Friday, March 29, 2013

Evil circus cat

I'm not sure I have devoted a lot of time on this blog to our cat, but as time has gone on she has become an increasingly central focus of our lives.  Mostly because she is evil.

Wait, what?  This little cutie-pie?  Margot Dorcas, the cat with the silly name from Saved by the BEll and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers?  Yes, that's right, evil. I've used many words for her, some of which are profane enough I will not say them here.  Less profane and more creative alternative include "A Lannister" (for the Game of Thrones crowd) and a popular teenage girl.  You know the type, the adorable girl who smiles at you when she wants something and then when you piss her off....BAM!  She undermines your every turn. My latest nickname for her is "kitbull" (you know, like a combination of cat plus pit bull).

That is the cat we ended up with.  I'm not sure she's always intentionally evil, as she runs to greet us at the door when we come home, and on occasion she rubs against one of our legs or tolerates being pet for two minutes, but most of the time she is a little spitfire of sass.

First of all, she's very bitey.  We think that the people who had her as a kitten probably played rough with her, and she learned fingers = chew toys.  I've tried just about everything I can think of to alter this behavior, and it hasn't really worked.  Despite my training in behaviorist principles, and using "clickers" to train her, I haven't been able to un-train the bad behavior, though I did teach her how to sit, come when she's called, and jump up for a treat. 

Some of this biting appears to be out of pure spite.  She really likes to attack Doug.  He'll be walking across the room, minding his own business, and she'll run over and scratch/bite him at the ankles. Without provocation.  And then if he yells at her, she attacks with greater verve.  She attacks me less often and less randomly, but it still happens on occasion (like this morning, in fact).  I think she just wants to play....but it could be because she enjoys causing harm to those around her.  Especially Doug.  Not a week goes by where he doesn't have a cat scratch somewhere on his arms or legs.

She means harm.  The only thing that kind of sort of works is when she attacks me and I start whining in a "oooooohhhhhhhhh, you hurrrrrrt me, and I want to crryyyyyyyyyy!" kind of tone.  I start sniffling and whining and she leaves me alone for awhile.  But she knows that she's in charge, and she can hurt us any time she wants.

She also gets into EVERYTHING.  She's very curious, which is sometimes adorable, but when she opens closet doors, every drawer in the bathroom, or the doors to our storage spaces in the middle of the night, it's really annoying.  Impressive, but annoying.  And she really isn't deterred by water, loud noises, or any kind of punisher that I've tried so far.  She really just wants attention.

I must admit, she has some good qualities.  She's insanely adorable.  Like really really cute.  She's also kind of a circus cat; she parkours off the walls and can stand with all four of her legs on a 3-inch scratching post.  She can scramble up her taller-than-Doug cat tree in a fraction of a second, and she's got a really weak, whiny little meow.  She also really really loves to munch box.  As in, we give her cardboard boxes (like from Amazon) and she slowly rips up the flaps.  It's really funny to watch her tearing into cardboard like it's a mouse attacking her turf.

But oh, the evil.  She's probably a step or two removed from feral catdom, and it's clear she is not stimulated enough.

So, we ponder our options.  Do we get another cat for her to play with?  Do we let her outside?  We don't want to get her de-clawed, as there don't appear to be good reasons to do that to cats anymore, and really she doesn't rip up our stuff (just the boxes).  We play with her, but it's never enough, and she doesn't respond well to discipline. 

For now we've resigned ourselves to owning an evil cat, and feel comfort knowing that she'd probably attack an intruder worse than she attacks us.

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