The List: 9 ways my cat throws a wrench in my day

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Meet Clementine, age 4. (photo by Lauren Barber)
  1. Rude awakenings
    Sometimes for want of love — but mostly for want of food — my domesticated tiger pulls at my hair, brushes her tail against my face or sits on my chest staring down at me, waiting for the slightest signal of my stirring. She does not understand seasonal shifts in sun and moon cycles, and probably wouldn’t care to learn.
  1. Licking food on my plate
    Unlike dogs, domesticated cats never lost their hunting instinct, only now they stalk fish tacos. Our fish tacos. And though her mouth is small, Clementine’s determination is mighty. Meals require constant vigilance.
  1. Failing to catch vermin
    When your cat can make away with an entire slice of pizza but not deal with a rodent a quarter the size, it may be time to talk about upping the little lion’s rent.
  1. Infesting my home with vermin
    Everyone knows fleas are a dreadful, but my love for Clem hadn’t been fully tested until these teeny-tiny terrorists invaded my living space. Though truly a bonding experience, the scorched-earth efforts exhausted us both.
  1. Drawing blood from guests
    Evidence shows that in four out of five instances, the visitor never learned to pet cats (or to take a hint from any mammal, for that matter). Yet, someone I care about is kind of bleeding and sneezing, and Clementine is less than pleased. Ugh.
  1. Destroying clothing
    There is nothing like a warm welcome from my furry companion, but I’ve learned to change out of my favorite tops before letting her lay on me. A nail catching a single thread can devolve into a fashion tragedy.
  1. Fixation with paper products
    Reading from my steno pad, a book or a fresh copy of Triad City Beat? My feline comrade is likely pawing at the pages or parking her fluffy self on top of the paper material. I suspect she was born on newspaper and finds paper products comforting — which is cute — but it’s annoying to repeatedly relocate Clementine’s stubborn derrière.
  1. Making road trips twice as difficult
    Does your cat cry the entirety of any road trip? Mine does until she falls asleep, but even when we let her out of her carrier, she starts up again upon awakening.
  1. Being too adorable to leave behind
    Despite these and other glaring flaws, cats are unequivocally fabulous creatures. Clem is worth slightly uneasy friends, crumpled book pages and hypervigilant mealtime practices. The greatest downside is that, inevitably, I must leave her side to participate in society. But… that nose. Those paws. How dare she be so flawless?