3.19.2013

cat fight

Anna (aka "Baby"), March 2013

Since I'm so rarely at home anymore, with all the working and commuting, my cat has decided she prefers my roommate. She has clawed up the carpet under his door to the attic all the way down to the nailed floorboards, just trying to scratch her way upstairs while we're at work. As soon as he bikes home (usually arriving before me), she races upstairs with him. She then spends all evening up there, hanging out on his vintage ethnic carpets near his cozy, cat-sized plants and mood lighting, watching him paint or eat or watch TV on his laptop, unless he chases her downstairs out of guilt.

But even before he moved in last summer, she had claimed the doorless, under-the-eaves closet up there as her own private cubby, somehow preferring to nap on a roll of carpet remnant stuffed in the very back next to some wood scraps and the fire ladder. (I try not to think about all the carpet chemicals and who knows what else she tracks down into our bed.)


Anna, blurry profile, March 2013*

I took it hard at first, as her owner for almost 10 years now, the one who buys her expensive, Canadian, grain-free food and swanky corn litter, refreshing her water bowl and scooping her box regularly. She had preferred me to my ex- and was always sweet with licks and head nuzzles, if never a big cuddler. Now she bites me at times—probably to tell me she wants upstairs, as if I don't already know what she wants from the annoyed meows over by the attic door.

And she poops on the bathroom floor most days for no clear reason. Maybe that's also because she wants upstairs, though she'd started pooping outside her box during cohabitation with the former roommate's cat when the other cat's foul, never-scooped, litter-changed-once-a-week box sat upstairs. My cat started pooping upstairs on the floor to vie for territory. Now in the floor-pooping habit, she only does it in the bathroom, some days in the box, most days out of the box, a little pile here one day by the toilet and there another day by the sink, rotated over the tile floor like ring-around-the-rosie. I collect the piles and spray down the floor with bleach. It can't be a protest over the litter, which she's used for most of her life. Maybe I should switch to a lower-sided box, now that she's officially senior, though she seems agile as ever.


Anna, blurry shot, March 2013*

Does every companionate relationship, even species to species, end in a falling out, a loss of affection, disillusionment, boredom, misery? Does cat love last? Is it me? I know I haven't been as present in the relationship as in years past when I worked from home and then away from home but still part-time. But dammit, I've been working hard to bring home the kibbles! It's not like I enjoy being gone most of the week. And when I come home, I want to eat and escape in front of a book or Netflix, browse the Internet, write in my journal—not drag string around the carpet, pretending to be a live snake, or wave a peacock feather in the air, pretending to be a bird. I thought cats were independent. Can't we have separate interests? Hello? Say something. Don't just bite my arm or flick your tail or lick your ass.

All this cat tension will probably calm down some once the weather warms up enough to leave the heat off because then we can keep the attic door open without all the paid-for heat escaping through the mostly uninsulated roof. Anna will be able to come and go throughout the house and out onto the balcony as often as she pleases, without asking, what my roommate calls having an "all-access pass"—one more reason to long for summer.


*Note: Cats are hard to shoot on manual mode, especially active, hyperalert ones.

2 comments:

  1. My husband's cat started pooping right next to the box. We took her to the vet and they said it was stress.

    We had to separate her from his other cat (who had always been there), gave her a separate litter box & had to install these electric scent diffusers to calm her down. It helped a little.

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  2. Well, I know I've been stressed this last year over money, so maybe it's catching. My cat has had the house to herself as the sole cat for nine months now. And she's had her own box for the last 3.5 years. But I haven't tried the pheromones in a long time, so thanks for reminding me, Melissa. It would be worth a try, though they're not cheap. I guess I could also take her to the vet, just in case something else is going on. Thanks for the support! —Brooke

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