Sometimes I think my cat is living in captivity.
This is Rodger. She is my cat. I struggle to say that because I don’t really think of her as mine. I’m not sure I ever will. Rodg came to me in July of this year after a sad little stint at a Feline Group Home. Just kidding. Her mom went tree planting, and sent her and her sister Remi to stay with a mutual friend who has several other cats. Remi fit right in and made friends. Rodger did not. Rodger hates other cats and as such was an outsider in this house. One of the other cats, the alpha and first on the scene, didn’t take well to being disliked and often beat up on Rodger. When she came to me, she had a fresh wound on her little nose. It was just the saddest. Rodger isolated herself, hiding most of the day, eating and drinking very little, and waiting for humans to come home so she would feel safe. After a while, it became clear she needed to leave this environment. I had recently moved to a building that allowed cats, so I took her in.
Rodger is very particular. She loves attention, but hates to be held. She likes to be pet, but in very particular ways that change every day, and seemingly every hour. If one should pet her in the wrong way, they will become subject to her outrageous jaw strength; i.e. she will bite you. She doesn’t need to know you before she will claim your lap. She has a very small range of preferred frequencies and She loves when people come to visit us and – in her own little way – makes everyone feel the most welcome.
My apartment is pretty small, and while it’s not too small for the two of us, I get to leave it. But sometimes when we’re at home and Rodg scratches at the door to go on her daily hallway romp, I feel like she’s living in captivity. This leads me to question the entire nature of pet ownership and whether it’s cruel. Then I think about dogs on chains in sad front yards that I’ve in the movies and how much they’d prefer not to have that tether. Then I think about animal sanctuaries and the ones that promise ‘sanctuary’ but don’t provide it. And then Rodger busts in from the hall having been startled by nothing, and I remember, she is a domesticated house cat. With no survival skills, very few instincts, and a nervous system that is shot to hell.
All that I’ve provided, is exactly what she needs. Her extraordinary entitlement proves that.