Codependency and the Family Cat

kitty mugshot

This might sound a bit obvious to some of you, but have you ever wondered why man bothered domesticating the cat?

My tortie, Tiger, skulks around the house like a disenfranchised teen with pupils the size of baseballs, ears at half-mast – the kitty equivalent of a scowl – virtually all the time. Ok, it’s entirely likely that the dilated pupils have something to do with her catnip mouse, but still! Her look tells me she is only ever 30% happy 20% of the time, which gives me an approval rating at present of about 6%. I’m working on it, but she’s a hard sell, man.

Tiger bath

Tiger: “Go ahead. Give me a good excuse to end your pathetic life…”

Tiger is only ever happy when she is a.) being fed, or b.) climbing onto your knee for affection and sinking in all 20 claws for stability. Right – because 2 people reduced to gelatinous lumps of sofa-bound laziness after a long day, a bottle of wine and half a season of Big Bang Theory to watch in one night are SO likely to be moving their legs anytime soon. She should know us better than that!

Privately, I suspect Tiger may have a slightly sadistic/sociopathic leaning, but for now, I’m trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. Like all of us who are conditioned over time into co-dependent relationships, I make excuses for her. When she hacks up a hairball on my sofa, I blame Iams. When she poops in the bathtub, I blame Catsan (Tidy Cats). When she wakes me at 5 a.m. scratching on the front door, gets me out of bed, and then cheekily makes a dash for her food bowl in an attempt to bring her breakfast forward by a couple of hours, I blame myself for having fed her too early the night before.

It’s what we co-dependents do: We make excuses for our abusers.

A friend of mine, Peter, recently intimated to me that he didn’t like cats. “I always feel like cats are judging me.”

I tutted and shook my head in a Peter,Peter,Peter kind of way. “Only because they are,” I replied. “But don’t feel bad. Cats hate everyone unless they are being fed. It’s part of their mysterious charm. They live to reaffirm our human tendency toward self-loathing: ‘You hate yourself? Good. So do I. So does the rest of the world. Get over it and pass the kitty treats.'”

“Ah,” he said. “Wisdom from one who has felt the pain of cat rejection. You should start a support group…”

Mm hmm. Co-dependent, that’s what we are. Cat owners need to be needed by needy creatures that pretend NOT to need us! How else can you explain the grumpy catCrazy Cat Lady? 435 cats, mountains of nastiness, fleas and feces everywhere, her sofa in ribbons, and she is reduced to sleeping in a tent in the yard on account of her cats.

I’m not quite there yet. My cat count is at present only 2, just enough to keep the rats from taking over the garden. So, it’s not all bad. My cats do, after all, earn their keep, and I have the mouse intestine strung over my front step to prove it. And a kidney. Or is that a bladder?

I understand many sadists and sociopaths have been known to hold a steady job for years before going off the deep end.

Sleeping with one eye open,

Mother Hen

© motherhendiaries 2014 all rights reserved

18 replies »

  1. Well said. I think you captured our demented relationship with cats quite well. I suspect people really do enjoy having their own sense of self loathing reinforced and validated by a little furry creature. I take the pathology a bit farther and make sure I only have feral cats. That way there’s no deception and we both understand each other. They want to kill me and I’m scared they will if I ever stop feeding them. It works.


  2. I was laughing from the start of this! I have been raised in a ‘dog family’ but i “cat sit” for my best girlfriend, Jenny! She and husband have trusted me with keys and codes, food combinations and ways to make the two calico’s ‘happy.’ They still barf on the 3rd or 4th day that their ‘parents’ are on vacation. So I have to scrape this off the cream colored carpet, put some kind of magical carpet powder down, lay a dampened towel on top, then it somehow comes out. Well, in theory… Anyway, they miss their ‘mommy’ and I understand. They do like me a bit, since they will lie at the end of the guest bed, waiting for me to get up. They don’t pounce on my face or knock any items off the counters like they used to!! Smiles, Robin


    • For a low maintenance pets, a cat can be surprisingly high maintenance! But they are lovely, otherwise we wouldn’t bother. They do have their redeeming qualities for sure!


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