How to Argue with a Cat: Pen Pal Letter #2

losing arguments

To Whom It May Concern:

I keep losing arguments with one of the cats.

We have a fundamental disagreement about where she should be allowed to go. I believe that the presence of 4 separate cat trees in the apartment (mind you, only 2 cats live here) should more than make up for the fact that she is not allowed to go certain places where she could be destructive or get hurt. She believes that she should be allowed to go everywhere. She’s very persuasive, but don’t you dare take her side.

She does like to give herself away. For example, she likes to jump on top of the counters (where she is not allowed to go) to yell at me in protest of not being allowed to go on top of the fridge (where she is doubly not allowed to go). “Baby girl,” I’ll reply, “there is absolutely no way that I am going to move stuff off the top of the fridge to give you a space to jump up there, considering that we don’t want you up there whatsoever. Because to get to the fridge, you have to jump on the counter and we don’t want your paws going where we have to do food prep. So get down now.”

She screams again, talking back. I spray her with some water, and she jumps down and runs away.

I don’t like spraying the water at the cats, but I’m 80% sure she understands what I just said to her and she is just being unreasonable and defiant. I’m also 80% sure that her brother does not understand any English beyond one of his nicknames, and I don’t think that should even really count because he doesn’t know his actual name. We’ve stopped using his actual name, in fact, because he has never responded to it. Not once. But he occasionally responds to the nickname. I’m getting distracted. What I meant is that he doesn’t understand any other method of communication than the spray bottle for bad behavior and pets for good behavior.

I’ve taken to making a batch of cold brew about once a week. I keep the coffee canister up on the fridge, since it’s the only thing that can block the space where the cabinets overhang the shelf, and the cats will notice the space and jump onto the counters to get to it if it is not blocked. I must have pushed the canister too far back this time when I put it away, because that argumentative cat did in fact jump up into that space. She screamed in victory, giving herself away. Then she screamed more because she wanted access to the top of the cabinets (where she is triply not allowed to go).

She got sprayed in response and the contents on the fridge got readjusted.

Maybe I ultimately won, but resorting to violence (at least that’s what she feels I did) shouldn’t really count as winning. So I’ll take the defeat. That one was a cat victory, one of many. And now I have to clean the counters.

Wishing you all the best.

Sincerely,

Joy


Photo by Charlotte May from Pexels

The Screen

That evening, I press my fingertips
to the screen in front of me

With his focus on a robin
in the bushes
just outside our open window,
my roommate’s cat presses his weight
into the screen.
It pops out of its frame
in the blink of an eye,
sending the cat tumbling onto the mulch
just a foot below.
He is now closer to the bird
he was intently watching
than he ever imagined
he could be.
The robin, surprised by the cat’s presence,
immediately flits away.
The cat does not give chase.
Instead, he sits, stunned,
amazed to be face-to-face
with the nature
he so admires,
until I race outside
to retrieve him.

That evening, I press my fingertips
to the screen in front of me,
the one I am are using
to videochat with you.
I wish that I could fall through it
just like the cat did,
but I can’t.
So texts and phone calls and FaceTime
will have to do
until I can be next to you
again.


Photo by Mugurel Photo from Pexels

This poem was inspired by this week’s Penable Thursday Poetry Competition with the theme of friendship. (It was also inspired by a recent true, momentarily frightening story.) If you would like to enter the contest (and I highly suggest you do), you can find out more here.