|

A feline confessional — for those who can’t resist abusive pets

by Amy Chavez

You often hear about animals being rescued from abusive owners, but I wonder, is there any help for pet owners who have been abused by their pets?

Is there even a support group, let alone a foster home, for all of us owners who have been beaten up by our pets? Dogs bite their owners, cats scratch them. In addition, cats will mentally torture their owners by giving them the cold shoulder (for years at a time!) or refusing to do anything they’re told.

When I rescued Frank (a kitten who bounded out of the weeds onto the road when I was running one day), I thought that by taking her in, I’d have a better life. I’d have a kitty to love and to cherish, to hold and to cuddle, through richer and through poorer. And this has been mostly true for the past 13 years. When I am with her, I am happier than any other time. I bathe in her radiance and her light. Don’t worry though. I do have a life outside of my cat’s realm. I can’t think of anything exactly, but I’m sure I do.

My cat loves me. I know she does because I feed her. But this does not stop her from lashing out at me now and then. Some would even call my cat abusive. Well, she’s definitely more violent than I am, which is why I don’t let her drink alcohol.

But she’s not as bad as my friend’s cat who is so mean, I wouldn’t enter his house even with a samurai sword. “House cat” is often a euphemism for what is really the feline equivalent of a junkyard dog. Doug incongruously named his cat Jazz, although I can’t think of anything further from that feeling when I’m around that cat. More like the sound of Ozzy Osbourne eating the head off of a bat. But Doug still loves his ferocious feline and refuses to leave Jazz.

These cats know that despite our abusive relationships with them, we will continue to bow down to them and cater to their every whim.

“Meow.” See? Here’s Frank now, wanting something from me.

I have a friend whose husband is in the hospital because of an infected cat scratch. He may be in there for days before they get the infection under control.

“Meow.” Yes, dear, just a moment.

My neighbor Kazu-chan has scars all over her arms from my cat biting and scratching her. Kazu-chan takes care of Frank when I’m gone. Poor woman. To help alleviate the burden, I found a cat-sitter the last time I had to go out of town. But the cat-sitter suddenly left halfway through the assignment.

I have no idea why my cat is like this. I’ve always cuddled her and I’ve never hit her. Sometimes I raise my voice when she does something bad, but I’ve never pointed a gun at her, hit her with a broom or anything like that. The little beast just has a violent streak.

“Hiss.” Yes dear. I hear you. Let me check what cat food is in the cupboard. Here’s some of your favorite: Princess Tuna Bites with Gold Flakes.

Well, then I started having to hand over my money. It started with basic things like toys, food and the occasional hospital bill, which I thought was very reasonable. But then she started controlling my shopping list, insisting I buy gourmet cat food, catnip toys and fancy studded cat collars.

Then the hospital bills got bigger. She wanted immunizations and ear cleaning. I started getting pressured to join, and pay for, expensive cat tooth-brushing clinics. This cat costs me more and more each month!

But I can’t leave her. I know I’d be no one without her. And I don’t like the sound of the word “cat-less.”

My fear is that I, as well as all the other cat lovers out there, have become a part of an extensive, carefully organized and impeccably planned Kitty Cult. And many intelligent people have been duped. Even Haruki Murakami says that his early influences as an only-child were books, music and — cats.

It is especially relevant now, as the viral nature of the Internet aids the Kitty Cult in proselytizing to heights never imagined before. Kitty Cult members are now so numerous, they make otaku look like a fledgling, nascent movement.

It all starts with an innocent perusing of photos of cats that have been forwarded to you (and everyone else) in a group email from someone’s email contact list. Next, you are “liking” cat photos on the Internet and Facebook. This leads to watching videos of cats on YouTube and sharing them. After a while you start taking photos of your own cat and posting them to the net. And ultimately, you may end up posting videos of your own cat. In cute positions. Naked.

“Hissssss,” Oh, you don’t like this food? What do you want then, the fugu sashimi? Ouch, stop biting my ankles! Ah, I see. You want me to open your mail.

I pick up the envelope clearly addressed to Frank-chan, Shiraishi Island, Okayama, Japan. Let’s see. It’s from your vet, advising you get immunized against ticks. I suppose you’ll want that?

“Meow.”

And medicine for fleas, ear mites and worms too?

“Meow.”

Vitamins for strong bones?

“Meow.”

Lastly, there is a pamphlet enclosed called “Cat Stress.” Well, you wouldn’t want your cat to commit hara-kitty, would you?

Well, if anyone would like to start a support group for abused pet owners, I’d be interested in joining. But right now I’ve got to go because I have to get Frank to her yoga class.

At any rate, we should not despair. As someone pointed out on the Internet: cute cats are out, “puffy cloud cows” are in! Puffy cloud cows? you say. Yes, and they’re sooo cute!