Yesterday I reposted my response a year ago when we adopted our cat, Sweet Caroline (and yes, we named her after a Neil Diamond song because we are that kind of awesome). Having never really had a cat, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I figured she’d keep to herself and we’d see her about once a year. I was mistaken. Here are five things that have surprised me about living with a cat.
- Cats really are predators. Seriously, I knew cats killed mice. What I did not realize is that it would be done with stealth precision. Living next to two open fields we get a number of uninvited visitors. She kills them quickly and efficiently. Thankfully she doesn’t toy with them or eat them. Instead, she doesn’t wanted them in her house and she deals with it. While I certainly don’t condone killing animals, I also think that sometimes humans forget the natural instincts of said animals.
- Cats are also kind of sociopaths. So Caroline doesn’t enjoy taunting mice; she does enjoy taunting our border collie, Charleigh. Each day Caroline walks me to the front door when I leave for work. Watching through the window, I then observe her settling on the landing of our stairs where she stares at Charleigh. When I come home, she’s usually still there (and Charleigh is laying in her bed looking very sad). I’m not sure if she breaks for lunch. When I settle in on my Fridays off to watch SVU, the fact that the theme music brings the cat running in the room is not an accident–I think she’s looking for tips on getting away with murder. Interestingly enough, Caroline does respect (and sometimes tag team hunt mice) with our dalmatian mix.
- But can also be incredibly sweet (sometimes in a scary way). Of all Sweet Caroline’s habits, I think her affection was the most surprising to me. She talks to me all the time in little chirpy purrs, follows me around, and tucks me in at night before sleeping right next to me or on my chest. When I’m gone for a few days, she is happy (I think that’s the emotion) when I return, nuzzling me and purring. However, her version of sweet sometimes is a recipe for pain. A few weeks ago my toddler son and I were having a little snuggle nap. Alex fell asleep with his sweet little hand wrapped around my index finger. I dozed off until I felt a sharp stabbing in my thumb. My eyes flew open to discover Caroline on my chest, her paw wrapped around my thumb, claws digging in as she purred.
- Cats get the crazies. How else you explain that Caroline can go three months sleeping on our bed with no problems and then suddenly one night she realizes there are things under the covers (my feet) which she must attack? Usually this leads to running in and out of the room for no reason at all. Although she is allegedly afraid of water, she will also climb on the edge of the bathtub to chat with me. Sometimes she’s also a little stalker–if she feels that she hasn’t had enough petting, she’ll wake me up by a.) licking my face, which is like exfoliating with wet sandpaper, or b.) grabbing my bottom lip with her paw.
- Cats don’t need to be (and shouldn’t be) declawed. I knew nothing about declawing when we first got Caroline. My husband’s cats growing up had been declawed and I was one of those people who thought it was like some sort of kitty manicure. When the vet advised against it, saying because Caroline was older it would be extremely painful and take a long time to heal, I looked deeper into the situation. What I discovered had me calling my husband in tears, begging him to let us leave Caroline’s claws intact. He agreed and I know we made the right choice. We designated several scratching posts in the house that belong to her and she uses regularly. She does sometimes get a little nuts (see number 4) and claw at a door frame, but verbally reprimanding her takes care of the problem. The kids have gotten scratched, but it was because they were not following the rules of how to behave with the cat–when they trap her and drag her around like a doll, only to start dressing her up, I think a little scratch on the arm is appropriate.
In the end, I’m glad we went with our instincts in adopting a cat that needed a home and seemed to bond with us. My allergies have disappeared and Sweet Caroline has proven a wonderful companion for our family. Even if she is a little psycho sometimes.