Here she is keeping the package that my jeans came in warm. She’s so thoughtful.
When I had toyed with the idea of adopting a cat, I thought I’d get one that loved to be picked up, would sit on my lap all the time (even though this would, after sometime, get annoying), and love to have her belly rubbed. Basically a cat that was really affectionate.
I’m pretty sure I could tell that Playbill was none of those things when I went to have a one-on-one play session with her at Petco before she came home to my apartment. I mean, maybe it was the fact that I was a stranger and she wasn’t doing well living in a box at Petco, or it was just her personality not to run up to you and jump into your arms. But she’d stuck her paw out of the cage at J and I the previous Sunday and she really needed a good home. And she was so fucking cute.
So, I couldn’t say no. And home with me she came.
I kept thinking that was she still depressed when she wouldn’t sit on my lap and always liked to sit on the chair across from where I usually sit in my living room. She usually slept a lot. She basically acted like a skeptical, stand-offish cat. I remember telling my therapist these things and he said, “It sounds like she acts like her owner.” How rude! But true. Touche.
Cat with sass on her favorite bag.
Almost four months in and she still won’t sit on my lap – aside from the couple of times that I dared to sit in her chair. She came up to me and pawed at my stomach until I got up – shaming me, I guess, to get out of her chair.
Sleeping in said chair.
And she doesn’t love to be picked up. She’s gotten a little better, but she really doesn’t love it. She’ll let me pick her up for a few seconds, to appease me, I suppose, and then she’ll start squirming and jump if I don’t put her down first.
She still won’t sleep on my bed with me. She’ll lay in the corner of my bed with me while I read and then once I turn the lights out, she’s gone. Her job is done so she can leave, I suppose? There are hedgehogs and fish to be hunted in the living room. Very important.
And her belly? Usually off limits, but she’s sometimes willing to compromise on that. If she’s rolling around on my bed playing with a toy and I start rubbing her belly. About 60% of the time she’ll swat at me, but sometimes she’ll let me give her a belly rub with a look on her face that says, “Okay, fine, just this once. But make it quick. OK, that’s enough. God, the things I do to make you happy.”
So, she’s not the cat that I envisioned myself adopting, but she’s the one who won me over and she’s 8 (48 in human years) so I can’t change her. I could torture her and try to get her to act a certain way that I think she should act towards me, but that’ll make her miserable and in return, I’ll be miserable, too.
So, the only thing to do is accept her for the kind of cat she is. She’s not super affectionate and doesn’t like being picked up, but she’s adorable and I love her, so who she is is just fine.
This mindset also applies to people. If someone isn’t acting the way you’d like them to, they don’t have to change, but you do. Otherwise your attempts to manipulate and shame them into acting how you want will be met with anger and brick walls. I think this is something that a lot of people won’t accept or acknowledge. We’d all be a lot happier if we did though. That’s for damn sure.
To end this on a positive note, here’s another picture of my adorable stand-offish cat: