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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.