If animals don't have feelings, then why does the cat hate me?
I have done nothing to deserve the complete and utter disdain shown to me by our big fluffy cat Simonne.
In fact, given that I am the one who saw her languishing alone and unloved in the SPCA and scooped her up and brought her home (after first paying for her, and stopping on the way home to purchase kitten food, kitten milk, a litterbox and kitty litter ...) risking the wrath of my poor beleaguered husband in the process, I have done heaps (in my opinion) to earn her undying devotion.
Not only that, but I was the one feeding her, cleaning out the aforementioned litter box, and I am still the one who shuts her inside every evening so she doesn't go out on the highway and turn into road pizza.
I am also the one who snips the knots out of her long fur, and dries her with a towel when she's been out in the rain.
And she's so, so fluffy and soft and lovely to cuddle. Or so my husband tells me as the darned cat refuses to let me cuddle her.
No, if I reach out for a pat she swerves around my extended hand, ducks a bit, weaves a bit and then sits down to wash her fur just in case I may have made contact.
Then she marches up to my husband to be consoled.
"That dreadful woman nearly got me," she explains to him and demands a big hug to make her feel better.
And she gets it. My husband pats the offending cat and smirks at me, gloating.
Because the cat that hates me is absolutely besotted with my husband.
When I walk past her as she graces the kitchen bench - which, by the way I should be reprimanding her for sitting on, but I don't - I get a set of claws spiked into my arm.
When my husband finds the cat on the bench he stops to give her a firm reprimand. No claws occur. Then she stands on her hind legs, reaches up and puts her front paws on his chest and smooches him on the chin.
"Watch this" he says to me and I give him my best evil eye.
Then he invites her to do it again and she does, and I make sicking up noises at him.
Sometimes he walks past me with an armload of fluffy Simonne and hesitates long enough to say "can you hear this, she's purring." And I lie and tell him I can't hear a thing, because I'm not giving him the satisfaction.
I do, actually, have a cat that likes me, I tell him. "So there."
It's just that the cat that likes me is Stanley, the shed cat.
Stanley lives in the hayshed to catch the mice. And she (yes, she) lives in the hayshed for a reason.
Stanley lives in the hayshed for a good reason. Stanley is not entirely house trained.
Stanley loves to come inside to dish out cuddles and purrs of an evening, but woe betide me if I forget to put her out before bedtime.
She will lurk until we are well asleep before she makes her move.
Her move, once she makes it, is to furtively sneak into the bedroom and take up residence on my pillow.
She's kind of large so that doesn't leave much pillow for me. And she does it so silently that I don't notice until I wake up early in the morning with an eighth of a pillow, a really sore neck and a cat on my head.
That's generally when sleepily I turf her off and she gets all disgruntled and stalks about the house picking fights with Simonne.
The pair will stalk around the house, up and down the passage, over the bed and under it, making growling noises like small revving V8 engines.
At least a V8 would run out of fuel eventually but it seems like cats are very fuel efficient.
Eventually I get fed up and wake up properly and evict Stanley but by then she will have made her signature move.
She will have peed somewhere.
And it's up to me to work out where.
Sometimes it's appallingly obvious, like in my jewellery box.
Other times I have to play detective - or should that be pee-tective - and work out where she's placed her latest offering.
Finding cat-related dampness in the tissue box was a special moment.
As was heading out the door wearing my favourite scarf only to catch a whiff of ... no scarf has ever been so swiftly discarded.
And don't get me started on the time she did the unmentionable on my ceramic cooktop and I only found out when I turned the element on to cook breakfast. Those sicking up noises were not faked.
Actually I'm beginning to get the feeling the cat who likes me may well be in league with the cat who hates me. Maybe my husband would like to claim her as well.