We’ve all been there. Going it alone on the year abroad: new country, new town, new language, new people and new flat which, much to your delight, harbours a cat. A cat that hates you. No? Just me then. If you’ve not yet experienced hatred in feline form, then you probably will at some point. And if you never do then please, for the love of God, tell me your secrets.
Or, if you too are in need of advice on how to win the affection of a feline foe then enjoy this simple guide, from someone who is unequivocally still hated by a cat.
Step 1 – Ignore it
If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then fonder shall the heart of this loveless creature grow. It must be said that this step requires both patience and stamina; cats are infamous for their cold shoulders and may even take joy from the silent treatment, so be prepared to meet your match.
Step 2 – Be the bigger person
Cats can be petty, so do not lower yourself to their level. As tempting as it is to hiss back at a seething cat, I can assure you that two hissing lunatics solves nothing and is grounds for sectioning.
Step 3 – Work out its mind games
It’s up to something and you know it. To truly win over the cat’s affection you first need to earn its respect, and respect does not come while it continues to humiliate you with calculated mind games on a daily basis. Understanding how it thinks will enable you to get one step ahead and start beating it at its own game.
Step 4 – Refer to it, as ‘it’
Don’t give it the time of day or any vague sense that it could be human – you’re not equals, no matter how much it tells you.
Step 5 – Google ‘is biting a love language?’
After all of this, what if you’ve just gotten off on the wrong foot? Maybe you were simply misunderstanding the cat’s love language, pointed as it is. Feeling peaceable, approach the cat in an attempt to make amends. Shortly afterwards, find yourself generously applying Sudocrem while googling ‘how many diseases can I catch from a cat bite’. Probably best to call it a day.
Step 6 – Overfeed it
There are two advantages to overfeeding your cat. The first is that food = joy, so by association you = food = joy. The second that the cat will be too chonky a boi to chase you and your ankles will henceforth go unscathed.
Step 7 – Attempt to assert dominance
Having forgotten the undesirable consequences of your previous Google search, innocently look up ‘how to dominate a cat’ and feel utterly horrified by the results. With your laptop now markedly sullied, decide that your issue is perhaps beyond the help of modern technology and instead resort to psychological warfare.
Step 8 – Accept defeat
You tried your best, but some relationships are simply unsalvageable. Just know that it isn’t your fault. Give into the cat’s demands and continue letting it control your life. It’s the cat’s flat now, so install a human-sized cat flap and dig out your thickest pair of winter socks in a last-ditch attempt to save your ankles. Good luck.
Featured image: ‘Fooling nobody’ by Anna Stringer.