE knows what the product is. (I still love it)

    Gloman used to be a full time VO artist. He was when we met. He also did quite a bit of coaching, helping others get into the business. Then came the actors strike and the VO business really dried up here. So he went back to his roots of marketing and is now with an ad agency that specializes in food marketing.

    Good luck with your writing and VO classes! I too am amongst the unemployed. ..laid off early last year after 20 years with the same company. That’s part of the reason why my cat has a blog. : )

  • Mariuca

    loved this particular post and all of yours, T!
    really fun reading! always makes me smile…
    and those two strapping cats of yours are real lookers!
    the whole family is handsome and fun!

    keep up the good work!

  • kira

    Haha! This is sooo hilarious and TRUE! I have had nights where mine have tried to sleep on my head and suffocate me! I must add, my rescue “Milo” exhibits more canine behaviors that I have ever seen in a feline! He loves baths, digs in the trash can, and sits on command! Cats are truly interesting and remarkable creatures!!

  • Dionis

    Chaos is part magpie, he has never made off with my fruit, but rings, coins, anything shiny – it’s gone! And he’s been known to try and take my necklaces right off my neck. 🙂

    • Ihavecat

      I love the name Chaos but sounds like he should have been called Magpie for sure! Cute! Thanks for visiting and for taking the time to post!

  • Dionis

    Chaos lives up to his name all the way around!

    • Ihavecat

      Those kitties def keep us on our toes don’t they?! Thanks for visiting and for taking the time to comment!

  • Tamara

    “This cat has thumbs and once attempted to burn down an apartment with a curling iron.” LOVE IT!!!

    Our littlest one always runs down the stairs in front of my husband and then stops mid step…my husband is convinced she is trying to kill him for all of the times he forces his “affection” on her

    • I HAVE CAT

      Nancy is quite the writer! That’s too funny about your husband and your little cat! Yes, yes, I’m sure that’s it…affection..! 🙂

  • terri

    you’re right – they do look kind of deadly

    • I HAVE CAT

      lol! Petie was yawning, but it does look like a roar! thanks for visiting and posting Terri!

  • GREAT post—LOL @ the “Don’t Die Before Your Cat” section!

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