If you’ve ever petted a cat and been rewarded with loud purrs and sleepy eyes, you’d naturally deduce he’d gone to feline heaven. Scratch that. According to a recent article in Vox, your cat would prefer you keep your clammy paws to yourself. In fact, not only does he not like being manhandled, he may not even like you; he may even — dun, dun, dun! — be killing you. Research cited in the piece states that cats “…are selfish, unfeeling, environmentally devastating creatures.” Huh.
Apparently, Fluffy doesn’t have the same emotional attachment to you that Fido does. Worse, she’s a cold-blooded killing machine, murdering billions of birds, many endangered species, every year. Worse still, a parasite in kitty feces can literally drive you mad, to the point of suicide. How rewarding does that purr sound now?
Having pet-sat many a cat, we can, unfortunately, attest to all of the above. Head and chin scratches do get you purrs, leg rubs and cuddles (even drool). But more often than not, as darkness descends, these sweet-faced sadists have no compunction about leaping off your lap with nary a backward glance as they head out into the killing fields. The “gifts” they’ve given us over the years include mice, bats, snakes, frogs, possums, grubs, lizards (often headless and limbless) and, yes, birds. Cold-blooded, sure, but what are you gonna do? Short of outfitting them with a stylish jingle bell (which doesn’t stop V.) or keeping them in lockdown (and some cats we’ve sat have no outdoor privileges), it’s what they do. They’re finicky about their food but not about their prey. If it moves it grooves. Fortunately, we haven’t been affected by their feces. We’ve scooped many a poop without going ga-ga (although we’ll concede that’s debatable).
Despite their murderous nature, we’ve loved every cat we’ve sat. This summer in San Pancho, however, Pico and Valentino were pushed to the periphery a bit. Most of our attention was devoted to nursing Rufus and unexpected foster dog Mocho. But when we did offer ourselves up as entertainment for them, we found Valentino to be still kind of a whiny baby, and still very cute. We were thankful he didn’t bring us as many gifts as in the past, mostly just the occasional half-eaten lizard. He does like to share.
Pico is still running scared from Rufus, who for some strange reason has it out for him. But he did slink in with the setting sun most nights, when the dogs were out of sight, and rub against our legs, preferring a head scratch to a treat. Starved for affection, he’d purr and drool and gaze lovingly at us with those sleepy eyes. Seems one semi-wild feline proved all those studies wrong. Not that he’d stoop to admit it. Cats is cats, after all.