Grumpy Cat

You speak the truth, grumpy cat.

Last Wednesday morning, I came out of my bedroom to a hostile hallway. The cat’s moans filled the room and as I groggily tried to sidestep her, she entangled herself in my slippers, tripped me, and then screeched at my clumsy infraction. While deciding whether filling her food bowl or boiling water for coffee was the priority, she yelled at me from her dish. Instead of eating she huddled under a chair and let out great long meows at me.

“What is your (colorful language here) problem?” I hissed into the dark morning. She turned in circles, chirped in aggravation. “Eat your (unpublishable expletive) food you little mother-(guess the second part of this compound noun).”

My cat has been seriously grumpy for a couple of weeks now. She’s been bad-tempered and prone to throwing fits and tantrums. I was at wit’s end and, because I toe the line between sane and its opposing cousin prefixed with in, I told her this.

“What’s your problem, buddy? I feed you, take care of you, I let you sleep wherever you want. I find it charming when you poop on the floor or leave me dead offerings of worship in my bed. We watch TV. I give you tuna. Your life is good!”

She screamed the word “Noooo!”

I sighed and averted my gaze. I made my coffee.

I had my own problems to deal with. School had started with a serious bang and I was being dragged in five directions by research, teaching, prep, writing, and projects. Just walking into school gave me heartburn. Each step up to my office elicits another sigh of prescient exasperation and frustration. So I really had no time to pull up a couch and play psychologist to my cat. Perhaps I’d introduce her to catnip, get her some snacks, and throw on a Cheech and Chong flick.

Things boiled over on Friday. A time consuming extra task was thrown my way and I saw red for an entire morning and afternoon. I dragged my feet, slammed books on my desk, spent most of the day muttering creative expletives under my breath. Had a third of these expletives been heard, I would be in the local asylum learning to eat guláš with my arms bound into a personal hug.

Friday afternoon, the cat was worse than ever. Though she was soundly sleeping when I came in, upon my arrival she awoke and instantly began barking at me. Her eyes were hooded and she followed me around throwing a mini-tantrum to my mega-tantrum. I moaned, slammed cabinets, muttered, and bitched about the historical unfairness of it all. I escaped to my office where I did a little work and then, cat shouting at me from the Ottoman she sits on next to my desk, I finally decided to bring my situation to the world of social media. My cat was driving me nuts. I could find the joke, but what I needed was a good cat meme.

I typed in Cat Takes On, and Google finished the search terms for me with: Owner’s Personality.

I read two articles based on research that cats take on their owner’s personality. Grumpy Cat = Grumpy Owner. This was not the first time I had been called grumpy in the last couple of weeks. And like most times I’m called out on something that cuts close to the bone, it was fine when I did it, not so fine when others did it. Especially my cat. Was I being called out as a grump by my cat?

I looked over at her. She spoke. This time I didn’t hear inarticulate meows and growls, I heard words and accusations. (see above paragraph on thin line between sane and insane). Here’s what she said:

“Dude! What the hell is your problem? You have a job you like, work with people you really like, and have the brain power to do something you love. You have a lovely home and loving friends and family. You have a lot of fun! Why are you so grumpy, you (unmentionable adjective) jerk? Lighten up! You’re bringing me down with you. Your life is good!”

Thus put in my place, I grumbled a bit. Has my cat been taking its mood cues from me? Damn. Stupid perspective. “But still,” I offered, “extra work on a Friday….”

She did not dignify this with a response.

And so it was that I got some catnip and spent Saturday on the couch with some snacks and a Cheech and Chong flick.

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