I've had cats in my life since I was a kid. Cats of wildly different personalities and temperaments, outdoor cats and indoor cats, short-haired and long-haired. They've all had one thing in common: no matter how different they might have been in other aspects, they were all archetypal cats. Independent, tough, manipulative and adorable all at the same time.
Until Sote entered my life. Never has a cat meant more work, demanded more attention or given more love. He's the master of contrasts, making me despair one moment only to come and purr in my ear and knead my thigh with his huge paws the next.
The instances when he drives me crazy usually have to do with his toilet habits (I will spare you the unsavoury details) or his clumsiness (I guess the toilet habits issue is partly due to his clumsiness). Last night neither J or I got much sleep, partly because our upstairs neighbours had a shouting match at 3 in the morning and partly because Sote discovered a new toy: a cardboard box with a bit of tape still stuck on it. You can probably imagine the kind of noise he makes when he drags his claws on the cardboard box at 4am.
If you think that cats are innocent little creatures without the ability to forge evil plans to drive their human slaves completely insane, think again. I am usually the first one to wake up in the morning, and, when I get up, I throw the cats out of the bedroom and close the door behind me so I won't wake J up while I'm making coffee. Somehow, Sote can sense that I am awake before I know it (the sound my eyelids make when they open? A subtle change in my breathing pattern?) and before I have even decided if I'm going to get up or go back to sleep, he runs and crawls under the bed, where he knows I can't reach him. He knows that I can't throw him out of the bedroom then.
Once he's fed up with hiding under the bed, he comes forward and I close the door. Now the next part of our weekend morning ritual is that I'll make some breakfast and try to eat it while Sote holds a vigil outside the bedroom door and whines. NON STOP. This morning, he whined for an hour despite my efforts to keep him quiet, until J finally woke up. My theory is that he thinks we are sheep, and that he is a dog. He needs to keep an eye on both of us at all times. This personality disorder becomes apparent when we make a ball out of a piece of paper and throw it. He runs, picks up the paper ball and brings it to us. People, he fetches.
Luckily for him, and his continued well-being, our exasperation rarely lasts more than a few minutes. Sure, sometimes I fantasize about getting J and myself a hotel room just so that we can get some sleep without worrying about him hogging the bed or pooping on the bathroom floor. Sure, I may have tried to bribe people to ”borrow” our cats for the weekend. And yeah, smoke might have been coming out of my ears when he peed on our sofa for the umpteenth time. But he is the world's cuddliest cat and his purr is so loud it would cause avalanches if we were living anywhere near a mountain. I try to remember those things when I'm feeling felinicidal.