No, that's not me making a demand of all of you. This is life with Madrigal, the elder of our two spoiled cats.
Maddy entered our lives entirely through a series of actions that could best be described as My Fault. My husband Kevin never had a pet growing up, on account of his brother's allergies to animal fur, but when we took up housekeeping together he became an enthusiastic co-parent of the two cats I brought with me, Harley and Ginger. Kevin adores animals and they adore him right back, so this worked out nicely.
After Ginger died, Harley was an only child for a while, but I thought it would be nice for Kevin to experience raising an animal from a very young age. So for his birthday back in 2002, I went to the pet store to acquire a kitten. They had only one female kitten available, and she became Maddy. She is very tiny; she never grew much beyond double kitten size, so people have a hard time believing us when we say that she's ten years old. She's all black, except for a little white patch on her throat and another on her tummy, and has a very judgmental expression in her brown eyes.
The decision to bring her into our lives has had mostly okay results, with one glaring problem: Maddy sort of hates my guts.
As far as I can tell it's basically a dominance thing. I consider myself the alpha female of the household, but she disagrees with me. More than that, though, she has a serious problem with the fact that my relationship with my husband interferes in her relationship with her daddy, since they're the same person. She is a tremendous daddy-baby, as my mother puts it.
Currently, it's my day off and we're waiting for him to come home from work. She wants attention. Unfortunately, he's not here which means that I have to do. So she starts her little routine.
First I hear her wailing in the distant corners of the house. So I call to her. I usually call her "Kitty" rather than "Maddy," for reasons not worth explaining. She hears my voice and jogs into the room, then sees me alone and remembers that Daddy isn't here yet. She wails again.
"Come here, kitty. I know, you want your daddy to come home and snuggle. Come on."
She hops up on whichever piece of furniture I'm occupying (in this case, the bed) and flops down on the mattress like a lost fish. I rub her tummy, so she gradually flops inch by inch along the bed until she reaches me properly. Attention attention attention. Love me. Love me harder. Yes. I will purr for you. You are tolerable today. Don't get used to it, but once in a while, this is acceptable.
And then we hear the door open, and she tears out of the room to find her favorite parent.
Later she'll do something purely to annoy me, like shred a paper I need for work. Just to remind me of my place in the pecking order.