When your sassy cat rules you.
Adopting Mimi was a slapdash decision. A friend, knowing my obsession with felines, sent me a text one evening, “Can you find a home for her?”. Came attached was a photo of an adorable lap cat, all curled up and soundly sleeping. I tried to fight it, calling up friends from cat feeding communities and fosterers to see if anyone could take Mimi. But no one wanted to adopt a two-year-old kitty. She was deemed “too old” to be an attractive adoptee. Knowing that she was going to end up at the SPCA, I made an impulse decision and said, “I’ll bring her home.”
Within days, she was with me. If I had time to consider, I might have had cold feet. Was I ready to take on a (sort of) special needs kitty? She had overgroomed herself to the point she looked more like a Sphynx than the fluffy tabby I saw in the pictures, no thanks to the constant moving
between fosterers. She was extremely skittish, shying away from me yet staying within view in this whole new world (my room). The moment that stole my heart was, perhaps, when she climbed up to check out my mirror, saw me and stared for a good minute. It was as if she’d given me some sort of silent acknowledgement, that I was going to be a part of her life from now on.
Little did I know that this sweet, shy facade was all a ruse. Once the little minx got familiar with her new kingdom (my room), she ran it. My precious collection of books has become her “cat tree”, while she leaves the 1.8m structure I spent $80 on and the entire day building untouched; my stuffed toys are her scratching posts and whatever’s on my plate is hers. And that’s when she’s happy.
Making a mark
Like any young couple, I would often spend time at my partner’s home. That might mean an entire 24 hours absent from Mimi’s life. I held this back for a couple of months, until I was sure she was comfortable. I went ahead and, alas, my mom called me in the morning, laughing, “Your Mimi just pooped at the entrance of your room.” While I gravitated towards the possibility of a medical condition, the accuracy of where she did her business proved otherwise.
Unfortunately for me, that was just the beginning. If the clock struck 12 and I wasn’t home, it was almost certain I would be coming home to a bed soaked in Mimi’s protest. Played with other pets—particularly dogs—and left the incriminating evidence (my clothes) in the vicinity of her space? Did not put her majesty’s preferred level of litter? Tried to put a harness on her in an attempt to walk her? Not filling up her water bowl when she wanted it? I’d get a huge, wet patch of disapproval. And I knew it wasn’t a medical condition because she would always do it at the exact spot I’d sleep every night.
Reprimanding her obviously did nothing. She put on her puss-in-boots face, and I’d just let it go. By letting it go, I meant sleeping in the living room like a disgraced husband.
The silent treatment
My nightly routine involves leaving my door slightly ajar, giving Mimi the freedom to come and go as she pleases. She would always sleep with me but the nocturnal predator in her DNA saw her zooming around the house in the night.
One Tuesday night, tired from a work event, I crashed straight into bed – I forgot to open the door for her. Oh boy, was she angry. But I didn’t get scratches nor her trademark anger on my sheets. For three nights, she slept outside on her favourite chair. She refused to look me in the eye, and didn’t respond to my pats, my calls and, most of all, she refused to eat. The latter sent me into a frenzy. I thought she was sick. Daft me hadn’t figured out she was angry then. I was about to send her to the vet, but my mother said she was fine. Why? She allowed my mother to manhandle her in any imaginable way. It became obvious she was just doing it to me.
How was it all resolved? I came home with a “bribe”. A can of new food for her, which I suppose she saw as an apology. She lapped it up, and without a single look at me, sat on my lap as if saying I’d been forgiven.
On her own terms
You must be thinking, why do I even bother with this wily feline? Sure, she wasn’t like the kitties I worshipped through YouTube, but she would welcome me at the door. She would “protect” me as I went to the toilet, wait for me to have her dinner, and even do little head bunts to ask me to head back to our room for a quiet, cuddle session. The moment I knew Mimi and I were meant to be was when I woke up one morning, and she had found a way to curl up next to me (after shoving my toys aside). Even as I type this, she’s sitting on my lap, slowly trying to edge my laptop away with her fluffy paws.
I guess she does love, well, own me— just on her own terms.