RG the Cat Guy spoils her routine
I was sitting in the smallest room of the house, stymied by the irregularities of plumbing, when the Head of the Household stuck her head in the door and announced, in no uncertain terms, that I was to get off the pot and into the bed.
I pretend that’s her way of saying she loves me.
Her other servant already had been herded between the sheets, where she was reading a paperback mystery through half-open eyes.
But the troublemaker (that would be me) was lollygagging once again. A couple of lights were still on, the garage door was still open and — worst of all in the view of the Head of the Household — there was a food bowl still to be refilled with kibble.
“Get on with it,” she yowled.
Irresistible force having prevailed (one again) over immovable object, the plumbing issue would have to wait for another time.
If you own a cat — well, first of all, you’re looking at the world backwards — but, if you share housing with a cat, you might have noticed a change lately in its attitude.
They could have gone from occasionally being annoyed by your presence ... to dropping all pretense that it happens only occasionally.
Blame the pandemic.
It seems 73% of those owned by cats, according to a survey last month on the effects of coronavirus restrictions on pets, believe that the tolerance level of their own Heads of the Household has started to wane ... particularly when it comes to the increased time they have to share their living quarters.
How this 73% had determined that our cats want us to vamoose is left unsaid — but it’s possibly because lights are being left on, garage doors left open and food bowls left unfilled.
Three-quarters of those stuck at home with nothing better to do than to answer a cat survey said that they would not have made it through quarantine guidelines without their Head of the Household, while 86% say they want care for their cats because their cats look out for them.
Which, apparently, might not be what the cats desire.
“Although many cats are enjoying the attention from their owners being at home,” said veterinarian Laura Pletz, who works for the pet food company that sponsored the survey, “most cats are independent and do a good job of structuring their day themselves.”
(For those of you asking “But what about dogs?” ... on Page C2 in today’s paper, Dr. Fox tries to figure out why a female golden retriever from Medford is addicted to humping pillows. Enjoy.)
In yet another survey, conducted by yet another pet food company, 83% said that spending time with their cat — or, I suppose, dog — during the lockdown “improved their mood more than online shopping or spending time with a significant other.”
OK ... a couple of things here.
I get the online shopping part. The last thing it does is “improve your mood.”
I mean, call me crazy (the cackle you hear is coming from a paperback mystery reader with a cat on her lap), but any time I have to enter a credit card number into a “safe and secure” internet site in order to purchase anything from clothes to hotel room stays, it’s more likely to cause plumbing problems than it is to make me feel safe and secure.
But that’s not the real issue here ... for 83% of those owned by a cat (or dog) find more comfort in spending time with their pets than with their significant others.
It’s a safe bet the other 17% are those whose dogs have humping issues.
Moreover, 44% of women — if given the Sophie’s Choice of choosing just one companion to be with through another lockdown — would pick their pet. Significant others came in second.
Men, flipped the numbers, with 47% choosing those who (and I’m not naming names here) most likely would feed them.
That cackle you hear ...
The cats weren’t asked their opinion of who they’d rather spend be stuck with — not that cats would bother answering a survey.
Which brings us to what’s actually going on here. These surveys aren’t about cat behaviors; they’re about the patterns of those who are tolerated by their Head of the Household.
If we notice something different in the antics of our pet, then, it’s actually just a combination of what they are doing ... and our attention being diverted while we were cooped up together.
Dr. Pletz — the pet food veterinarian, not the dog-humping expert — cautions, as with all aspects of emerging from the pandemic, it’s best to take things one step at a time.
“Owners,” she says, “should make gradual changes to help reduce stress and ease the transition back to ‘normal’ life.”
I think she was talking about our cats.
As it is, our own particular high priestess has had her fill of quality bonding time. She wants order restored and our chores completed on a regular basis, and has quite enough, thank you, of this irregularity.
To which I can only add: “Preach, sister.”
Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin leaves the garage door open at firstname.lastname@example.org