Have you ever been looked at or approached while walking down the street in a way that made you feel uncomfortable and a little bit dirty inside? In a way that made you feel a little violated?
That happened to me the other day.
I was on a little evening stroll around my neighborhood talking on the phone to my friend Brad. It was a peaceful evening. Not many were out. Suddenly I heard a noise. A noise that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. It sounded a little bit like the mix between a purr and a growl. When I looked down, a cat was following me, mimicking my gait, and looking up at me with eyes that said “pet me. I need you to pet me. I need it bad.”
“How you doing…?”
I wasn’t really sure what was happening at first. I mean, I’ve interacted with cats a time or two, but nothing extensive. I was left baffled as the cat continued to follow me, and I wondered what the crap it was doing. Is this normal behavior, I wondered. Do cats frequently approach strangers for backrubs in the dark of night? If I touch it will it leave me alone? Is my life in danger in any way?
Then my brain went deeper. Is this cat in heat? And more troubling, is this cat trying to date me?
It seemed pretty clear that the cat was after a little bit more than just a good scratch behind the ear, so I decided that engaging with the kitty cat was probably a bad idea. I listened to that gut instinct–the voice inside me that was saying “don’t start anything. Just ignore her, and she’ll go away.” I walked a little faster, said very clearly “leave me alone!” and kept walking.
But the cat didn’t listen. She kept following me. And she got aggressive. As I continued walking, she began catapulting herself at my legs in an attempt to get me to stop walking, all while making the same purr/growl she was making before. She would pummel me. I’d keep walking. She’d try to trip me looking up at me with eyes that said “touch me.” I’d just walk past her, thinking she’d get the hint. But she didn’t.
She would NOT take no for an answer.
I’m not sure whether this cat was ever employed during the 1990’s, but if she was, she definitely missed the cheesy, horribly acted video that depicted situations of sexual harassment (pronounced HAIREssment) and the consequences of not listening to someone when they say “NO.” This cat did not
hear me tell her that I wasn’t interested. In fact, my rejection just made her more persistent. And if she and I had both been employees at a call center making cold calls to pharmaceutical companies, and had both been outside on our cigarette break when this happened, believe you me, I’d have turned her in to the boss in a second. And I would have been listened to, because let’s face it, no employer wants to have a lawsuit on their hands that has anything whatsoever to do with the word “pussy.”
I wasn’t sure what to do, so I did what any self-respecting 31-year-old man would do and ran into my house daintily and shut the door as fast as I could yelling “leave me alone!”
The whole thing was terrifying. If this cat had been bigger, I’m not sure what would have happened, but I might have lost some innocence that night. It was as if this cat seemed to want to bear my freaky hybrid cat/human children, like the kind you’d see on a weird Facebook ad selling car insurance that uses some wonky picture to grab your attention.
“My daddy is a person and my mommy is a kitty-cat”
You might think that this episode would be the end of the story. But it’s not. No story worth telling ever ends where it really should.
As it turns out, the attraction this cat felt to me was powerful enough that any time I or any member of my family went outside, she would suddenly materialize out of nowhere, purring and growling and rubbing up all on me like we were at a club or I was covered in mice or something.
She appeared so frequently that she got a name. CSK. Short for Cujo Satan Kitty.
CSK was making things a little difficult for us, I’ll be honest. Not only was she totally inappropriate with me, but my daughters, especially Anna, are allergic to cats. We’d frequently be outside in the backyard, or in the park, or getting in the car or sitting by the window (I’m not kidding) and suddenly, out of nowhere, CSK would appear, and Anna would start freaking out “Daddy, CSK is here and she can’t touch me because I’m allergic!!!”
It was getting ridiculous. Even when I was writing the first part of this post a month or so ago, I was sitting there trying to work through the PTSD surrounding my first encounter with CSK when Anna screamed from the kitchen. I got up from writing about CSK, walked to the kitchen, and saw that Anna was pointing at the window on the back door, where a ravenous looking CSK was sitting there mewing and licking her chops expectantly like we owed her something.
“Stop being coy. Just let me in.”
People, I’m not kidding, this cat was starting to scare me. And I was beginning to realize that I needed to take action.
The final straw came when I got home from work one day and Wife pulled me aside to tell me that as she was getting the kids in the car that day, CSK came up to Viva and when Viva reached down to pet her, CSK scratched her arm all up.
Oh no, CSK. No you di’n’t.
Sexually harrassing an adult and making him feel like he is a piece of meat is one thing. But scratching up a two-year-old child? One that is my daughter? At that point you are no longer welcome. You are officially done. There is no more messing around.
I wasn’t sure how to get rid of CSK, but I was sure that the next time she came around I would do something. My options were limited. Because I’m a pacifist (read: terrified of pain and also too empathetic to actually inflict pain on other living things), I knew it couldn’t be explicitly violent, but also that it had to be forceful enough to TEACH CSK A LESSON.
The day came when I was in the back yard with the girls. CSK suddenly mounted the fence to hop into our backyard, and Anna started yelling “DADDY, you need to tell CSK to go away” and something snapped in me and I knew what I had to do. I took the kickball we were playing with and approached CSK (who apparently took my approach as sexual reciprocation because not only did she not run from me, but she actually perked up, waiting for physical contact). I thought about throwing the ball at her, but then I got realistic: I probably couldn’t even hit the fence. The likelihood of my actually hitting her was approximately zero and then she’d just look embarrassed to know me (like she did on the day I became like Jimmer Fredette
) and proceed to enter the yard and assault me and both of my daughters. So instead, I took the ball and… kind of started shoving her with it. At first she thought it was a game, but then I started getting annoyed, and I figured, hey cats can land on their feet, right? and so I just shoved her off the fence. I heard her land with a thud, and wondered what was next. She purr/growled, and then she hopped on the fence again, and it scared me so badly that I almost ran into the house screaming and covering my girls like there was a tornado approaching, but I bolstered up my courage and took the ball and shoved her off the fence again. Really hard. Like a man. A man that is afraid of cats.
And it worked. Somehow, this act communicated to CSK that we were not interested in her friendship/stalking/sexual advances. She finally, finally got the message.
She hasn’t shown up since.
But sometimes, I still look out at our back porch and think I see her feline eyes staring at me with a mixture of rancor and jilted love (the worst kind of combination).
And sometimes, late at night, as I’m sitting in my room, I wonder if she’s out on the back porch peering up at my bedroom window, waiting for her moment to break into my house and massacre us all…
Good bye, CSK.
(One final note: Anna just saw the human/cat morphed picture and, knowing that most of the photos on this post are of the actual CSK, asked “Daddy, did CSK get a haircut?”)
Yes Anna, to teach CSK a lesson, I shaved off all her fur. And this is what was left.
UPDATE: Somebody (aka my subconcious) recently pointed out something very alarming. What if CSK is a male cat????? What does this mean about me? And the universe? And life? And relationships?
I’m very uncomfortable right now. Why would a cat demonstrate this behavior???