Friday, November 7, 2014

Love Hurts (or What the Cat Did)

I know he looks all calm and peaceful in that above picture, but the cat and I have a rather contentious relationship. It's not that we don't like each other, either. In fact, the cat likes me rather more than I'm comfortable with. That doesn't stop him from threatening me with laser eyes!
No, just kidding. He never threatens. It's just a "do or do not" thing. Okay, fine! I'm kidding!

I think...

I mean, he's never shot lasers at me, but that doesn't mean I don't think he could if he wanted to.

Actually, the problem really is that the cat has a great amount of affection for me. So much so that during the middle of the night, as I've spoken about before, he will decide he needs me to come and just sit with him. He wants to hang out in the living room and stare out the window, but... it's like he's scared to be alone in the dark and needs me on the couch. Sometimes he comes and sleeps on my lap. Fortunately, now that it's colder, he's been pretty content to sleep at the foot of the bed and not worry about the window and what might be out in the dark.

But that's not what I want to talk about...

The actual problem is that one of the things cats do to "loved ones" is groom them. Have you ever been groomed by a cat? Let me just say: it's not a comfortable experience. If you want to know what it's like, go buy some sandpaper. Of course, I'm assuming you don't just have some around. When I was a kid, we always hand sandpaper on hand but, then, my dad had a tool closet full of all kinds of stuff that he never used. Including sandpaper. Because, if anything needed to be sanded, that was my job. Anyway... Go get some sandpaper and tear off a piece about the size of the end of your pinky finger. Now, take that paper, find a place on your forearm, and stroke that piece of paper in the same spot on your arm for, say, five minutes. Can you do it? No? Hurts, doesn't it? Imagine that going on for half an hour.

It leaves abrasions on the skin just like the kind you'd get when you were a kid and fell down on the concrete. The next day there will be little scabs all over in the patch of skin that he groomed, and it hurts for a couple of days. One time, he did it to my collar bone, which didn't hurt while he was doing it, but it left a mark that looked like a hickey. heh My wife wasn't amused.

Speaking of my wife, she always asks me why I let him do that to me. Her position is that I ought to just throw him off of me when he starts the grooming behavior. And, well, maybe I should, but I look at it like this:
When a baby grabs your beard... Oh, you don't have a beard. Okay, ladies, when a baby gets a fistful of your hair in its little baby hand and starts flailing its little arms around, do you throw the baby on the floor? Only if you want to be charged with child abuse, right? Yeah, yeah, but it's a cat; it's different. The cat will land on his feet.

But it's not really different. The cat doesn't know what he's doing. I mean, the cat doesn't know he's causing me pain. It's like if your kids make you breakfast in bed for your birthday and, then, sit there and stare at you so they can watch you eat it... and it's the most terrible sawdust you've ever put in your mouth. But you eat it anyway. For love. Well, so as not to hurt someone trying to show you love, because I am not saying I love the cat. [Trust me; if I had to pick between the cat and the dog,
I'd dropkick the cat out the door before you could count to three (don't tell the cat (though I suspect he already knows)). But that's beside the point.]

Which brings me to the point:
Sometimes, we do painful things for love, our own or someone else's. Even though we know whatever it is will be painful, we do it anyway. And we should. Intent means a lot. Basically, I don't want to punish the cat for something he's doing for the right reasons, even if it does hurt, and that's how we should be with people.

Oh, and by the way, I tried to take some pictures of the wound on my arm after the last time the cat did that to me, but my camera got confused by all the hair and couldn't figure our what to focus on. Maybe next time.


  1. Cat hickies. That is the oddest thing I've ever heard. Well, not the oddest, but growing up, our cats never did that.

  2. Have to side with Alex. I would gently put the cat aside, kicking/punishing my not yet existent pet (but it will be so one day, and yes I want a cat) wouldn't be something I would want to do either.

  3. Yeah, I do plenty that I'm not excited about doing. Marriage is often doses of give and take and dealing with those properly makes the marriage last. Friendship and parenthood is certainly like that too. So's work in many cases. Wow, life is full of stuff that I do that I'd prefer to replace with other activities, but so it goes.

    Fortunately my wife doesn't like cats so we don't have any. I say fortunately because cats kind of freak me out, something I got from my mother--she hates cats. I guess I won't have that give and take with a cat, unless things change in some way.

    I linked to your zombie post in the post linked below.

    Tossing It Out

  4. Alex: Well, I'm pretty much always good for the "odd." And that's not the oddest thing I have, either.

    Sheena: Gently putting him aside does NOT work. Sometimes, flinging him across the room does not work. Seriously. He just come back when you're gentle. When I'm working, I have to throw him off of my lap at least half a dozen times before he quits jumping on me, and, usually, that only means he's going to come back repeat the process in 20 minutes.

    Lee: Well, having a cat was never in my plan. Actually, -not- ever having a cat was in my plan, but it wasn't in my daughter's plan, and her plan won. So it goes.

    I saw the post! And gave one of my wordy comments.

  5. Have I been cat groomed? I laugh at your pitiful experience. My cat Veronica will spend twenty minutes licking my arms or my hands (or my face!) if I don't stop her. And when I do stop her, she comes back for more.

  6. Jeanne: I didn't say that was my only experience. That's just the example of my experience. How many wounds have you received?

  7. My cat not only licks us when she's grooming us, but she kneads her claws into us, too, so we're being simultaneously stabbed and sandpapered. But she purrs while she's doing it, and she's so darned happy, so we basically squirm and whisper obscenities, but let her do it. I had a cat who had the roughest tongue ever, and he liked grooming people, too. I've only had three that were that into it, luckily, and never all at the same time. My husband has way less patience for it than I do, but I'll shift her if she's in a really hurtful place and she'll just keep going. Weirdos.

  8. Shannon: Oh, he does the kneading thing, too, but that's a separate activity and one that happens way more frequently. He'll do that over and over again for, well, hours. Knead for 20 minutes, lie down for 5, up to knead again for 20, lie down for 5. It never stops.

    Cats are weirdos.

  9. Wow. I'm not half as nice as you are-- that's the only conclusion I came to.

    I don't care who is showing me love, but if it hurts while they do it, I send their butt out the door before your can say Jack Robinson. :)

  10. D: Well, there's something to be said for that approach, too.

  11. I don't have a cat. Your tale here is probably one reason I don't. Cats to me aren't real sociable creatures. They only want to be around you when it's good for them. If they don't want you to touch them they'll lash out with a claw or bite. I'm a dog person. Specifically the Chihuahua. I've had some real yap yap Chihuahua's in the past. We think our girl Elizabeth hasn't figured out she's a Chihuahua yet.

  12. G_G: I'm not really a cat person, either. And my dog is part Chihuahua, although I'm not really a Chihuahua person.

  13. I can usually handle cat kisses... the part I can't handle is, if I was asleep, my cat would come up to me and lick my eyelids. Now THAT hurt!

  14. Alex H: Mine sometimes wants to smell my eyes, but he's never tried licking them. I might have to draw the line there.