Cat Nature

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C

In ABC, C is always for cat.  This is a different kind of cat.

                                                                                                                                                     

A to Z entries:  My post for each letter of the alphabet will be anecdotes or musings based on an element from the previous letter’s post.  Names always changed, events always real.

 ~ Letter B was for Barfly and took place in a bar with a woman with wildcat eyes who purred certain words, and so now…cat nature. ~


 
I’ve likened a few men and women to cats because of their particular feline beauty, some of whom possess a lethal combination of kitten and wildcat.  But I never thought of myself as catlike until a friend said, “We know each other’s purrs and claws,” and I began thinking of the feline nature.

I have an instinctive reaction to anything that feels like it’s closing in on me.  Inside, I hiss, spit and assume pouncing position.  It can be a car too close behind mine, or someone “following” me down the supermarket aisle.  Logically, I know the person tailing me isn’t tailing me at all, but going to the cereal section.  But emotionally, I’m filled with annoyance bordering on aggression.  I become aware of claws I didn’t know I had, and bare teeth.

Of course, in reality, I simply step to the side in an imperceptible huff until the invasive cereal-lover passes by.

I also don’t do well in enclosed spaces, which is why I’m thankful for no longer dealing with the crowded New York subway.

“You gotta move back to New York,” my dear New York friends say.  “You have to drive everywhere in LA!”

Exactly.

In Los Angeles, I have a private bubble floating through time and it’s made out of armor material:  A rattling old Honda or Toyota or whatever cheap car I buy that generously lets me drive it to the ground.  You’d be surprised how faithful these cars are around blind curves, on road trips, and through snow storms…

My awareness of another entity physically or psychologically closing in on me toys with a flimsy layer between composure and feral attack.  In fact, anything that insists on making its presence known by interfering with my modest particle of the world, works my nerves.  For example, fruit flies and mosquitoes fall under that category, while spiders and solitary insects who mind their own business do not.

Repetitive noises are enough to send me into a fit.  Yet I’m able to work at my desk quite peacefully through erratic city noises such as sirens, trucks, mysterious booms and sundry construction sounds. They’re inconstant or unpatterned, and therefore innocuous.  But for the day-long coughs and barks, leaf-blowing, dripping taps, flapping blinds, and circling helicopters, I require state-of-the-art earplugs.

It’s the insistence in repetition that feels like holes poking into the imagined particle of the world shaped like, and a bit larger than, the outline of my body.  Interference and pushing of a presence might also explain my allergy to innumerable mundane questions posed by nosy aunt types.

Unless you count Freezer‘s lovable king snake, I’ve never kept a pet.  But I’ve taken care of other people’s dogs – or cats – that have the tendency to follow you around room to room, staring at you.  No matter what I would do, like go to the bedroom or kitchen, there would be some four-legged being hastening to get up and walk right along with me.  I’d walk to the sink, and so would my furry shadow, even with a full bowl of pet food twenty feet away.  On to the fridge, and guess who’d be beside me, still staring.

This is not cute past the first hour.  Let’s just say the other pet, the one that doesn’t suffer from a baffling obsession with my every move, is my favorite between the two.

Only children under the age of five get away with this behavior.  You know the child I mean.  The one you find sitting and waiting for you outside the bathroom door when you open it.  For some reason, a child following me around is completely endearing.

But it’s safe to say, only the toddlers of the world are exempt from my hissing internal wrath at someone or something pushing in on me.

At times, it has been a best friend, or a guy I was seeing, and some unreasonable need in them filling me with a sense of emotional encroachment.

Anytime I feel this way, I do whatever it takes to shake off the offender.

Years ago, I had to break things off with a guy who constantly pet me – my hair, my face, my arms – like I was his cat.  It happens that by nature I’m warm and thrive on affection.  But this petting felt proprietary, and I wasn’t going be owned; not like a house pet, anyway.  It’s possible to be “owned” in a certain sense, but only for the length of time one willingly offers themselves.  I might even allow the impression that I have no control in the matter.  But that’s only when…well, you read it about it in The Alpha Male.

It was ironic to be treated like a cat in a relationship.  Everybody knows, cats give and take affection on their own terms.

If you’ve ever tried to hold one against its will, you know no cut stings worse than blood drawn by a claustrophobic cat.


~ Part of the A to Z Challenge ~
A post a day except Sunday for the month of April to cover topics beginning with each letter of the alphabet.

Cathartic Monkeyism returns in May.


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20 comments

  1. Love the visual imagery! Looking forward to reading the rest of your series. (visiting from http://birdcagefreelance.blogspot.com with the A to Z Challenge)

  2. Cats are my favorite animal and do have very private natures. Ha! Some years ago we had a cat, Valerie, who normally would disdain of following anyone – far below her – unless…you were going somplace she wanted to be. For instance, across from the bathroom, we had a linen closest where fresh towels, bedsheets, blankets, etc were stored. The door was always kept shut as our cats (two of them) loved climbing in and making a nest in fresh linens. So, we had a Nanny that came for an hour or so each morning and afternoon and took care of the kids while my wife and I went to work. She was a wondeful older woman who was very prim and proper. I was standing one morning looking into the linen closet for towels and Valerie was sitting beside me no doubt dreaming of ways to get into the closet without my noticing. As the Nanny walked behind us in the hallway, Valerie let a hummer of a fart. The stench was stomach turning and the Nanny turned looked at me in disgust and shook her head. I objected vehementy: “That was Valerie!” but it no avail. She just mumbled something that sounded like “Right” and walked away still shaking her head. Valerie, meanwhile had used the diversion to jump into the linens and was just getting settled in when I extracted her, grabbed my towels and closed the door. She walked away waving her tail in protest.

    Ha! Great post GG – I can certainly imagine you being cat -like.

    1. Yep, that sounds like a cat all right. Funny story!

  3. Best detail–difference between hovering bugs and solitary minding their own business oh hey you live here too types of bugs. In my house the whole family is that way towards spiders, and even the cool plate-armored creatures people in VA call stink bugs are friends here. They only stink when you step on them, people. Anyways, I empathize–from, you know, a distance. Like, the next aisle over.

    1. This made laugh! Thanks.

  4. lrconsiderer · · Reply

    Having grown up in a household without them (for most of the time, and then, relenting, only verminous ones) I am not a ‘pet person’. I can think of nothing worse than a cloying, needy dog. And I dislike cats for their inherent disdain for their keepers, and that they make me sneeze.

    I do poorly with ownership, and have never been (nor will I be) owned.

    And yet if I were to try, as you did, to compare myself to a creature…adunno.

    I’m glad you have more sense than to truck with ‘proprietary’ feelings, and the knowing of purrs and claws is rather a delightful way of looking at friendship.

    This has been an education. ‘Cellent 😀

  5. Aha! You and I are on the same footing with ‘C’! I would say the way in which I resemble a cat is in my stranger face. When I am walking in a new place or alone, I instantly have this “bitch” face that to me, resembles the personality of a cat who wants nothing to do with its surroundings. And it has worked — when this face comes out, I am for the most part, remain un-bothered.

    I was much more a dog person growing up due to allergies and bad cat experiences, but as you have read in my post, a certain Crooks is changing that for me.

    Kate at Daily discovery

    1. Haha, “stranger face,” I like it!

  6. Funny stuff. You made me think of one of our dogs, Gizmo. He’s a Shi-tsu who follows me around the house staring at me. I keep telling him to back off and give me some space but I guess he’s got a thing for me. Another interesting thing about Gizmo is that he acts more like a cat than a dog, particularly with regards the giving and receiving of affection.

    1. Cats that behave like dogs can be endearing (except the following around part!)

  7. GiGi, you could have written that stuff about me…amazingly similar reactions to proximity. And, try making a cat do something it doesn’t want to, no way Jose!

  8. I must have some cat in me. I don’t like being followed around the store either. I just love it when my cats snuggle with me. What a great series, and such a challenge!

    1. Exactly — snuggling, yes, following, no!

      (Thanks, Amy.)

  9. I definitely understand this reaction. Great post! I think I have more puppy in me than cat, but I think cats are fascinating.

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, With Joy)

    1. I don’t think anyone can resist a puppy…

  10. I really feel most people possess animal characteristics. One of the things I think about when I meet someone is what kind of animal they remind me of. So one time I did this bullshit visualization thing at work and long story short, I was a giant squid. Which is cool and all. But I am not a giant squid.

    1. You’re hilarious, and no, I would say you’re decidedly not a giant squid!

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