Friday 09 Dec 2016

Obsessive Cat Disorder
Matt Seinberg

This is not a column about what you think the title may be. In our house, OCD stands for “Obsessive Cat Disorder.” In terms non-cat people can understand, loving your cat more than you should.

We’ve all heard about the “crazy cat ladies” (CCL) that keep ridiculous of the furry felines, but can’t really take care of them. The cats run rampant in the house, doing their normal business wherever than can. Those stupid owners can’t keep up with cleaning their litter boxes; much less keep the house itself clean.

The normal course of events comes to head when a neighbour complains to the local animal control board, which then goes to the house; horrified by conditions, it takes all the animals away. Then the family of the crazy CCL takes her away, cleans up the house and sells it. The CCL moves to a home, with other CCLs to live out the days she may have left.

We lost Domino a number of years ago. We went to visit a local family that had cats for adoption. I usually don’t go to these homes, because I know what I will encounter; this time was no exception.

When my wife and I walked in, the first thing to hit us was the odour of urine, mildewed rugs and stale cigarette smoke. This is not one of my favourite combinations, at all. Potent potentiation, I’d say.

Then there was the sheer number of cats and kittens this family had. Oh my lord, cats running all over the house, on the furniture, the kitchen counter tops, and the kitchen and dining rooms tables. This family did not value anything they had, much less cleanliness. I don’t suspect they had much concern for the cats, either, given the living conditions.

We saw a couple of kittens we liked. We didn’t take any. The CCL wasn’t sure she wanted to give any away, even though she placed an advertisement in the local paper saying so. I’m guessing her husband made her do it and she did it just to pacify him.

Marcy and I left the house and took a breath of fresh air. I’m glad we escaped with our lungs intact. At that moment, we decided to go back to our regular veterinarian and adopt the black kitten I had seen the previous day.

The next day we drove to the office, of the veterinarian, and took this little bundle of black fur home. My family decided to name her Daphne, after a friend’s dog. To me, Daphne will forever be the character from “Frasier” as played by Jane Leeds, now appearing in “Hot in Cleveland.”

For the first six months, Daphne stayed under our bed for most of the day, only coming out to eat and use the litter box. Sometimes, she slept on the end of our bed. She was always wary of little kids coming in to see her.

My wife almost sent Daphne back to the veterinarian, since she was so anti-social. I refused, telling her that Daphne had to get used to being in our house and not in a cage at the vets office. Daphne stayed and became a very loving little fur ball.

My wife soon developed Obsessive Cat Disorder (OCD) and treated Daphne like the little kid she was. She talked to Daphne like a baby. As Daphne got older, like the kids, Marcy treated her differently as well. Just as kids get bigger and older, so do cats.

Daphne now only hides under the bed when there is thunder and lightning or she just doesn’t want to be bothered. She used to scurry there when the kids came in our room, but for some reason she had actually grown used to the girls. It’s taken her over 9 years to get over her fear of kids, but she’s done it.

I can’t figure out the working of woman’s brain, much less that of a cat. In a household where I am outnumbered three to one, it’s tough enough. When Daphne decides to join the other three, I am then outnumbered four to one and I run and hide, under the bed.

OCD symptoms include the following: purring or meowing and cooing along with your cat; talking to it like you would a child, letting it sleep with or on you anytime and waiting for it to answer you back when you ask a question.

I always wanted a cat like Isis, from the Star Trek episode “Assignment: Earth.” She spoke in a language only Gary Seven could understand and could transform into a beautiful woman, portrayed by Victoria Vectri, at will. Now, that’s a cat I want living in my house.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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