“Why Does My Cat Lick My Eyebrow?”
Ruth J. Hartman
I’m guessing most people don’t carry on conversations with their cats. I’m not most people. I wanted to know more about Maxwell. I felt, as his owner, I deserved at least that. I clean his litter box every day, after all. So I requested a mock interview with him. He didn’t like it much, but he doesn’t possess opposable thumbs, and must rely on me to get his kitty treats out of the cabinet.
“Sure,” said Maxwell. “But keep it short. I’ve got to do my toes in twenty minutes.”
I assured him I had just a few pertinent questions in mind. “First of all, “what does that mean, ‘do my toes’?”
“If you have to ask, you haven’t been paying enough attention to me. But why am I not surprised?” Maxwell glared at me.
I stared back.
“Oh, all right,” he said. “It’s like this.”
He demonstrated by curling back his lips and gnawing the tangled fur between his toes until every hair was parallel to his claws.
I was fascinated. “Wow. Okay, next question. Why do you lick my eyebrow?”
“I’m marking you as belonging to me. You are my person. I own you.”
“I see,” I said. “But it tickles.”
“Not my problem.”
“Okay, then, moving on. Why does it seem like a good time to, um, lick your private parts in front of a room full of people?”
“Is this a problem for you? From my point of view, your people are invading my kitty space. I live here. They don’t. Case closed.”
“When you purr,” I said, “why do you sound like an outboard motor?”
I nodded. “Of course. Makes sense, I guess. Who doesn’t like ambience? And why does it seem as if you decide to jump on my lap at the exact moment I’m planning to get up?”
Maxwell stared at me. “Because you’re wearing a catnip sweater and I can’t get enough of you. I literally cannot pull myself away.”
“But I’m not wearing—”
“Oh, don’t be silly! I know you’re not actually covered in ‘nip’, but in my very fertile imagination. You’re reeking of it.”
“I had no idea.”
“Of course not. That’s the beauty of the way I stare at you. You’re never really sure what I’m thinking.”
I shivered. “But I’m always frightened.”
“As well you should be. Anything else? I’m kind of down to the wire for my toe thing.”
“Oh, sorry. Just one more.”
Maxwell sighed. “Make it snappy.”
“Sometimes when I rub your back, you flip your tail up and down. Is that a good thing or bad?”
My mouth fell open. “What?”
“Gas. Flatulence. The aroma that keeps on giving.”
“Now,” he said, “if there’s nothing else, I feel an eighteen-hour nap coming on.”
“Oh, yeah, about that….”
The glare he gave me needed no explanation.