do not pick up an unhappy cat if you’re naked

June 10, 2005

in Cat blogging

Kady has issues.  What most of them are, beyond her being a lazy diva, are unknown to us. When she is displeased about something, she decides it is not worth her time and energy to go down to the basement to use the box.  We have not been able to determine if her choice of alternate toilet locations — my office or my husband’s — is correlated with specific annoyance with one of us, or just equal opportunity contempt.  Anyway, my office has been the target lately.

Our response in the past has been strategic placement of additional boxes in inconvenient places (for us), hand-wringing and heated discussions about what’s wrong with her, and my frequent personal schlepping of her to the main box, accompanied by much encouragement and praise for jobs well done.

Last night I took a shower and headed up to bed.  Kady was lounging at the top of the stairs, Mistress of the Landing. I decided it was probably a good time to take her to the box, and went to pick her up.  She did not want to be picked up.  She rolled on her back and grabbed my hand with her teeth and half-sheathed claws. This means, “Really, I prefer you not do that.”  There are more serious degrees of resistance, so I persisted, got my hands underneath her, and proceeded to tug at a cat with four sets of claws firmly embedded in the berber.  At that point, Sophie trotted upstairs, temporarily distracting Kady from her implantation, and I was able to hoist Her Fatness to my chest.  My bare chest.  She whined.  Now, I consider myself a fairly careful planner, and in fact this whole expedition to the box was, I thought, an example of farsightedess and forethought.  But at that moment, holding 12 pounds of squirmy, unhappy cat with nothing between her and I but…nothing…I realized this might not be one of my finer moments.

I headed downstairs.  As I passed my husband, who was on the couch, he looked at me wide-eyed. Not, I am certain, because the love of his life was going by nude and dewy from a shower, but at my profound bravery/foolishness being naked and carrying this cat, known to feel perfectly free to use her teeth and claws on her devoted parents.

You now have a vivid image in your mind (perhaps a titillating one for those who do not know me) of what happens next.  Hell, I’m sorry, this story doesn’t have a funny ending involving blood, delighted paramedic, and my not being able to wear a bra for a week.  Kady let me take her to the box, she peed, I lavished love on her, and my skin is intact. But your anticipation of the lurid possible outcomes certainly proves that this anecdote serves as a fine cautionary tale.  I know that I was lucky this time, and will never again carry a grumpy cat while in the all-together.

argusmaniac June 10, 2005 at 1:30 pm

HA! I was looking forward to some titillation… I won't even begin to tell you about why cats shouldn't be on the bed when you only have a sheet covering you in the morning…

Modulator June 10, 2005 at 5:48 pm

Friday Ark

Cats, Dogs, Spiders and ? every Friday. We’ll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals as I see them (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Leave a comment or trackback …

Diane June 20, 2005 at 12:17 am

We used to have a very similar problem with Toby, our Very Spoiled Little Boy Kitty. Toby was bottle-fed by me, and I was not very good at telling him "no". As such, my arms were constantly covered in scratches. After a few months of training (he might be self-centered, but he's far from dumb), we've gotten his level of violence down to some "soft" (doesn't break the skin barely leaves marks) biting and no using claws.

If you are bent on getting her to stop scratching you, here are some things you might try.

1. Cats don't understand physical punishment. By the time you've "spanked" them or otherwise punished them enough to be a deteriant, you have seriously injured them. Anything less than that is just a tickle, and can be ignored by them. As such, hitting back does not work with cats, usually.

2. A loud, high-pitched squeel, right as they hurt you "Ow!" is about what a kitten would do to another kitten, so it would register to your cat.

3. Long sharpened talons of death are a privillage. I am anti-declaw, but I have no qualms about cutting claws short when they are abusing them (or using them to abuse my fair skin)! Cut them regularly.

4. When the cat runs up to you and bites or swipes you for no apparent reason, pick the cat up and hold is immoble. Don't hurt the cat–just don't let the cat get down. Speak soothingly to the cat, and wait for the cat to stop struggling. When the cat stops struggling, count to five, then put her down.

5. When the cat bites you or swipes you in the middle of a calm petting session, use the method found in number four.

6. Play a lot with the cat. It's amazing how much a good two hours a day of interactive play can cut down on attacks.

Okay, might not work with your cat, but it can't hurt, and as someone who *still* has scars from Toby (I point to them proudly!), it might help you a little. Feel free to write me if I've been unclear.

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