In the last year, I have learned a lot about what it means to live with a cat. For the most part, it has been a pleasant experience, with Abby being nice company and a good addition to the mix. Sometimes, however, she can be a supreme, nuisance — fortunately, this is not too often the case.

Walking to get a drink of water at two in the morning, for example, has become a regular exercise in having to remember to always watch my step lest I bring about a glass shattering screech. This happens because I somehow always tread upon Abby’s tail if I am not careful to look out for it. I always feel terrible afterward and I am reminded of the many Garfield comics where Jon bemoans the fact that cats are always underfoot. This isn’t something that is limited to the early hour, either — Abby also has a knack of leaving her tail for me to tread upon just when my arms are full of groceries and I can’t see past my nose.

The biggest problem, however, seems to lay in the fact that no matter how many times we tell her not to do something, she continues to do it. I have never owned a dog but I have been told by numerous dog owners that they actually listen to you when you tell them to do something — sit, shake hands, roll over, invest in a low yield low risk stock, or whatever it is you request.

We have a chair, for example, that Abby loves to attack on a regular basis. At first I thought if I just told her sternly not to scratch the chair, that would be the end of it. Then I thought I needed to speak more sternly. I got a scratching board and offered it to her as an alternative, and yet she continued going to the chair. We even got some natural non-toxic spray that claims that it would prevent scratches and it did — for a few hours, anyhow. Eventually she always goes back to wanting to scratch the chair.

Similarly, there is the matter of the bedroom. We allow Abby free reign everywhere in the apartment other than in the bedroom. This is to prevent cat hair or dander from getting into the room where we and our baby sleep. Naturally, this is the only room in which Abby is regularly interested in entering. We cannot leave the door open because Abby will always, without fail, try to enter the room when it is accessible to her. Much like the chair, we have tried telling her not to enter the room and have used various deterrents (even spritzing her with water every time she has come near the room to make a negative association with going to the room) but nothing works — she always wants to go to the room.

In conclusion, it is hard to say whether the problems I have found with Abby are unique to Abby or general cat attitude — generally, when I tell people who own cats what happens with her, they give me a laugh and little useful commentary. If you have any insight or suggestions, feel free to leave it in the comment section as it would be much appreciated.

11 Comments

  1. The reason we love cats, Gordon, is because they don’t listen. They are independent. They make up their own minds. Dogs obey. Cats rebel. Usually the water method works pretty well to deter unwanted cat behavior, but the best training starts when they are kittens and you teach them right off what is and is not allowed.

    Cats hate closed doors. A closed door means something is good behind it — and that’s why they insist on having open access to every room with no closed doors — they run the house and they need to know what’s going on in every room. Sometimes it’s best to give them what they want for a few days until they realize there isn’t anything that great behind the door… except for you and your wife and the baby… all the company she seeks! SMILE!

    1. What’s funny is that sometimes she will come scratching at the door as though seeking company and we’re all out in the living room calling out for her. “Abby! There’s nobody in there but the bears!” Suppose that might be the company she wants. 🙂

  2. We love cats because they are independent and quite characters. Unfortunately our new son-in-law is deathly allergic to them so we haven’t had a cat in a long while.

    They do like to rule the house and the humans they have under their control.