Though it’s generally considered good sense to approach anything Sigmund Freud said with skepticism, I agree with him on this one. And since even Freud probably couldn’t stretch a metaphor far enough to make a cat into a phallic symbol, I think we’re safe.
I’ve written about my family’s nuisance of house cats before, but it’s been, like, weeks, so I think we’re due another cat post.
So here’s Samwise’s User Guide to Kittehs:
First of all, congratulations! By adopting a little ball of fluff you have made your first steps toward the form of insanity known as cat ownership!
Anything so cute has to be evil.
Raising and caring for a cat of your own can be a very rewarding experience, as long as you don’t actually expect them to listen to you, or love you in return. Actually, and no one will tell you this until after you adopt a cat, but that little shite is going to do whatever the heck it wants until you learn to put up with it. And you’re going to love it anyway. The most common misconception is that you can train your cat to certain things, and well, the idea is honestly just laughable. Your new cat, on the other hand, is trying to teach you the rules of cat ownership.
The first lesson your cat is trying to teach you: Expectation will always lead to disappointment.
Living under the tyrannical rule of one of our feline overlords can be frustrating and disillusioning. I guarantee you that four out of five times you, the human, want to have a positive or emotional connection with your lord and master, your furry friend will snub you like yesterday’s beef and gravy bits. Whether you’re trying to play with their catnip mouse or wanting to snuggle before bed, you will most likely be beneath your liege’s notice.
Their emotional detachment will hurt you. Their offhanded rejection will come as a surprise, and it will only leave you craving their attentions more. The most important thing here is to accept it. You see, what is an abusive relationship between members of our own species is the expected norm in human-feline relations. You will spend much of your time vying for their approval, while they, in turn, do their best to accept your existence.
The second lesson your cat is trying to teach you: Learn to recognize my moods.
Cats are very different creatures from the other common, and clearly inferior, domestic species of dogs. They will not greet you with a wagging tail and a slobbery tongue, as they are not such base creatures (however, if you have forgotten to prepare their majesty’s regular meals, they may insistently remind you of your duties.)
As cats are higher beings, their moods are beyond our lowly comprehension. In their wisdom, however, they deign to approach their human servants with three recognizable “moods”: Happy, Angry, and Hungry.
As I just said, a hungry cat will be actively seeking your attention as you have failed in your duties. Your furry master will most likely rub up against your legs, and then lead you to their dish. They will not lead you to where the food is kept, as they are above such matters and really, it’s your job to know that anyway. Should you not respond within the appropriate amount of time, usually five seconds, your lord or lady may also give you a short but sharp verbal rebuff.
A closed mouth and shut eyes are good signs of a content overlord, as well as a lazily sweeping tail. If you are successful in pleasing your cat, they will generally settle down for a nap, or if you’re lucky, a cuddle. Our masters also may vary their forms of affection, from a light nip to a heavy purr.
Angry cats are another story altogether. See how the Happy cat above has a gentle expression and perky ears? If you anger your cat, they will adopt a very different visage:
Those humans who anger their overlords find that they experience fear on a primal level. An angry cat will make a human instinctually draw back, as we are subconsciously cognizant that a cat should never be angered. As you may have noticed, the ears are flattened instead of upright, the eyes are slitted in disgust, and the fangs are bared. Should you encounter an angry cat, your only hope of survival is to placate them as best you can, or run for your life.
Newcomers to cat ownership may commonly find their liege-lord with this expression:
Do not be concerned. This expression simply means the cat is experiencing a level of reflection or emotion that you are not able to understand. You should not feel the need to act, though placating your overlord is always a good idea.
The third lesson your cat is trying to teach you: Learn how and where to touch me.
In our childhood, most of us learn the parts of the cat like this:
Not only is the above diagram simplistic, but it also has no real functionality. The terms used there are too general, too applicable to other animals. Cats are on an entirely different plane of existence than other animals (including humans), and therefore require a set of diagrams. Specifically, their anatomy is determined by their emotional state (refer to Lesson 2).
The Happy Cat diagram:
The Happy cat diagram is the most common.
The Angry Cat diagram:
The Angry cat diagram is probably the most useful.
The Scared Cat diagram:
No, scared cats aren’t invisible; they’re just gone.
Knowing the proper names for the parts of the cat is a good place to start, though you should also know where your kitty will prefer to be touched, as shown here:
Remember to always aim for the “Hell Yes” and the “Awesome” categories.
Well, that is it for this installment of Samwise’s User Guide to Kittehs. Hopefully this information and these diagrams have been useful to you. Remember, your cat is a tiny, furry Buddha, and they have much to teach you.