Having fallen in love with cats a few years ago, I would generally opine that one could never have a situation in which there is too much cat. The phrase does not, somehow, compute.
But recently, I’ve found myself admonishing the cat for being thus.
Too much cat.
I’ve had a strange few months, it’s true. I’ve woken up shouting many nights; my same pervasive, dreaming threat of danger feeling sadly real, present and frightening in the actual world too.
And so, I’ve padded downstairs to the kitchen a fair few times to make some tea and toast. To shake it off, to read, to even watch TV. To reclaim a patch of normal, in the middle of the night.
The cat finds this very strange. Although always out in the garden, she doesn’t stray far, I think, and so bolts in from the shed roof to say hi as soon as I light the kitchen lamp.
Hello, human. Let’s play!
A playful wide awake animal, highly alert and in full hunting mode, with an excellent set of claws and teeth, does not always combine successfully with an overtired human in thin pyjamas. Operating a toy mouse in this situation, on no sleep, is a risky strategy, involving the certain outcome of blood (human).
Too much cat, is my grumbling conclusion. Stop being so cat, cat! Or, the age old contradiction in terms, play nicely.
Cats do not always play nicely, in my experience. They play to hunt. They play to kill. Every kitten pounce or stalk is to satisfy that appetite, no? So it’s silly, and pointless, to expect the cat to be less cat, or to somehow tone it down.
The better thing to do would be to not invade the cat’s world – to leave her be and to her hunting alone. Appearing in the middle of the night when the cat is wired for action, not cuddles, is asking for it somewhat.
The even better thing to do, I always think, is to become more cat myself. Or more dog. Or more tiger, elephant, eagle, lion. More frog.
Because animals just are. They have no need of being anything other than what they were made to be, or of doing anything other than what they were made to do. They don’t worry or fret or fail to sleep or wake up, mind whirling. The human condition is, perhaps, uniquely exhausting.
Just being. That would be nice. Maybe there is no such thing as too much cat.
Just too much human.