I’m a graduate student, a certified mainframe system programmer, and for fun I write fugues. Whatever else may be said about me, stupid isn’t a label that fits. I’m pretty damn smart. Despite this, I’m being consistently put in my place, not by one of my peers, but by an adorable seven-pound cat.
Anyone remember the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Data tries (and fails) to train his cat? That’s me in a nutshell. No matter what I do or how many times I bark at her, her will is consistently stronger than mine and eventually she gets what she wants. The odd thing is, I honestly can’t tell if she’s a kitty genius and knows what she’s doing, or is just so stupid that getting mad at her is like getting mad at the rain for falling from the sky. Either way, the effect is the same. She gets what she wants and I am left wondering if human beings are really the pinnacle of evolution if our ginormous brains are completely unable to contend with one little house cat.
Case and point: I am sitting on the couch watching a movie. She wants attention, so rather than come over and say hi, she will go into the bathroom and yowl at the shower door. If I go and pick her up and bring her to the couch she will immediately jump down, stare at me, and yowl. Not once. Not just for a few minutes. Over and over and endlessly. Meow. Meow. MEOW. MEOW, MOTHER FUCKER! MEOW! If I don’t respond, she’ll go into the bathroom and yowl at the shower door. Then eventually come back and meow at me some more. It doesn’t stop until I stop what I’m doing and give her my undivided attention. The same holds true when she gets that look in her eye Calvin would get when he was going to throw a snowball at Susie Derkins and decides every unattached object on every table, shelf, and counter top needs to be knocked over.
Short of hurting her (which obviously I would never do – that would be unethical and she’s my kitty buddy), I’ve tried everything: Kitty time outs, petting, talking, barking at her, etc. and no matter what I do, she immediately goes back and does whatever she wanted to do. According to wikipedia, cats aren’t all that smart – so why is it I am consistently losing these battles of will with her? Further, am I a dipshit for getting into a battle of wills with something that cannot help but be what she is? I mean, when you hit your head on the kitchen cabinet, getting mad at the cabinet isn’t going to help. It’s not like you’re going to ‘teach the cabinet a lesson’. Are things with cats the same way? Is she just a little furry retard who doesn’t know any better?
Now, before any of you get to thinking the cat is trying to tell me something obvious like “hey idiot, I’m hungry and there’s no food in the bowl” or “empty my damn litter box already!”, or that she’s going apeshit because she’s not getting any attention, let me put your minds at ease. Given that I’m a student and broke, I probably spend more time at home with my pet than you do with yours. She gets lots of food, milk and treats. Her poopbox is cleaned regularly. She’s got a good kitty life full of love and play and naps and mischief.
Originally, I was going to title this piece, “What We Have Here, is a Failure of Communication”, but decided against it when I realized that we absolutely don’t have a failure of communication. We have excellent communication. The cat wants something, and she emphatically and persistently insistently demands until she gets what she wants. Instead, I decided to re-purpose a fortune cookie message I got a while back because ultimately, it doesn’t matter what you think of the baby, if it cries loud enough and long enough, you’ll eventually give it the milk.