I am allergic, so I keep my distance when possible. This distance has allowed me to observe cats and their owners with eyes perhaps different from yours.
- The Dog Deal: The humans feed the dog, and the dog provides protection and companionship. If the dog should bite or attack unprovoked, the humans may choose to re-negotiate this deal.
- The Fish Deal: The humans feed the fish and provide clean water, and the fish swim gently, creating a calming effect and please just don't die.
- The Bird Deal: The humans feed the bird, and the bird provides beauty and song (unless the humans are trying to watch TV, then the bird had better shut the hell up right now I'm serious I can't take it please please please shut that bird up I thought covering it with a blanket would work but it doesn't why won't it shut up?).
From my research over the years I have discovered that The Cat Deal is similar to any other Animal Deal, but it has a very interesting clause.
When a human invites a cat into their home, the conversation goes something like this:
"Hi cat. Welcome to our home.
We (the owners) will provide you with shelter and food. In return, you (the cat) provide companionship. You can provide this companionship in any way you see fit.
Come crawl into my lap as I watch TV. Snuggle at bedtime. Play with toys in a cute manner. Destroy my new shower curtain. Lay on my neck at 3am so I can't breathe. Scream at me when I try to pet you.
I just need you to do one thing for me:
Poop in this box.
That's all I really need you to do. Attack my friends when they visit. Climb up and knock valuables off the shelves. Eat my houseplants. But please, just poop in this box.
I really cannot stress enough how important this is. I will clean it up as often as I can for you, but the box is the place to poop.
Chew on my jewelry. Knock food out of my toddler's hand. Pull down my Christmas tree. By the end of the week, that box had better be filled with poop. Please.
Use my couch as your scratching post. Refuse to eat the food I provide. Just understand that if you don't poop in this box, the entire deal is off.
And of course, the cat agrees, because cats are not stupid.
They ultimately know that if they decide to poop anywhere they want in your house, that's fine too.