Friday, August 22, 2014

Must Hate Humans by Joanne Hill

If our cat was to put an ad in the personals for a fellow feline, it would say something along the line of "Must hate humans."

She's probably always felt that way but we only became aware at Easter when we returned from a break - a mere five sleeps away and nothing out of the ordinary.
At first we didn't think anything was amiss but it didn't take long to discover that something was indeed not right. We found Nook in the rafters of the garage, miaowing at us. Straight away we knew the problem. Yep, we said, she's quite clearly stuck, and we have to get her down, the poor baby, because she's forgotten how she got up there in the first place. And she's missed us terribly. 

There were several mistakes right there in that thinking. First, that she couldn't get down. Of course she could get down! This is an old garage that has stuff in it like old furniture she can jump down on to and she was, after all, up there on her own accord. The second error in the thinking was that she was miaowing because she'd missed us. Ha!. She was miaowing because we'd come home. Disturbed her newly discovered freedom. Had realised just how much she hated us and she wanted us out of there. Forget the fact we had "rescued" her from the SPCA and given her a half decent life. Nook hated us.

Over the next few weeks she began to take off for great periods of time and we had no idea where she could be. Once I followed her by stealth. She leapt on the fence, walked delicately across it, jumped on the garage roof and when she crossed over the top down the other side and out of sight, I ran around the garage to see where she was. But she'd gone. I looked everywhere. In the garage, out of the garage, peered over neighbour's fences. She had vanished.
In fact, we eventually discovered, she had cleverly disguised her presence by settling on the rusty garage roof under the branches of the peach tree.  She was perfectly camouflaged and intent on staying there, even when it drizzled and we tried to coax her down. In fact, even when it began to pour and I'd be out there with the umbrella telling her to get her cat backside indoors, she just miaowed.  It was incredible to us that her hatred went so deep she was prepared to brave the elements. But I persisted in showing her she was still loved. Whenever I'd walk down the drive, I'd stop by the garage and greet her with a cheery "Hi Nook" and she would give me dirty looks.
Then one day she wasn't on the garage roof, and we couldn't find her anywhere. It was coming into winter and it was wet and we were worried. We searched everywhere. Everywhere. Trespassed on neighbours' property. Got up in the rafters. Looked and called but as days went by, things were beginning to look bleak.  

Then she was found. 

"I've found her," one of the boys said, shaking his head in disbelief. 

We went outside and he pointed to her and I could only stand and stare in shock.   She was living in the tree. She lay on a branch, looked with disdain at us and we  gazed in horror. Our cat had chosen to live up a tree.  In between hoping the SPCA didn't catch wind of this and press charges of animal neglect, we began to brainstorm Nook's thinking. She had beds to choose from, couches, carpet, wallpaper to scratch the life out of if. Maybe she was terminally ill, about to die, sparing us the misery of the pain we were about to endure?  

Mortified she had chosen to expire in the tree, we got her down, with difficulty, and brought her inside. She ran back out again. We locked her up at nights with a litter tray but as soon as the morning arrived, when she thought we weren't looking, she ran back outside and got back up the tree.

And finally, finally, it hit us.  Nook wasn't dying. She wasn't even sick. She just hated us and we'd been too dumb to realise it.
We brought her inside again and eventually she humoured us and chose to live on the sink in the bathroom. This seemed cold and rather wet for the cat when you're trying to bush your teeth. Plus we kept finding cat hair in the soap. Then she decided to live on a barstool, which was a lot drier than the sink. Now she's utilising beds so we're breathing sighs of relief that we' re not bad cat owners  - just owners of a cat with some serious mood swings . 

Cats really are a law unto themselves, aren't they? What bizarre things has your cat ever done that really makes you wonder what makes their little cat minds tick? 

New Zealand writer Joanne Hill writes short contemporary romances. Her book Falling for Jack was a finalist in the inaugural Romance Writers of New Zealand Koru award, winning second place in the short sweet category - one of only two indie books in the finals. Follow on twitter @joanneauthor or visit the website,


  1. Have loved cats all my life and one of the things I love most about them is how they can have so many personality quirks! Just fascinating creatures.

  2. My cat sounds quite conventional compared with yours, LOL. She does all the normal cat things and loves strokes and sitting on laps. My daughter's cat is rather different. She has plenty of attitude and will go to any lengths to get outside. I am cat sitting at the moment and in constant fear that every time I let her out in the garden she will disappear.

  3. You made me laugh so hard! What an adorable story!

  4. From your title, I thought your cat was going to be the cat from hell! Glad she decided to get a little sense

  5. Cats are truly a law unto themselves. My daughter is the cat lover in our family because when she was a baby we had a cat named Bootsie who adored Joanna. Whenever Joanna was on the floor, crawling around, Bootsie would come along. The two of them would stop and rub faces, and then go their separate ways. When Joanna was older, she would dress that cat up in doll clothes and carry him around like a baby. He would let her do anything to him. Great cat. We never had another one like him.

  6. What do people without cats do for entertainment???

  7. Love your comments, everyone, though I can't imagine a cat letting itself be dressed up!! Still, who thought a cat would prefer to live in a tree in the middle of winter, albeit a mild Kiwi winter. xx

  8. I have three cats, all are rescue cats and all are completely different. One in particular is rough, tough and super independent. When I do something she doesn't like, she hisses at me. All of my cats love to be outdoors in good weather and it's difficult to get them to come in the house at night, but I keep them in all winter (I live in Minne-snowta).

  9. I have three cats and they all have different personalities. They do weird things all the time.