How Cats Get What They Want

See the secret to getting what you want. (Hint: Be a cat.)

I’m not a big fan of KFC but every so often, I bring home two of their chicken thighs to share with Sparkle. I lock us away from the other two cats (who would go crazy and overwhelm the both of us with fried chicken lust) and as I pull off pieces of the chicken, I blow on them to cool them off before offering them to her. She eats them right out of my hand, politely taking each piece from my greasy fingers. Sometimes, if she thinks I am being too slow, she’ll impatiently wave her paw in the air. Usually she eats the better part of one chicken thigh, and sometimes a good portion of the second too.

I guess you could say she is spoiled, but why shouldn’t she be? Indulging her does not mean she will grow up to run roughshod over salespeople, hotel staff and waiters with a nasty attitude of entitlement. Since she’s a cat, the only recipient of that kind of behavior is me. And I don’t care. Even if I didn’t give her the hand-fed KFC service, she would still sit on my mousepad when she wants attention, shun food that does not please her and turn her head away from me the moment I try to take a photo of her. Sparkle’s expectations are already over the top and I long ago resigned myself to never living up to them.

I think part of being feline is that delightful and often maddening sense that the world (or at least dinner) should be handed to them on a silver platter. Of course, not all cats fit the classic diva mold. Boodie, our “shy,” non-dominant cat, often acts like she doesn’t deserve anything. She’s always been No. 3 out of our trio, and she just accepts being last in line as if it’s her due. This makes me feel sorry for her and give her extra treats. Hm. Maybe she isn’t so dumb after all.

And not every cat can pull off that sense of entitlement with the flair Sparkle does. Binga, our impatient tortie girl, wants everything now, and if you don’t comply, she will nag you incessantly, or if the object of her desire is within eyesight, she will just flat-out take it. As a result, she often gets less than Sparkle or Boodie – I’m so busy trying to get her to stop her bad behavior, I’m tempted to just throw her a crumb and get it over with.

While I could do without the manipulation and blatant theft, I do have to say that a lot of people could use a dose of the self-confidence our feline friends display. After all, how do you expect to get anything unless you ask for it – and fully expect to receive what you are requesting?

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