Tuesday, February 2, 2010 7:13 AM

You're Not Reading That, Are You?

Cats seem to have a natural affinity for newspapers. Well, actually, for anything you are reading, or trying to read. Consider this scenario. You settle in on the living room couch with your morning paper, coffee cup in hand. You put the cup down on the side table and open up the front section. Well, look at that! Taxes are going up again! Before you can determine which taxes and how much, someone punches the center of the splayed paper, scaring the bejesus out of you. You lower the paper to find your cat, with head tilted, looking at you. Before you can say, "Scat!" he reaches up a paw, pulls the top of the section downward, and starts trying to tear it to pieces. Okay, you think, have this part, see if I care! Before you can toss that section and the cat onto the floor and grab another, however, there will be another cat (or even the same one) sitting comfortably on the pile of remaining, unread sections, very deliberately cleaning himself.

How many times has this happened to you? If you are a cat lover, I'll bet more times than you can count. Why do cats do this? Why, for attention, of course! You can't ignore a cat that is shredding your morning paper right before your eyes. Also, anything, in the cat world, can be considered a toy, especially if someone else seems to be enjoying it.

Let's say you decide to read the paper later, considering the circumstances, and instead pick up that magazine you never seem able to finish. The cat that just seconds ago was busy cleaning his face is now focused on chewing the edges of this new paper item and slapping at the pages as you turn them over. "Fine! I'll just sit at the other end of the couch and open the mail," you say to the cat, who is already two steps ahead of you. As soon as that bill is placed on the seat beside you, kitty has placed a paw right in the middle of it, trying to gauge how much pressure it will take to punch the center out. It's no wonder we can't seem to finish that cup of joe!

What to do? If you want to read the paper, you're going to have to invite that cat onto your lap and give him some attention. Holding the paper or magazine up in the air with one hand, be sure to keep the other constantly on the cat, petting and scratching his head. You'll probably get a stiff neck, and forget about finishing the coffee. But, hey, that's the price you pay for being so popular!
Chat later!

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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