that darn cat

I almost titled this entry “Psycho Kitty, qu’est-ce que c’est?”, since my sister almost always refers to Alex only as “Psycho Kitty.” She gave him this nickname the first time she visited overnight, based on his scratching my nephew, attacking her foot during the night and the scars she’d seen me sporting. To be fair to Alex, that visit was an unusual one, and I found it stressful myself; used to living alone with me, having to deal with at most one or two friends over for dinner or, all to infrequently, a single overnight male visitor, Alex had to deal with my family descending upon me in the form of my sister, two of her three children, my cousin, and a second cousin who acts more childish than either of my nephews. The house was crowded, the three boys kept teasing Alex, and my sister was sleeping on the floor with her naked toes uncovered, just about in the exact spot where Alex usually plays with his toys.

To be sure, though, Alex does have some bizarre facets to his behavior and personality. For instance, he gets very unhappy when I’m on the telephone and after some period of time will go into an ears down pose, begin a low yowling, and leap up to rake my legs with his claws. A similar behavior occurs if he feels I’ve been playing computer games or web surfing too long, and not paying enough attention to him. And while he usually lies next to me, or just on the floor at my feet, or on the back of the futon when I’m watching TV, sometimes, for no apparent reason I’ve yet fathomed, he’ll saunter down the back until he reaches me and then just reach out his paw, claws lightly extended, and slap me in the head.

He also has developed a behavior I find vaguely unsettling on the rare occasions that he jumps into my lap. Rarely a lap cat–he likes to lie or sit next to me, or be very near me, but rarely wants to sit right on me–he sometimes makes an exception when I’m seated at the computer. When he was younger, he would do the typical feline routine of kneading for a short time, then settling down. And he still does that when he’s sitting or lying on a cushion, pillow or similar. But something seems to have short-circuited with his kneading behavior when he sits on my lap, and he gets caught in a bizarre little loop, a sort of tic that starts to feel uncomfortable–not just because he kneads with his claws out, but because it feels almost like it has a sexual component to it. He’ll knead my lap for a few seconds, start to recline, but then his rear will suddenly twitch and a shudder will run through his body, and he begins all over again. This can continue for a very long time until I can either force him into a reclining position long enough for him to settle down, or I get so creeped out that I urge him off my lap onto the floor.