Jason is currently working on an M.A. and finding new ways to annoy cats.
How to Annoy Your Cat
Let's face it: That cute, furry, and cuddly beast known as the domestic house cat can be a domestic pain in the arse. If you "own" one, you know exactly what I mean. They don't come when called, they stand on your head at 6:00 in the morning mewling to be fed, and they are constantly trying to escape the confines of your home, despite the ridiculously lavish lifestyle they enjoy.
Cats follow the beat of a different drummer. In cats, you won't find the unswerving obedience so prevalent in the canine. With dogs, you can change behavior with a simple system of discipline and reward, but with cats, you'll have to be much more creative.
If you catch your cat on the dinner table, squirting it with water will merely ensure a sneakier approach to their malfeasance in the future, and if you reward them with a treat for good conduct, they will simply be twice as annoying the next time you open whatever cupboard the treat is stored in.
How to Exact Your Revenge
So what is a human to do, faced by such an indomitable adversary, one that feigns complete apathy in the face of your sheer annoyance? It's simple: Fight fire with fire. Adopt the maturity level of a five-year-old and heap infantile levels of obnoxious behavior on your cat.
It's quite simple, really: for all of its elegant, graceful, and cool posturing, the DHC (domestic house cat) is actually quite fragile in regards to tolerating anything it does not like. While the long-term benefits of annoying your kitty are negligible, they are guaranteed to either a) inspire the DHC to ignore you for the next twenty minutes, b) be really nice (a strange response to being annoyed, but it happens), or c) make you feel good about finally leveling the playing field, no longer being bound by silly concepts such as maturity and human dignity.
There are numerous, almost limitless ways to bother a house cat, and it's up to you to find those particular things that really grate your own furball. But extensive research has shown the five listed here to be extremely effective in getting under a cat's skin. Feel free to experiment with variations so as to optimize the levels of aggravation you can achieve for your little pal, and most importantly, have fun. If you think for an instant that that little bologna loaf isn't loving every minute of attacking your big toe while you sleep, think again.
How to Mess With Your Cat: 5 Clever Strategies
- Forced Affection
- Extreme Disappointment
- Refused Victory
- Sudden Movement
- Complete Humiliation
1. Forced Affection
It is a bizarre aspect of their countenance. No matter how much a cat may like affection, they are absolutely repulsed by it when it's not on their terms. Whiskers may be asking to be petted all day long, but as soon as you force any sort of concern for his happiness upon him, Whiskers will immediately lose all interest.
This funny quirk can be used greatly to your advantage. The primary subject of my annoyance studies, Vesuvius, has displayed high levels of aggravation during forced affection tests, and it is my belief that this is one of your greatest weapons in the war of bothering each other. Simply pick up your cat, lie down on your couch or bed, and completely envelop her in your arms, essentially smothering her in affection.
To really enhance the obnoxiousness of this, maybe sing an extremely stupid song, replacing the majority of words with your cat's name, or repeat a completely ridiculous sentence in a whiny, high-pitched voice that sounds like the guy on that beer commercial: "Who's got a furry little mustache?"
Your cat will hate you for at least ten minutes until he forgets. He will then resume all annoying activities like missing the litter box or lying down directly on top of whatever you happen to be reading.
2. Extreme Disappointment
While my little Vesuvius has a gigantic heart, she also has a stomach that's even bigger. Sadly, she has been on a diet for the majority of her life, but the poor little critter's metabolism just can't burn away the chubbiness. Needless to say, the prime point of annoyance for the munchkin involves her desire for food. Her perpetual state of hunger, coupled with her insatiable desire to vocalize every trivial desire, is a recipe for my insanity.
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Fortunately, I've found a way to counter the effects of madness by employing concept number two: Extreme Disappointment.
Simply wait for the victim's mealtime, preferably when she is indicating a desire for food. Take out the source of sustenance (whether it be a bag, pouch, or Tupperware container), open it, feign excitement so as to increase the animal's own zeal, and then give her one piece of food.
When I employ this tactic, the expression on Vesuvius's face is priceless: disbelief, desperation, and utter contempt all mixed into one. Of course, I only let this go on for about a minute, but that's all that is necessary. This gives her this message: I'm the food master, and if you don't like it, go eat a rodent. (If only she cared...sigh.)
3. Refused Victory
This one is simple, really. If your cat likes to play (mine rarely shows interest), simply refuse to let them win. Laser pointers are perfect in this regard since from the outset, victory is impossible; the cat cannot get the red dot. But other, more traditional toys are applicable as well, especially when attached to a string. For as long as the cat will allow, just keep the toy well out of reach.
A cat will generally only fight for so long when there is no obvious reward or attainment of the target. And then, hopefully, they will ignore you for ten minutes until they forget about the whole painful affair and go do something obnoxious like barfing on the carpet or peeing on your $800 Turkish rug (true story; it's a wonder she's still alive).
Kittens are an exception to this rule, but I guess none of these rules apply to kittens, as they really can't grasp the subtle nuances of the power struggle between man and feline. Besides, who would want to annoy a kitten?
What are you, psycho?
4. Sudden Movement
I know, this is extremely bratty and adolescent, but I can't help it. When Vesuvius unsuspectingly strolls by, minding her own business and probably wrapped up in some daydream involving fresh fish and sparkly toys, I can't help but be amused by the two-foot vertical launch produced by my moving my foot a mere three inches.
I refuse to grow up.
5. Complete Humiliation
At the risk of appearing insane, I unveil the fifth and most powerful tool in the arsenal of annoyance: Dressing your cat up in costumes!
Don't get me wrong. It's not like I sew miniature dresses and sun hats and make her sit through tea parties with a host of stuffed animals (and if that sounds appealing to you, by all means, seek professional help). No, my invention of this particular tactic was inspired by a book. Basically, the book is a kung fu epic set in feudal Japan, a storyline augmented by photos of the characters in totally awesome kung fu costumes. My parents, who have four cats, were gracious enough to allow complete exploitation of kitty dignity while I visited last summer.
It's not surprising a cat hates—nay, loathes—being dressed up like a ninja and forced to hold miniature nunchucks. In fact, the whole endeavor proved to be so difficult I had to give up—damn prima donnas.
Regardless, the photoshoot wasn't a complete waste of time. I got some hilarious shots and found that for bugging your cat, nothing compares to Complete Humiliation.