Dear whatever your name is,

Telluride Daily Planet, Sunday, September 14, 2014

We’ve had 8.5 human years together now; and though I do feel I’ve gotten to know you better, I still find you unpredictable and irritating. Therefore, I’d like to suggest we go over my rules. Again. That way, you won’t get all wound up about my alleged misbehavior and I won’t have to bite or scratch the hand that feeds me. (Feeds me less than brilliantly much of the time, I just really have to say that. Even though you do make my food by hand — and brag about it — there are still actual carrot chunks in some batches.) (And in regards to biting, sometimes there is so much satisfaction in puncturing that fleshy area on the inside of your wrist, I simply cannot resist, especially when provoked.) I’m a feline. I like soft mouse bellies, bird throats and human wrists.

I know I should start with some of the good things:

Good job getting me a sunnier house. Good job giving me my own room and shutting the door at night. Cozy is not a word I like, but for lack of a better one, that’s what it is. I know you did it to keep me safely at bay until you were ready for me in the morning and it’s time for my measly drop of heavy cream; but the fact is, cats like to have their own rooms with a substantial window to look out, and preferably on the first floor so that we can see who we might have been dealing with had we been left out all night. Brilliant on your part, though probably unintentional. Good job putting my food bowls there and my litter box. Homey! But I mean. Maybe you don’t realize how much I keep watch over things. It’s because of all the glowing cats’ eyes peering out of the black glass and into the deep, dark night keeping watch that things continue on as they do. It would all probably just explode into chaos were it not for the constant vigilance of cats. Not joking.

Good job keeping the basket I’ve slept in since I was a tiny kitten, because it suits me. I can curl up in a ball and make the world go away. I know you think I look cute in it, but my orange fur and stripes are not a costume, or a zip suit, it’s how nature made me. Do not baby-talk to me, I loathe it. And you wonder why my pupils dilate into angry eyes when you coo that name you think is mine?

Anyway, the basket. It’s warm. You keep the fleece blanket relatively hair-free, and, once I cover my eyes with my front paws, I’m as good as blissful. Cat napping is actually a profound state of stillness, as you’ve probably sensed. When we sleep, we actually contribute to world peace: this is a very important and unrecognized part of what we do here on earth.

Good job getting me a couple more people, one of them small and one extra large: I’m pleased with both additions except for the usual things: I hate loud voices, crying, singing and foreign languages. And surprises of any kind, including coughing, sneezing, objects dropping to the floor, doors slamming and excessive wind through the open windows. And that will not change. I suggest you use your own rooms for these activities or open the door and let me out, unless it is raining or snowing or otherwise not optimal. Or if that sauntering black and white bruiser from two doors down is skulking around. Can’t you do something about him? I mean do you have any idea how it felt when he came through my open window and ate all my wet food? Um, humiliated? Violated? I hate that cat.

Now, for the tough love. Don’t stroke the fur off me. Not you, not anyone. I like a morning pick-up and stroke for about 45 seconds. Then put me down and give me my cream. If you want me to continue to be your personal house lion, do not try to rush me, or tell me what to do. Don’t pretend you’re coming in to scratch my ears when you are really grabbing me to take me to bed. Don’t do that one-arm carry, it makes me crazy. Don’t laugh at me or even smile too much.

I know you think I have a perfect life. Wrong! So wrong. How do you think it feels always looking in when you’re out and out when you’re in? Here’s a little secret and the reason for this letter. In spite of how we behave — in spite this idea that we know exactly what we are doing at all times, we are malcontents (unless doing our bit for world peace). And a little understanding from you on that front would go a long way.

Thanks and remember: no more carrot chunks!


Whatever my name is


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