This human brought me home from the local humane society, so I’m still getting used to things around here. Some of it’s nice — great cat food (only the premium kind!), and a cool cat tree that’s taller than my new human. But there are other things I’m not so sure about, like the ongoing debate my new human and I have been having over the couch. For some unknown reason, she wants me to stay off it, but it’s the best perch in the house! It catches the afternoon sun just right, and it’s an even more comfortable place to sleep than the cat tree is. I hate to tell my human, but I ain’t giving it up! So how to I make her stop shooing me away every time I get up there and settle down for a nice, sunny nap?
Dear C. Potato,
I can see you’re determined to have your way with this couch, and that is unfortunate for your human if she thinks she’s going to win this battle with you. There is no creature on earth that is more persistent than a cat. Trust me, that perch on the couch is all yours. But you know that already. You’re going to keep jumping up on it until your human gives up and lets you be. It’s a process, and there’s really no way to shorten the time frame. When it comes to getting something we really want, we cats will outlast an opposing human any day, but humans are really slow to understand that. So just keep on doing what you’re doing, and eventually the nagging will stop.
Don’t let this inevitability lure you into complacency, however. Along the way, your human will probably pull out a few surprises, but there are “work-arounds” that you may find helpful. What she does depends on why she wants to keep you off the couch. Maybe she doesn’t want you to shed all over it (and yes, that is a lame reason to keep you off the couch — any sane being knows that cat fur enhances any surface it touches). If that’s the case, she might toss a throw or a cover over your perch. This actually could be a good thing. The cover may be just as comfy as the bare couch was, and it’s also an indication that you’ve won the battle, with the condition of lying on the cover instead of the couch. A throw might even be useful — I know of a cat who would burrow under one for extra warmth on cold days. On the other hand, if your human is concerned that you will sharpen your claws on the couch, she may use this disgusting stuff called “Sticky Paws,” which is basically a clear, two-sided tape that feels gross under our paws. Don’t step on it! At least not until you’ve rubbed up against it a bunch of times and covered up the stickiness with your fur. See, Sticky Paws has similar qualities as that lint roller thing that humans use to get cat fur off their clothing, and fur sticks to it just as nicely. Even better, once you’ve covered the Sticky Paws tape with fur it will smell like you and let the world know the couch is yours.
Fortunately, the couch cover and the Sticky Paws situations don’t involve direct confrontations with your human. But the in-person clashes — her yelling, that dreaded spray bottle, etc. — are easily enough navigated. Just do most of your couch sitting when your human isn’t home. But do let her catch you frequently enough to make her realize that the couch is your territory, and she will eventually give up the fight. I only wish all cat problems were so simple.