Hump Day: Cat owner seeks treadmill, electrical generator

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Cats are weird little creatures, aren’t they? As the old saying goes, they don’t have owners — they have staff. Some days, I certainly feel like that. And other days, I just sit there shaking my head trying to figure them out.

This September marks the 10th anniversary of getting my first pet as an adult, a little red tabby named Tiki from the local animal shelter. She was quickly renamed Cindy (short for “Cinnamon”) and has ruled the house ever since.

She bosses my other cat around something fierce. Casey was adopted from the shelter nine year ago this month. He, too, is still going strong. Despite Cindy’s initial hesitancy at accepting him, they soon became fast friends, although Cindy is clearly the boss of the two even though Casey’s twice her size. If Cindy could hold a rolling pin in her paw and bop him over the head from time to time, I’m sure she would.

They’ll chase each other around the house and wrestle, complete with loud angry meows and hisses — mostly from Cindy. She always quits playing first, much to Casey’s chagrin. He just sits there in the middle of the room and howls, waiting for her to come back and play. She never does.

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard a cat howl, but it goes right through you like a knife. Casey is a big cat and can make noise when he wants to. While Cindy’s meow is tiny and delicate, his meow is loud and he is prone to practically howl with disappointment when she will no longer play or when mealtime is nearing.

I try to hush him up by saying his name a few times or doing my best impression of a librarian and shushing him. He stops eventually, but not before he’s tried to tell the entire world that he’s not terribly impressed with Cindy’s decision to call off Wrestlemania.

I sleep with earplugs so as to not be awakened by the odd meow or wrestling match, but a couple of time per year a match will take place right outside my closed bedroom door. There’s nothing that will wake you up out of a dead sleep (even wearing earplugs) quite like two cats banging against your door at 2 a.m. from rolling around in the hallway and then Casey howling in anger for five minutes after he’s been abandoned in favour of a scratching post or soft pillow somewhere else in the house.

Those are the nights I wish I didn’t have cats, but luckily those donnybrooks don’t happen very often. I’ve gotten so used to it that it probably happens more often than I even realize, though.

Mealtimes are when they go particularly nuts, running around in circles like maniacs when they see me going toward their dishes. Casey will stand on top of the container of food, which kind of goes against logic considering he wants me to feed him. He does it every time. I have to shoo him off the lid so I can get inside. Then they run around my feet while I get their food ready.

They’ve had their paws stepped on so often that they must think it’s par for the course for getting fed. They just screech the minute my toe makes contact with their paw (likely a good thing or they’d be pancakes by now) and then continue running in circles until their dishes are filled.

When Milane the dog came along a couple of years ago, she was nice and calm and wouldn’t get too excited at mealtime until they taught her to go completely unhinged when I made a move for the food bin. She runs right along in circles with them and bangs into them. One cat goes flying when Milane slams into her; the other runs in a circle trying not to get stepped on. Meanwhile Milane barks her brains out and scratches the back of my leg while I’m filling up the cats’ dishes as if to remind me that I need to feed her, too.

I mean, you’d swear they were all starving or something. They’re all normal weights and get high-quality food that they gobble up happily. There are no issues there. Maybe it’s just a happy time of the day and they’re just expressing pleasure? I don’t know. I wish I could harness their energy at mealtime and turn it into electricity!

I know Casey was a stray before he was brought to the shelter in 2004 from being at large around Arden Street in Moncton. He was someone’s pet because he’d already been neutered. I’m not sure what happened, but my guess is that he got pretty hungry out there on the street and wants to make sure it doesn’t hap­pen again. Well, he’s doing a pretty good job at it. It’s difficult to ignore a big male cat pacing in front of the sofa and meowing loudly. “Suppertime is here, Big Man Who Feeds Me! Get a move on!”

While the dog and cats don’t play with each other, they’re perfectly comfortable in each other’s presence. Cindy, who’s the more temperamental of the two cats, has never shown any aggression toward the dog, which actually surprised me. They’ve even run into each other a few times during the mealtime running-in-circles marathon and I half expected Cindy to hiss and take a swipe at Milane, but she never has. Cindy’s poor husband Casey, though, will get a swat and hiss just by looking at her the wrong way. I guess my two ladies stick together!

I often wonder what the house would be like had I never adopted any pets. It would be quiet. The furniture would have no fur all over it. The floors wouldn’t be scratched up from claws. And boy, would it be boring.

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