I tend to be more than a little controlling. I'm trying to work on that; trying to stop telling people what to do, trying to relax when my pre-scripted scenarios don't go according to plan. I think owning cats has helped in a way because you just can't control a cat. Not that it's stopped me from trying.
The cats and I have power struggles over a few things, most of them food-related. One of them eats all of the food while the other two sit by passively - then come whining to me that they're hungry. I've tried chasing the cow away after she's had her turn but she always sneaks back in to gobble whatever she can get.
One of the cats has a birth defect that prevents him from eating a lot at once. I hide extra food for him on top of the medicine cabinet. The third cat caught on to this scheme and started jumping up there from the vanity, so I put a huge bottle of hand soap in her way. Now the only way up is to jump from the toilet seat to the top of the shower door and step over to the cabinet, which she's too short to do. It doesn't matter. She tries anyway.
Saturday morning I woke up to a clattering sound and something like a quick hailstorm, closely followed by a rip and a bang. A split-second later I saw her streaking out of the bathroom. When I walked in I found the overhead fan had been torn out of the ceiling. I think she tried to jump around the soap bottle and missed, then in desperation grabbed for the fan and tore it loose. Somewhere in that mix she knocked over the bowl of cat food and sent it all over the bathroom. Never fear, the opportunistic gobbler was standing by to clean up the spilled food while I pondered what to do about the fan.
I read this article recently about cats controlling their owners. I scoffed at it. My cats don't control ME! No way. I am the Master, not the servant. But then I started noticing things. When I come home from work I immediately put my shoes in the closet and hang up my purse because my male cat will tear them apart if I don't. I'm constantly tripping over the large pet bed I put on the floor in my room to stop them from pulling out the 12 inch tall fence that I put around the frame to keep them from going under the bed and inside the box springs. I taped down every vent in my house to keep them from pulling them up and crawling inside the ducts (which they have done twice). Everything in my house is arranged around the cats and their activities. Who's in charge, again?
I finally admitted defeat the other night at 11:30 when I was trying to fall asleep. A few minutes before I went to bed the boy jumped up to his food stash for a late night snack. No big deal, he can find his way down - or can he? Here's the conversation:
I staggered out of bed, stomped into the bathroom and lifted him off the medicine cabinet in the dark, just to make a point that everything was in exactly the same place it had been 10 minutes ago when the lights were on. I put him down and he bounded off into the darkness. Cats have extraordinary night vision, after all.
I'm so their servant.