Since 2007, I’ve become mother to seven rescue cats. I love them to bits, but sometimes they drive me mad, especially when I am trying to write.
Writers and cats go together like salt and caramel. Sometimes I think it is because cats are ready-made procrastination devices, or provide comfort when everything is going wrong. Other times they provide inspiration, but they can also hinder.
Here are the top 5 things my cats do to stop me writing.
I’m on a roll, the words are flowing, and then:
1. Instant Keyboard Cat
There are paws on my keyboard instead of fingers, and a paragraph has disappeared, three browser windows opened, YouTube is replaying a video I watched last night, and for some reason everything is magnified at 125% and on landscape rather than portrait.
I have fallen prey to Instant Keyboard Cat. The only thing I can do is suffer through it or IKC will reappear within three seconds of being removed.
2. Noises in the Kitchen
I hear a scratching, perhaps a rustling. I try to ignore it hoping it will stop. It doesn’t, it becomes more insistent and is accompanied by a growl or a trill.
The trill signals trouble. I try shouting, “Whatever you’re doing, stop it, now! ”
It doesn’t work. More rustling and trills. I run through what it could be in my head. Did I leave a bag on the counter? No. A packet of food? No. Have they got into where I keep the cat pouches? No – I didn’t hear the cupboard doors knocking.
I give three sharp whistles, the usual signal for ‘come here’. Nothing happens. I have to go in there and assess the damage. I find my naughty torty, Lucy, has pulled all the paper towel off the roll and made herself a nest on the floor.
3. Bodily Fluids and Other Excreta
Fur Balls – You know they are coming by the sound of a train wreck hacking forth from your cat’s throat. They don’t smell, sometimes they are not even that sloppy.
I’m writing. I don’t want to stop. But I can’t leave it to just lie on the windowsill where someone could see it through the window; or on the floor where I might forget about it and step on it. I convince myself I need a break anyway.
Poop – Some of my cats like to use the garden. Some prefer the three giant litter trays provided for their comfort. When I say giant I mean it. These things are 57 cm x 43 cm, and did I mention there are three of them? Still they manage to miss, or not quite make it, leaving a drizzle of poop down the corridor leading to the trays.
I can’t be angry at an upset stomach from eating who knows what outside. This is why I have laminate floors.
Puke – See above under fur balls, except it smells and is more likely to be in an inappropriate place, like under my desk or on my bed.
4. Gifts – Both Alive and Dead
It is usually the growling that gives it away. One of my critters has brought me a present. It’s most likely Trip. He is the resident mouser. I would like to stress they are not my mice, they are next door’s mice. I have a large retaining wall at the rear of my house and behind that lies the neighbour’s very large garden. Some of it is overgrown and the perfect breeding ground for field mice. There are several colonies over there. Trip, among other cats in the neighbourhood helps keep the population down so they don’t spread into the houses. I would also like to stress Trip does eat the mice, he doesn’t just kill them and run off, they are food. He won’t eat rats though. Probably a wise move.
Joxer, Trip’s shadow, likes to think he is as skilled at mousing as Trip. He isn’t. He does get equally excited about feathers and drags them in as if he has caught something worthwhile, complete with growling and hissing when I (or the other cats), try to take it from him.
5. Knocking things over
Lucy, my naughty torty is adept at this, particularly when I am deep into a scene. She’ll pull books off the bookshelf, push over my drink (hence the coffee in the covered bottle in the photo), knock my pen holder and scatter the contents on desk and floor. Let’s not forget the bin, she loves to pull the bin beside my desk over and rummage through the contents.
Lucy knows exactly what she is doing because she will stop just before the thing topples over, look at me to make sure I am paying attention (note the sly side-eye in the photo), and then complete the move with a final swipe.
So there you have it, the five things my cats do to stop me writing. What do yours do? Let us know in the comments below. I must say mine have been rather quiet while I’ve been writing this…they are probably conspiring on a larger project, but it’s worth it.
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