Dear readers, tonight on the interview couch is a human-shaped lunatic with the furry ears, tail, and manners of an oversized housecat. A cat who loves stealing boxes and lying on personal belongings, and despises clothing of every kind.
She’s here to tell us about her life with her prudish, responsible neat freak roommate.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I grew up in a lot of places! Mr. Michi, the human who gives me food and a house, moves around a lot – usually after I escape through the front door and visit the houses near us.
He doesn’t like it when I do that, but those other yards have lots of interesting animals to chase, gardens to dig in, and places to sun myself, so I don’t really care what Mr. Michi says.
Humans are too ridiculous to listen to, anyway. They tell me to wear uncomfortable floppy cages made of cloth, and when I don’t, they complain about me being “naked” and they try to keep their kittens away from me. As if I even want to be near humans’ kittens – they’re too noisy, and they pull my ears and tail. I don’t like them.
Do you remember anything from when you were a kitten?
Not really. I almost never try to, anyway; none of that is happening anymore, so it doesn’t matter. I don’t even care about what happened yesterday, never mind when I was a kitten.
You humans have this strange fascination with what happened so long ago that it doesn’t matter, and what isn’t even happening yet.
You say things like “Don’t eat too much or you’ll get fat”, but I’m not fat right now, so why shouldn’t I eat your food as well as mine? Yours is probably better anyway. Actually, even if I was fat right now, I’d still want your food, and I don’t see why you can’t understand that you should give it to me.
What do you do now?
Whatever I feel like doing at any given moment. Take a nap on the human’s laptop, lick myself in front of the window, poke the human to wake him up so he’ll feed me, eat the small animal in the yard beside ours, or splash the water out of my bowl because I’m annoyed. Whatever I want.
The humans complain about it sometimes, but it isn’t my fault that what they want me to do isn’t what I want to do.
What are the humans in your life doing now?
Mr. Michi is getting old and slow, so he’s started bringing in younger humans to take care of me. But they usually don’t stay very long. The latest one, Sam, showed up in the start of the warm season.
I’m not sure how to feel about Sam. Sometimes he tries very hard not to look at me, he tried to dress me up in one of those floppy cloth cages, he doesn’t want me to sit on his laptop, and he insists on cleaning mud off of me with water instead of doing the sensible thing and just letting me lick it off or rub it off on the furniture.
But he makes sure I always have enough food, even if his is probably better and he doesn’t want to share it, and he chased away the small, noisy, venomous dog, so he might be OK.
Wait – there are venomous dogs in your neighborhood?
It HAD to be venomous. Why else would something the size of my head be that sure it could defeat me?
Any romantic involvement?
No, none of the human or cat toms seem to want to mate with me. Every time I go into heat, they try to calm me down without giving me kittens. And if they can’t do that, they lock themselves in the bathroom.
I’ve tried screaming at them to give me kittens, but for some reason, it never works.
Now that I think about it when I’m not in heat, though, maybe that’s for the best. If my kittens were anything like humans’ kittens, I wouldn’t want them in my house.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
I hate a lot of things. Being cleaned with water. Venomous dogs. Humans telling me I can’t do what I want to do. Humans sleeping when I want food. Humans not giving me their food. Moving to a new house and losing my territory.
Humans yelling at me for sunning myself around their kids because I’m “naked”. People trying to make me wear clothes. Humans trying to play with me by petting my front, and then getting upset when I bite their arms – don’t they know how this game works?
I guess a lot of the things I hate come from humans. Knowing them, they probably invented venomous dogs, too.
Sounds like humans frustrate you a lot. What’s the worst thing about living with them?
The fact that they think they can tell me what I can and can’t do, instead of the other way around. If they would just do as I said when I said it, everything would be perfect.
Is there anything you like about living with humans?
Of course there is, or I wouldn’t still be doing it.
They rub my head sometimes, and give me food, and scare away venomous dogs, and let me into the back yard. And when the new ones move in, they usually have boxes I can sit in, and the stuff in the boxes has all kinds of interesting new smells. So there are a few good things about them.
Have you met any new humans while Sam was taking care of you?
Hm… there was his friend, Anton. Like most humans, he was weird. He was one of those ones who doesn’t understand petting and biting games.
There was also the woman who had half of a hamster and smelled like the venomous dog. I don’t like her.
And there was the strange man in a blue outfit who came to the house while Sam was trying to wash me with water. I don’t know why he was there – maybe he heard me yelling at Sam for getting me wet. He was useless; he didn’t even try to make Sam stop washing me.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
The only time I keep secrets is when I’m trying to figure out how to get a human’s food, ambush my prey, or escape and explore the neighbors’ yards. And those ideas need to stay secret until I use them, or they won’t work. It’s important to be able to surprise your prey.
Most of the time, I’m thinking about what I’m feeling and the things I want or don’t like, and I don’t see why I’d keep those a secret. I mostly tell my humans everything I think of as soon as I think of it, because I want them to do something about it.
If only they would listen, everything would be perfect.
Stephanie O’Brien enjoys playing with different genres, putting twists on classic tales and tropes, and telling platonic love stories. She used her experience as a lifelong cat owner to create Nyla’s bizarre yet distinctively feline personality and misadventures.
You can find Nyla on the pages of Catgirl Roommate: A Cat Lover’s Comedy Novel.
Join us next week to meet the high priestess of a sisterhood dating back to the times of Merlin and Arthur. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.