Negotiating with Terrorists…

… of the cat variety.
(Written some years ago.)
puma2The attack started at 7:15 this morning. The cries started out as short bursts and increasingly became moanful and pitiful. I hadn’t gotten to sleep until 12:30, my husband not until 2:00, but the mitigating factor was that we have a guest in the house, my sister-in-law, from Ireland.

We have a policy not to give in to these terrorist tactics — she has a full bowl of dry food sitting out for whenever she gets hungry. We freshen that food and her water every day. Today it was not acceptable. Nothing but wet food (ie: attention) would do.

She cried. We layed in bed trying to ignore her. (l learned in my master’s program that the most effective way to extinguish negative behavior is to ignore it. But this is no ordinary feline.) She moaned. I closed my eyes. She caterwauled. I put my pillow over my head. She pulled out the big guns.

Jumping up onto the bed, she sat next to my head and put her paw on my lips. I pet her. I cuddled her. I made her purr. This was my first mistake. Negotiations had taken place. She jumped down and began to cry again. Surely my houseguest must be awake by now. My husband certainly was.

“Just ignore her,” he said. “Well,” I said, “On one hand, maybe she’s hungry. On the other hand, she has dry food. On the third hand, maybe she just wants attention. On the forth hand, I’m giving her that every time she comes up on the bed…” “I think you have your answer then,” my husband replied. “I do?” I said. “What’s that?” “Just ignore her.” I sighed.

The pitiful moans continued. She jumped up, she jumped down. She went into the kitchen and cried more. I went out and mixed up her dry food. She would have none of it. I got back into bed. My husband looked up, bleary-eyed, and shook his head. “Well, what am I suppose to do?” I whined. He closed his eyes.

I quieted her down for a while, when she came up again, by lightly tugging at her collar while simultaneously petting her. She wanted to get down and cry, but the struggle wasn’t fierce. I cuddled her. She got up and began crying again. “Should I just go give her her wet food?” I asked. “Whatever.”

“Ok, Puma. There’s your food.” I got back into bed. DH looked at me, shook his head and said, “You know, she’s only going to take hostages tomorrow.” “Whatever,” I said. We closed our eyes and tried to go back to sleep.

Tick, tick, tick. “Meeeeeeoooooowwwwwwww.” “Oh, my God. You’ve got to be kidding!” There Puma sat, in the doorway, giving me a look that shot arrows. DH said, “It’s because you haven’t been around since my sister came.” “That’s got to be it,” I said. “Nothing is satisfying her but my complete and undivided attention.”

We layed there. She layed there …. staring….. glaring….. Tick, tick, tick…… “Wanna get up?” He said. “I guess.”

So SIL is still asleep. DH and I are finished reading the paper, Puma has a full belly and is sitting on my lap. She’s being as quiet as a mouse. I’m certain that more hostages will be taken tomorrow. Really….negotiating with terrorists is not a smart thing to do.

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