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What Duncan did that was so bad

Okay, so I mentioned in passing that Duncan was a bad cat, and it seems to have piqued the interest of a number of readers. Judging by the comments and emails, “Duncan was bad last night” is the most intriguing thing I’ve said in a long time.

So. What did Duncan do?

Well. As you know, Duncan is usually a very lovey cat at bedtime. But sometimes he’s a little, well, overly lovey. And he’s no lightweight, so when he gets it into his head to be overly lovey, he is not easily dissuaded.

So last night and the night before, Duncan gets into bed with some serious lovin’ on his mind.

Now, something I haven’t told you before: Duncan always prepares to lie down. He has to line himself up just so and then drop his legs out from underneath him and fall over to one side. I think it’s because he’s so big. So he lines himself up just so, leans towards my head and drops his legs out of the way and thump! lands on my shoulder with his cheek aligned with my cheek. It’s an art. But there are no accidents. The weight of him pins me in place. Then he unsheaths his claws and starts kneading my chest with them.

“That hurts,” I say, unhooking his claws from my skin and holding them back.

“PUUUURRRRR,” growls Duncan insistently as he frees his claws, reinserts them under my skin and leans in to lick my eyes with his IAMS turkey breath.

“Duncan, that’s just not nice,” I say, pushing him away slightly.

“PURRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!” growls Duncan menacingly as he reinserts himself, licks my lower lip and shifts more of his weight onto me.

“Ugh!” I say, and try to roll away from him, but I’m limited by the fact he’s got my shoulder pinned. In the dark it almost looks like he’s leering at me, but that’s probably just my imagination.

We then spend the next few minutes negotiating our boundaries, after which we fall asleep for about six hours.

It Is Time To Feed The CatAt 4:30 a.m. Duncan makes a unilateral decision and a grand proclamation: It Is Time To Feed The Cat.

He announces this decision by purring loudly and meowing incessantly and poking his claws into my skin repeatedly.

I might not have been the best mother in the world, but I did do a couple of things right. And one of them was I never caved in to whining or temper tantrums, because it doesn’t make sense to reward the behaviour you don’t like. So whenever my son whined, I would just cheerfully say “Oh, I don’t like that noise. Would you mind finishing whining in your room, and then come back out when you’re done?” And being the sweet, easy-going and accommodating child he was, he would toddle off to his room, say “Whi-i-i-i-ine” a few times in his best whiny voice, then come back out and announce, “All done whining, Mom.” It worked like a charm. His whiny phase only lasted a few weeks and then he never whined again. EVER.

So when Duncan started whining for food at 4:30 in the morning, I refused to feed him. My plan was to wait for the whining to stop and THEN get up and feed him. Only the whining didn’t stop. It went on and on and on and on and on and on and on. I timed it: he meowed 24 times a minute for two and a half hours. And because it wasn’t working, he added a few other charming little tricks to the mix, like plucking my ear with a single claw, licking my eye sockets, stepping on my nipples, and biting my head.

And then finally, FINALLY, at 7:00, I pushed him off the bed, and he went away for a few minutes, which gave me that window of opportunity to get up and go feed him while he was NOT whining. Of course the minute he saw I was up, he started whining again with renewed vigor. I’m pretty sure he attributed the fact that I fed him to his successful whining. I might have won the battle of wills, but in the end it was all for nothing.

It’s a good thing I’m crazy about this cat.


13 comments to What Duncan did that was so bad

  • stine

    Duncan sounds like my former cat (now in the litter box in the sky). It only takes a cat one time to get in a bad habit. She used to knead my shoulder (claws out) and purr and drool as she was going to sleep. If she wanted attention in the middle of the night and we didn’t pet her (mainly because we were asleep) she would lick our lips until we woke up enough to pet her and make her leave us alone. There doesn’t seem to be way to break a cats bad habits (at least not that I’ve found) – sorry.

  • That’s the trouble with sharing a house with a creature whose time isn’t valuable. Ours just starts tearing around the house around 7 a.m., no matter what, even if his food and water dishes are full, and keeps at it till someone gets up.

    Then he hides.

    Good thing we’re crazy about him, too.

  • haha, yeah my Siamese cat Sage likes to start mewing at us, oh about an hour after we fall asleep. She usually does it when she has just finished playing with a toy, and brings it to our doorway, drops it, and mews. We try to ignore it…. but it’s really hard.

  • Oma

    Now I know why I prefer dogs … even though one of them woke me up at 3 this morning to vomit up the construction glove he ate yesterday.

  • Carmen

    Yep, Monet does the same. I HATE when he licks my eyelid open…first, that raspy tongue on the eyelid, and then the surprise of having an opened eyelid against one’s wish. My mate flys a small pillow across the room as warning. It’s a game but Monet thinks “oh, oh, we’re (yes, for some odd reason, I’m included in the we…) we’re in sh*t. And he settles down again until he’s figured that the pillow-flyer has fallen back to sleep. Cats.

  • What I found that works is if one has a meowy cat sitting outside one’s door, simply do your best hissing cat impersonation whenever it meows.
    My ex-roomie’s cat used to do this to me when I’d come home from work and fall into bed. Sleepless nights, earplugs, some internet research and five minutes of hissing later, the cat stopped cross-door meowing.

  • Now I feel a little guilty for posting about Duncan being bad, because last night he was a total sweetheart and this morning he let me sleep till 7:00. And then he woke me up by purring and gently stroking my face with his velvety paw.

    I think I would have freaked right out if he’d woken me up by vomiting up a construction glove!!!

  • Duncan’s bedtime routine sounds a lot like Tux when he want’s lovin’ It’s usually when I’m sitting on the couch knitting. He’ll climb into my lap (I always sit cross legged so there’s a nice little nest) and he sits up…. leaning backwards so I can’t get my hands in front of me to knit… at 16 lbs, it’s pretty successful…
    But, it’s Rocky who’s insistant about being fed in the morning. I don’t get whining (unless I’ve gotten so pissed off I’ve locked him out of the bedroom) but I get shuffling in things he’s not supposed to shuffle in, shaky mice brought in and played with, adn when I’m really not listening, I get kitten under the blanket and claws in the bare butt… however, I don’t give in… ever… but neither has Rocky (I don’t think he’s smart enough to realize it doesn’t work) SIgh…. gotta love the cats

  • Gae Fenske

    Try having a twenty-one year old moggie (known as Vegemite, or Madam, for obvious reasons).

    She has been known to FORGET that she has just been fed, and to stride into our bedroom announcing imminent starvation.

    As for the voice – well, the deafer she gets, the louder.

    She like to sleep in the space between Ernst’s pillow and mine, and then purr like a motor – leaning on the metal bedhead, making the whole thing reverbrate ……………

    And I have to admit, what Madam wants, Madam gets ………

  • Ruth

    I think your cat is related to my cat! I could have been reading about my Tippy.

  • And people wonder why I don’t have cats…

  • When you combine sleep deprivation from night time feedings with a baby in a growth spurt AND a cat who alternates between yowling at 3am for pets and pulling down the window blinds for fun…you start havng some pretty gruesome fantasies about disposing of the cat.

  • What you described is *exactly* why we no longer feed our cats in the morning, only in the evening. It was painful the first few days, but once they stopped expecting it, so did the whining :-)