Never Trust Your Life to a Hungry Cat

A hungry cat will eat almost anything. Don't think you're so special.

A hungry cat will eat almost anything. Don’t think you’re so special.

March 19 – 365 days of writing challenge

Prompt: do you have a menagerie of animals, etc.

Yes. Yes, I do have a menagerie of animals. I have two dogs, nine pigeons (we had 11 until a hawk stole two of them just last week), two parakeets, and three cats. We have also had hermit crabs and aquarium fish. Unfortunately, for the crabs and fish, they were last on our maintenance list, perhaps because they were the quietest, so they didn’t get to experience what you might call “longevity.”  This post will focus on my cats. My cats’ ages are six, two, and eight months. Until last summer, I had a cat, Gino, who died at age 18, but then we found Ginger a short time later, thus committing ourselves for another 10-ish years to the impossible task of keeping the litterboxes clean. Three well-fed cats make a lot of shit.

This is Ginger. She appears to love me so far, but sometimes I see that glint in her eye.

This is Ginger. She appears to love me so far, but sometimes I see that glint in her eye.

If you are a lover of cats, as I am, you know that they tend to run in front of you while you are walking. Sometimes it seems to be for no reason at all, but they do this even more if they are hungry. Dogs also exhibit this human-tripping behavior, but they seem to be more in tune to human body language, and sort of stay out of your way when you are walking.  Dogs have been domesticated longer than cats have, and cats just don’t quite get it yet. I have been annoyed by this under-foot behavior for years, but have only really thought about it recently, because there is no way to curb cat behavior like this; it is something you must simply live with, and accept the fact that cats are virtually un-trainable and don’t learn much from their mistakes, like getting accidentally kicked in the head for walking too close to a foot. They get right back in there.

I come home from work, and there is at least one cat darting between my feet as I walk up the stairs into the main living area of our house. In the evening, or on weekends, as I walk near the kitchen, one of my three cats will inevitably run in front of me, weaving back and forth, so that I have to pause several times to let the cat pass, thereby avoiding a quick trip to the floor, face down, or at least on my knees. It’s almost like watching a car race, during a caution, when drivers weave to keep others from passing. Are they trying to stop me?  Trip me?  Simply demanding attention?

Another time that my cats are particularly demanding is first thing in the morning. When Ginger, still a kitten, hears my alarm, she perks up, jumps on the bed, walks straight across my bladder, and stands on me. Meow?  Our cat Nomar usually wakes my husband up by standing on his chest and staring at him. My husband tries to brush him away, but Nomar either hunkers down or simply steps over the arm that is attempting to side-swipe him. Our other cat, Buddy, is always one-half step ahead of anyone who is going near the kitchen, that is, if he isn’t already sleeping beside the food bowl, or on one of the barstools at the kitchen counter.

So, what’s the point, you may ask.  Let me give you my theory on cats.

Why do my cats do this?  Why do your cats do this?  The answer is simple, my friends:  they are trying to kill you. You may laugh this off as paranoid or delusional, but first listen to the evidence.

The highest frequency of tripping activity occurs at specific times of the day – first thing in the morning, and when we arrive home after being out for a while.  These are the times at which the catfood bowl is most likely to be low. If you don’t have a cat, then let me share with you that in a cat’s mind, “low” is the same as “empty.” Cats get panicky when their food is low. They worry that there will never be more food. Do you see where I am heading with this?

The reason the cat runs in front of you on the stairs is that he or she is worried about running out of food. Therefore, your sweet kitty is trying to knock you off, so that when the food runs dry, another food source – you – will be readily available for the picking. The cat who sits on your chest and stares at you while you are sleeping is in the same frame of mind. He or she is checking to see whether you are still alive. If you are not alive, then your puss-puss has no reason to worry about being able to see the bottom of its bowl.

I don’t think cats are the only pets that, when locked in a house with your dead body, would eat you; they are, however, probably the only animals that consider this possibility on a daily basis, and possibly look forward to it.