Friday, October 16, 2015

An Open Letter to Our Cat

Dear Margot,

First, allow me to welcome you to the family.  I know it's been two and a half months since you've joined us, but we've been pretty busy, so you'll forgive my lateness.  We're a pretty fun group -- if your definition of fun is staying home, living a sedentary life of reading and watching tv and eating, with only brief bursts of energy that propel us off our posteriors and into equally brief moments of sociability -- but you're a cat, so that seems like a good fit.  The smallest member of the family (yourself excluded) has more frequent (and intense) bursts of activity (and sociability), but we figure she'll outgrow that.

We may have gotten off on the wrong foot in terms of your understanding of the contract of expected behavior, so this seems like a good time to break down the rules and expectations for living in this house.

1.  You have a litter box.  Use it.  Great news!  You've already got this one down.  No problems here.  Keep it that way if you know what's good for you, er, I mean, GOOD JOB!

2.  Chew nothing but your kibble and cat toys.  We've had a little run-in on this one already, haven't we?  My fault for not explaining the terms of your contract, sooner, I suppose.  So let me break it down for you.  You are adorable.  You are soft and fluffy and have big eyes and ears that you use to your advantage.  Nevertheless, there are not enough cute head butts and purrs in your repertoire to make up for destroying my MacBook charger.  Silky ears and twitchy tails do not keep my laptop running.  Keep those pointy little fangs to yourself, and we'll get along just fine.  And on a related note...

3.  DON'T BITE.  Not me.  Not anybody.  But especially not me.  Perhaps this one requires a little history.  You probably don't remember this far back (nearly three months ago), but you were rescued from certain death by a dear friend.  Together, she and I took one look at your tiny, flea-covered body and suited up for battle.  We knew we couldn't use any chemicals on such a young kitten, and so we spent the better part of a day picking hundreds of fleas off your squirmy, little self.  Did you catch that?  We picked them off by hand.  I'm not asking for much in return.  Just a little gratitude.  Ever heard that chestnut, "Don't bite the hand that feeds you?"  Didn't think so.  Well, it also applies to the hand that feeds and picks fleas off you by hand so as not to poison your baby body with chemicals.  You're welcome.

4.  Don't destroy my furniture/curtains/child's toys/etc.  Remember that story about how I picked fleas off you by hand?  How I provided you with a home full of food and warmth and a dog covered in cords/kitten toys?  Yeah, keep that in mind every time you get the urge to scratch the sofa or cling to the footboard of my bed using only your rear claws and killer balance.  Though I will say I appreciate your self-control in waiting at least two days before removing every one of the claw caps I so carefully applied.  It shows you have some self-control.  Or a sense of humor.

5.  Keep doing that thing where you sit on my chest and purr so loudly it can be heard across the room.  That's really working for me.  Especially when you combine it with the half-shut eyes and occasional chin or nose lick.  Keep up the good work.

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