Life With a Cat {oh what FUN!?!?}

You Know You've Adjusted to Life With a Cat When . . .

* You step in his "creations" and don't even flinch - nor do you bother to look what it is before you bring the supplies to clean it up (and you are an expert at getting stains out of carpet . . . or furniture . . . or sheets and clothes).

* When you vacuum, you look like you're in a field of land mines - avoiding spots that no one else really notices - because you don't want to have to stop the vacuum AGAIN to extricate another strip of carpet exposed when your cat decided he was bored (or mad, or frustrated, of just for the heck of it).

* You acknowledge that the cat and the vacuum are mortal enemies. They cannot and will not peacefully coexist. EVER.

* You no longer yelp when you step on or lay on cat toys - they are everywhere and you know it's bound to happen sooner than later.

* Everything smells like fish (90% of the wet food you give the cat is fish - by demand). EVERYTHING. The cat's breath (and sneezes), the cat's creations, etc. are ALL fish. The thought of eating fish yourself causes you to want to make a "creation" of your own.

* Every time you go in and out the front door, you make sure to locate the cat before you lock the door (and you are constantly on guard for escapees).

* You give up trying to close the bathroom door or any door in your house because the closed door just provokes the cat to tear up the carpet on whichever side of the door that cat is on. Even if he doesn't actually want to be on the other side of the door. It's the principle. 

* Everything you eat must be seasoned with cat hair. As soon as the container is open - boom - magic! It's inevitable. Whenever out, you look at the food oddly, trying to figure out why it looks strange - and then actually comment to yourself that your meal is fur-free (and question whether the meal will be nutritionally adequate because of this).

* Everything you own has cat fur and/or fang marks on it (and you wash clothes right before wearing them to minimize fur deposits, instead of right after wearing them. Leaving clothes in the dryer until you need them becomes a "thing:" you are faced with determining the lesser of two evils - fur or wrinkles, wrinkles or fur?). 

* You walk around the house in a way an outsider would think was bizarre (a series of odd stops, sideways movements, skips, and leaps): 1) so as not to provoke your cat's hunting instinct, or 2) so as to avoid stepping on a cat lounging in the middle of the room or hallway (especially in the dark), or 3) for the times when your friend is following you everywhere to avoid tripping over (or stepping on) the cat (or his tail). Bonus points if you've had to go to the doctor because of these antics - and you told the truth of how you got hurt (ie exhibiting resignation).

* Your furniture looks like it went through a shredder. The only nice piece of furniture is the cat tree (and its pristine scratching posts).

* You accept that no home decorating project is complete without the "modifications" of your cat. Because "cat-safe" spots are at a premium (and don't receive sunlight) many pretty things must be left in their boxes, in the closets, and plants are not allowed (unless you enjoy waking up in the morning to a pot tipped over and a pile of dirt - with no trace of the plant or its roots). Also, the cat is a humbug when it comes to holiday decorations so you no longer even attempt to be festive (preventing the cat's need to be "festive" himself). You give up on holiday decorations even for "safe" real estate because the cat spends so much time staring at them and seemingly plotting ways to "redecorate" them, that you become paranoid and put them away anyway.

* You know you can't leave your food unattended: at the very least, the cat will "sample" the offering (lick it) - and at worst, it will disappear. Also, unattended drinks might find themselves knocked over or with a toy mouse floating in them (which you begin to believe constitutes a threat of some kind).

* All your cords (electrical, blinds, etc.) are taped to the wall because your cat thinks they look like string.

* You recognize that your toys are his toys - anything you want can usually be found in the trash can, in the toilet, or under the furniture. Except for the "x" key from your laptop which you've recognized is never coming back.

* You stop buying the cat fancy toys because he forever shuns them in favor of the packing, the milk ring, or any item you need to do whatever it is that you are doing at that moment.

* You've lost any sense of modesty so that having an audience to go to the bathroom or take a shower no longer fazes you. In fact, you only notice when you don't have an audience. Yet you still feel mildly guilty for walking into a room and catching your cat lick his butt.

* You no longer freak out when little furry things jump out at you and you are used to that dark ball that's almost constantly stalking you through the house.

* You treat bite and scratch marks as a part of life. The only times you think about it are when someone says something like, "Oh my gosh! What happened to you!?!?" and you momentarily panic until you realize they're just talking about your "souvenir" from the cat and not a gushing head wound.

* You habitually check the pantry before closing the door so as not to close your cat in there. Because even though he hates boxes, carriers and being closed in rooms - he has no problem walking into the pantry and hanging out there for hours. In fact, he's been closed in there more than once for a couple hours without a peep. And this is the cat that everyone within a 50 mile radius hears when he is not happy . . . much less upset.

* You get used to catching your cat staring at the wall or hanging out behind open doors - just for the heck of it. You no longer wonder if he's cognitively challenged and just accept that he has an entire inner world that has nothing to do with you.

* You openly admit that cats are a higher life form and therefore give up trying to make sense of what they do (or don't do).

* You have to keep a close eye on toasters, pens, chargers, stuffed animals, pants with a drawstring, bras, toothbrushes . . . and anything that might prove an annoyance to your cat. He has no problem whacking stuff for bothering him and also has no shame in lugging things that are 10 times his size across the house because he feels the need to "redecorate."

* You dread wrapping a large number of presents at one time, because inevitably, the practice becomes an epic battle to preserve your bows and keep them on the presents you've already finished wrapping. 

* Other dreaded epic battles (to the death of one of you): clipping claws and brushing Mr. Cat's teeth.

* You know that anything sitting on the counter or table that wasn't there before (glasses of liquid and utensils especially) will shortly hit the floor as your cat "cleans" up for you because that is not where they belong. And while technically, the cat doesn't belong on the counter either, you've given up hope of trying to stop it.

* You know better than to leave any important papers sitting out (tax documents, car title, social security card . . . ), because your cat thinks he can do a better job than your shredder (even when those documents were not headed for the shredder - he feels the need to practice).

* You get weirded out when you can work for a couple hours straight, uninterrupted.  You get up to make sure the cat is still alive and wonder if he is mad at you (and you feel guilty despite your productiveness).

* You accept that any trip to the vet is going to be traumatic for both of you. It's hard to say who dreads it more.

* You accept that your cat likes to dig his claws into everything and is not satisfied by merely batting things around: furniture, you, toys . . . 

* You accept that the cat will have his nose in everything: anything new that comes in the door, food, whatever you're doing (especially if it's on the floor or involves work that you have to do).

* If you rent your home, you lose any hope of getting the refundable deposit back. EVER.

* Your gut reaction to a leash is a shaking of the head and a chuckle (or nightmares). 

* Ditto for baths.

* You accept weird mood changes from the people around you without batting an eye because that's just life when you have a cat (who goes from "pet me" to "NO!" and back in about 5 seconds).

* You notice that you see more of your cat's butt than his face - and it no longer bothers you (much).

* You grudgingly admit that your cat has at least two hiding spots that you will never find; whenever the cat is in those spots, he's lost to you and not coming out until he feels like it. Therefore, if you MUST take him somewhere (ie vet) you have to make sure he doesn't get far enough away from you to slide into one of those spots before you get there (or see).

* Ditto for lost toys. The cat has a variety of spots where he loses toys and they will never be seen again unless he finds a way to get them out by himself.

* You are no longer phased by the cat jumping on the table and staring at you while you eat (or more precisely, staring at the food, then you, then the food again, on and on into infinity). You know giving the cat a sample will not change a thing - he will continue to stare at you. And you also know that putting him on the floor is pointless because he will hop right back up.

* You understand that the cat is the supervisor of everything you do. Not only will he watch you constantly (and give you disapproving looks) - he knows every single thing you are not supposed to be doing and doesn't shrink from challenging you on it.

* Forty pounds of cat litter and twenty pounds of cat food don't seem like a lot. Even when your cat weighs fifteen pounds. Your arm muscles are well toned from lugging all this around (and you know the fifteen pound squirming, squealing cat feels much heavier than the other two combined).

* While you might not become the most patient person in the world, your capacity for patience is expanded exponentially due to the fact that every feline decision has untold life and death consequences - up, down, in, out, cuddle, no cuddle - and you are left waiting and holding the door (literally and figuratively).

* Ditto for flexibility - you've learned that no matter how much you want or need to do something - if the cat doesn't approve at that specific time - it's not happening. Sleep and work are NOT adequate excuses for not giving the cat attention when he so desires - if you are in the middle of one of these activities when the cat desires attention, you must stop immediately and give the cat attention. Trying to ignore him in such circumstances is futile as his determination will always outlast yours.

* You accept that there are places your cat hangs out that you are not to disturb him or so much as look at him when he is in those spots (litter box, cat tree, while sleeping, or while he is stalking or hunting you).

* Furthermore, you become an expert at pretending the cat is invisible: 1) when he's actively stalking or hunting you (even if he's hiding behind a toy mouse 1/1000th of his size) and 2) when he's hidden in a spot where only an ear, tail or nose is visible or such that you see a lump that is remarkably similar to the shape of a cat (under sheets/blankets/curtains).

* You are no longer bothered that the cat must stay in "cat" persona at all times. He might come when you call, or play fetch or meet you at the door - but with each of these reactions, comes an (at least) equal and opposite reaction (respectively: stopping two feet short of where you are and pretending that he just found himself two feet away from you and isn't sure how he got there and could care less that you are two feet away - fetching one time and then letting you get the rest - and biting you when you reach down to pet him at the door, even though he's purring and rubbing up against you).

* If you're cooking and your cat is neither on the counter, nor under your feet, you feel "weird" and check to make sure he is alive.

* You know turning on the printer or shaking the bag of cat snacks are the easiest ways to make your cat come running (and you also know that it does not work if the carrier is out of the closet or people are visiting).

* You recognize the cat gets first dibs on everything: food, furniture, floor space . . . even if you are already settled in (and asleep). The cat knows advanced geometry and will figure out how to spread himself out so that he takes up the entire space or at least makes it so that you have to contort yourself in a way that will cause you pain for days. Cat does not equal share - or equal for that matter.

* You understand perfectly what the phrase "the cat has the crazies" means - and "crazies" becomes a verb and a noun, as well as an adjective.

* You never have to ask what "caterwauling" means.

* You accept that losing feeling in parts of your body is the cost of snuggling: either because the cat demands you snuggle in a particular way that causes you pain or because you treasure the cuddling so much that you don't want to move and risk ending the best part of your day.

* You accept that bed time is marked by the cat sitting in a particular spot, in a particular way, and with a particular look - all of which mean, "I'm ready for bed, are you coming or not? . . . I'm not going to wait forever (forever to a cat = 5 minutes or less)!"

* You no longer look at a clock because your cat makes it clear when it is time for a meal (especially his), bed, or any other item of your routine (the cat knows your routine - good bye to sleeping in on weekends or anything else that equals a change from the norm).

* You dread any time spent at home without your cat - it feels lonely and you constantly panic without thinking because you don't see or hear all the noises that tell you that you are home (purring, pitter pat of little feet, licking, etc.). You have no idea what to do with yourself. And even though he's not there, you continue to talk out loud as if he is.

* The sound of purring is more relaxing than any sound machine or relaxation soundtrack.

* When you walk up to your front door, you check for the cat in the window.

* You can't fall asleep if your cat is not snuggled next to you.

* Despite the bluster, indignant attitude and wild idiosyncrasies of your feline (and how easy it is to laugh at them), you find that he has a heart that equals, if not exceeds, the size of even the most loving of people and dogs.

{Here one's I know most people experience (as I did with Kitty) - but with Bear I do not (as he is scared of open boxes): You know any box the cat claims is the equivalent of his teddy bear. If you throw away, move, or otherwise tamper with the box, you are in deep doo-doo and guilty of the equivalent of murder.}

*** Did I miss any? Please leave your ideas, suggestions and additions in the comments! ***

This accounting stuff is so boring . . . I take nap.
Aww . . . THIS is why I do it.

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