Cats are some of my favorite critters on earth, but they are also some of the strangest things I have ever encountered.
While I became a proud cat-owner only eight years ago, I’ve been vicariously owning cats through friends and relatives pretty much my whole life.
The first cats that might have thought of me as theirs (yes, cats own you, when you really get down to it), belonged to my very best friend, Jess, who I met the summer after first grade. Jess and her mom already had two cats when I met them, but it wasn’t until a few years later, when they got a pair of calico kittens that I really felt like I had a cat that I thought of as mine, who also thought of me as hers.
One of the kittens was most definitely Jess’s and Jess was her very favorite person, but her sister, Stacy, liked me best. This was the cat that would come into Jess’s room in the morning, settle on my chest, and stare me down until I woke up. When you’re under ten, it doesn’t take much more than the weight of a cat to make it a little harder to breathe. It was a really effective strategy on Stacy’s part.
Stacy also talked to me. A LOT. She would follow me around the house meowing and yowling and generally carrying on. I was probably encouraging her because I did tend to talk back. But I loved this about her. She didn’t do it to Jess or her mom unless I wasn’t around. It was a mark that Stacy thought I was hers. It also earned her the nickname Whiner, because she always sounded like she was complaining.
It took quite a while before I had my own kitten, and we weren’t supposed to be keeping him. You can read the whole store of Locke, The Most Beautiful Dumpster Cat, in a previous post.
Locke wasn’t originally mine. He was my boyfriend’s (and later fiancé’s, hence why he’s now mine since we’re married). He lived with two dogs and another cat growing up. The one dog was an already past middle-aged Shetland sheepdog, the other cat a just about middle-aged ragdoll, and the second dog was a standard poodle about the same age as Locke. The Shetland ignored Locke for the most part, but was a model dog. The poodle liked to chase Locke, pin him down, and bite him across the middle until he squeaked. The ragdoll abhorred him. And I do mean abhorred. She didn’t like other cats on principle, and Locke never went away (like all the other strays the family had taken in and adopted out) so she was incredibly mad about his continued presence. She hissed and spit and carried on whenever he got too close.
Seeing as the poodle was his age and the Shetland was a much better roll model than the ragdoll, it doesn’t surprise me much that he thinks he’s a dog. He even sits pretty and begs like a dog. (Though my sister-in-law later admitted to training him to do that on purpose.)
It doesn’t get much stranger than that does it? A cat that thinks it’s a dog? Well, that’s really just the beginning of Locke’s strangeness.
Locke occasionally has what my husband and I call “The Zoomies.” This condition is characterized by blown wide pupils, tearing around the house/apartment/room with no apparent provocation, running form any sign of movement (human, animal, or mechanical), and generally spazing out. This happens every few days at least. It’s the strangest thing to watch.
Locke also seems to believe that if he can see the bottom of his food bowl, that he is in imminent danger of starvation. He can get downright mean and nippy if the begging and crying doesn’t produce more food in his bowl. However, picking the bowl up and shaking it so the food covers the bottom again, calms him down just as much as adding a new scoop. He also refuses to eat out of the actual bowl. He picks up a mouthful of food, drops it on the floor, and then eats it one piece at a time. I’ve even caught him doing this with his wet food, though not nearly as often. Maybe because I serve that on a tiny plate instead of a bowl?
Needless to say, Locke is a strange, strange critter.
These two are great examples of how and why cats are so strange, but it’s by no means exclusive to these two. I’ve heard stories of cats that got up on high shelves and threatened to knock hand-built models to the floor if their owner didn’t get up to feed them. I know of cats who ruled the entire house, from the humans and the other cat to the giant mutt and the German shepherd. All you have to do is find a random cat meme to find more examples of cats’ strangeness, from their love of boxes, to their insistence they fit in any space they want to sit on/in, to the possibility that they are indeed non-Newtonian fluids.
Do you have a strange cat story? I’d love to hear about the strange antics of the felines you know.