Cats are amazing little creatures. Underneath their soft and fuzzy exteriors lies a tremendous instinct to survive, despite the worst conditions.
When we found Nellie almost 3 years ago, she was severely malnourished and unusually small for her age. The poor little flea bag was crawling up my leg, starving for both food and attention. I was still getting over the loss of Cleo and unsure if we were going to keep her. So off to the vet she went.
Like the pit crew at the Indy 500, the veterinary team sprung into action. As I opened a can of food to distract her, a technician removed an engorged tick off her back, another tech applied flea medication, and another prepped for a blood draw. The veterinarian did her physical exam while Nellie had her face firmly planted in the soft, smelly food. God only knows when her last meal had been.
Despite all the special attention, toys, sleeping crate, food, and cat-friendly things about the house, Nellie doesn’t like me that much. Sad to say, but we don’t have the kind of connection that I had with Cleo or Smudge. But she loves Tom and I guess that’s ok.
Nellie also loves food: hard or soft, crunchy or chewy, she likes it all. She loves chicken and turkey and loses her mind over tuna or whitefish. Because she is so petite (just barely 6lb), I try to keep her on a meal schedule. Both she and her big brother Fox are chow hounds, so we don’t free feed. Excess weight is bad for any cat, particularly a small one.
But the cat wants what the cat wants. And when the cat wants food, she wants it now. If you ignore the tiny tigress’ hunger cries, she will raise all manner of hell to get your attention — jumping repeatedly in front of the television or computer or whatever you might be trying to concentrate on. She will knock remote controls or random things off book shelves or the desk. The worst is at night. Right around 2am, the clinking and clanging of dirty dishes and silverware begins. She once got a small Pyrex bowl out of the sink and onto the floor. And if I’ve done my due diligence and washed the dishes beforehand, she’ll find something else to terrorize: knick knacks, water bottles, flashlights, my cell phone. When she’s feeling particularly frisky, she’ll perch atop the dresser in the bedroom and smack the window blinds with her tiny paw. Repeatedly. Until I get up. Once I’m up and toss a few crunchies in her bowl, she’s good until morning. Usually. The 6lb terror has me trained pretty well.
I’m hoping Nellie will eventually outgrow this phase, because I’d really like to get an uninterrupted night’s sleep once in a while. It’s easy to think that I’ll ignore her nighttime rants. It’s much harder to actually ignore the continuous symphony of noise when you’re trying to get some shut-eye. But I can’t stay mad at her for too long. One look from those big green eyes and the anger and frustration melt away. Remembering how emaciated and desperate she was makes the terror tolerable. So even though she doesn’t like to be petted, brushed, picked up, or snuggled, at least I know she’ll pay attention to me when it’s dinnertime.