On Writing with a Cat


The cat wouldn’t leave me alone at this desk until I wanted to take her picture.

I don’t really like kids. I know that seems like an odd way to start off a post about cats and writing. But oh well.

Oh, I understand that kids are necessary. The way a fire engine is necessary. They are both super loud and nobody is happy when they’re around, but we admit that both are probably needed. Every person I know and like used to be a kid. I even concede, in my most honest moments, that I too was at one point in the past, a kid. And, as my mom likes to remind me every time I say that I don’t like kids, I was a very bad kid. But despite all of that and despite the fact that I strive for reason and balance in my life, I just don’t like ‘em.

Surely one of three things has now occurred if you have read the last two paragraphs. One, you have grown disgusted by me, snapped off my webpage, and promised that you will not talk to me until I see you at Christmas. Two, you are nodding your head and saying, hells yeah, or some variation. Three, you are wondering why.

Here’s why. Kids trump everything. There is no complaint a non-kid-owning adult may voice that will not be trumped soon after by a kid-owning adult. No person on earth is more sleep deprived, more at wit’s end, poorer, more continuously baffled, more emotionally unstable, or with more chafed and decimated bodies and nipples than the kid-owning adult. It’s that kids represent an ownership to misery that frustrates the rest of us. Everyone should have the opportunity to be miserable, not just kid-owning adults.

Oh I get it, too. When I’m on a tram and a kid is complaining or a baby is wailing, I feel sad for the kid’s owner. But it’s the realization that this kid owner will throw this in the faces of his friends the first chance he gets that makes me lose all compassion and empathy. I once said to a kid-owning friend that I would like to have more money in my life. Just a little more money. It would make things easier, I could eat dinner out a little more often, have a drop more comfort. And I said it after having considered my words carefully, for I knew I was speaking to a kid-owner and their brains are always looking for a way to bring up the kids they own. Did I receive sympathy or, at the very least, agreement on this very human comment? No. I got this:

What do you need more money for, you only have a cat?”

I then had to listen to a speech about the cost of diapers and prams and that kids grow out of their clothes in no time. But all the while he was griping, he having leapt upon the opportunity to pull the kid-owning magic by trumping a complaint and then switching the focal point to his horrific life, I was imagining my evening, which would only involve a television show and a cat.

That’s right, I have a cat. People throw it at me as though I am some lower species. But I am a proud cat guy. And despite the rumors, we’re just good friends. My cat is my favorite person in the world, but, like almost all other cats, she’s a total dick. Well maybe not a dick, but somewhere in there beats the heart of a sociopath. At no time is this more apparent than when I’m trying to enjoy my last five minutes in bed sleeping or when I’m writing.

It’s no secret that cats have been ruining the last five minutes sleep for the last 250,000 years. Some poor Homo erectus surely got wrenched from his sleep when a couple of Sabertoothed tigers broke into his cave and started pushing his spears and flints off of his shelf.

But my cat never has more interest in me than when I sit at my desk and start writing. She has figured out just the best way to ninja jump herself up there and then saunters around between me and the keyboard. Tossing her onto the ground is an option, but past experience suggests that she thinks this is a game and one that does not end. Ever.

I have trained myself to write around her. I stick out one thigh and she sits on it as though it were her throne. This way I can type away for a little while, but the slightest twitch sets her on the move again and that means a wander around the desktop in search of the best way to get on my nerves. She rubs her face on the computer and we play a few rounds of the game how close to your face can I get my asshole, a competition that has no winners. She will put to use her built-in annoyer called “the tail.” Her adeptness and control over the appendage is extraordinary. The animal will lie next to me on the couch the exact distance so that her tail can lightly whip my nose. Her ability to irritate me while writing is remarkable.

This used to send me into fits of stratospheric rage. But I’ve grown, so that I now only grumble and let out a “oh for God’s sake!” once in a while. She chirps and runs off. I suppose I am starting to mature, so were I the kind of person who was considering owning a child one day, I would consider this training for the days when my child would poop on me or date someone I didn’t approve of, like a republican or a Florida football enthusiast. But alas, it is not. I have come to the conclusion that a cat is as high as I am going on the living-being ownership scale, with a possible future attempt at a dog, or a fish. In any event, if I lose my temper with my cat, I buy her some treats and all is forgiven, or not so much forgiven as bitterly harbored in her cortex until she can exact bloody revenge. If I lost my temper with a child, I’d have to harbor bitter feelings of being the bad guy in a therapy session. And I’m not willing to do that.

Anyway, if you can learn to write with a cat, you can do anything. Except complain about it on Facebook, because sure enough someone there will say “oh yeah, try owning a child, buddy!” So I’m sort of hamstrung, because kids are the worst.

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