Herding Cats or Corralling the Uncontainable
Is there a tiger in that boat? Try herding that one.
I’ve been a cat-wrangler for most of my life. Driving the herds from upstairs to downstairs, inside to outside, and then outside to back in again.
My “herds” over the years have been pretty small, but it’s a hard, thankless life because there are things that cats will do and things that they won’t. The only trick to herding cats is to make them think that it’s their idea where you want them to go, and they will beat you there.
Cats like food and fun, a cozy warm nest to snuggle into, and someone to occasionally pester. If they can’t find another cat or even the poor dog to harass, then you become their prime target.
You don’t really train a cat—it’s more like they train you to do what they want done—when they want it done. One thing that cats have trained me to do is either buy expensive food or cook food from scratch for them because if I don’t, they make me regret it in ways too graphic to explain further.
If you do have cats, you likely understand. If you don’t have cats, consider yourself lucky in one sense yet deprived in another—deprived of sharing your home with an extremely interesting species that is completely self-absorbed and considers you as a lesser being to them. What’s that saying? “Dogs have masters, but cats have staff.” Totally true. I know my place.
Cats grace you with their presence. They allow you to share the sofa with them but it comes at a cost: hair all over your shirt and pants or a tail in your face while you’re trying to watch something of interest on the TV.
You never need an alarm clock with a cat around. Breakfast is their favorite meal and they like it best around 3am. No arguments to the contrary will suffice.
The other interesting thing about cats is their amazing ability to read energy. If they encounter a captive audience (a house guest) who is either allergic to cats or simply wants no part of them, THAT is the person voted most likely to be the cat’s focal point of the night. Never fails. They love the ones who hate them but are too polite to make a big scene over it—pester-heaven for them.
Now, if someone who is of questionable character enters the home, the cat will also make you well aware of its distrust for that person by taking a wide path around them, doing “scowly-face” and flipping their tail side to side in disapproval. They do not suffer fools or psychos as the bad vibes emitted by the person gives them away.
I like dogs also, but cats are a whole other ballgame. You know where you stand with a dog—there’s never a doubt. But with a cat, you’re always watching where you step, …sometimes literally.