Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

#525: HELLO, MY NAME IS SCHMUTZIE, AND I LIVE WITH A PODIAPHILE

Last night, I could not get to sleep for a long while, but this time it was not due to my ongoing battle with the devil Insomnia. Before I recalled my senses and wrestled myself into a less pathetic shape, I lay weeping in my bed last night, sure that I was a terrible human being and that only something very drastic could save me from continuing to be a wretched blight on humanity.

What could have reduced me to so pitiable a state? I'll let you in on a not-so-secret secret: it doesn't take much to make me turn all waterhousian Lady-of-Shalott. Do you want to know another secret? This one is a grand embarrassment to me: it was Oskar, our housecat, that had me sighing and snuffling under my comforter and feeling as though my efforts toward being a better human were futile at best if not in actuality a one-step-forward-two-steps-back scenario.

Oskar by the fireplace

Ever since we brought him home, Oskar has not been the most stunning example of feline domesticity. Every annoying and destructive activity he engages in comes in periodic waves so that the Fiery One and I are never left yawning over how he enjoys sucking on the mail or hurtling his body full throttle into a bathtub full of hot bathwater. He has gone through phases in which he has wailed, stolen smaller clothing items, systematically pushed anything smaller than him off any surface he could climb to, insisted on climbing us like we were trees, and prodded us awake every morning at three. He's an attention whore and a destroyer of fine goods.

And yet, we love him. He cuddles fiercely, never sitting still but continually rubbing and butting and purring and rolling. He loves nothing more than when everyone is in the same bed together. He greets new people like long lost friends. He is handsome and sleek with two-tone eyes.

He is also a psychopathic foot fetishist. For months now, he has been tormenting me by shadowing my feet when I walk through the apartment. If my feet were sharks, he would be their remora following in a flawless ballet each turn, each sidestep. It would not be so unnerving if he did not also like to bite their tops. The dance can only last so many minutes before he must taste my feet, ankles as well if he is particularly driven, and sink his teeth into thin skin over hard bone.

I don't share in his desire, and frankly, it gives me no pleasure. In fact, it can hurt a good deal. His love nips have resulted in his receiving sudden kicks across the room, which always leave him looking confused, and he pads back toward me with his head down, waiting for assurance that I still like him.

Little did I know that patting him on the head after he bit me reinforced his penchant for chewing on my sweet, sweet feet. A behavioural scientist, I am not.

Honestly, this did not occur to me until last night after I locked him up in his cat carrier after HE LEFT FOR PUNCTURE HOLES IN MY LEFT FOOT. After half an hour of shadowing and nipping and absolutely unswerving attention, he launched himself out of the hallway closet in a fit of podiaphilic ecstasy and sunk four teeth into my foot, two into the arch and two into the top. In one fluid movement, I swung him up and into the cat carrier, muttering motherfucking asshole as I pushed the locking pins into place.

I have never been so angry with a pet, but his violence toward me, and me in particular, has been escalating over the last week. When the Fiery One is home, Oskar is more playful than violent, but as soon as I am left alone with the cat, he becomes aggressive and mean toward me. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why. This sort of behaviour is usually typical of dogs who try to assert their dominance when their dominant human is away, not housecats who generally ignore most people equally.

When and why did I turn into a meal for this cat?

So, after I quit shaking from anger and my foot stopped bleeding (there was only a tiny drop of blood, really), I crawled into bed and wracked my memory for anything that might have lead to this degree of aggression. Other than my idiotic reinforcement of his behaviour, which I changed as of yesterday, because even though I stupid, I am not that stupid, I couldn't figure out what was causing it.

I have been doing some reading today (see "Aggression in Cats" and "Cat Aggression and Socialization"), which has at least given me some hope of living amicably with this crazy devil-cat and maybe even de-devilling him a little. He needs more play time with toys and time-outs for biting, for starters.

I am scared, though, because I love my little fuschnickens. He can be a sweet ball of fluff when he's not being a psychotic mutherfucker with a taste for feet. If he were a boyfriend, I would be slamming him with a restraining order, but this is my cuddly wuddly baby kitters who makes a point of cleaning both himself and me when I read in bed, who greets me at the door belly up every day after work to get his ten-minute love fest.

But last night, I wept in bed, because his eyes looked so cold and he had been so vicious, and I didn't want my last few remembered minutes on earth to be waking up in pooling hot blood spurting from my jugular while my kitty witty super pooper looked on lustily.

Help?

UPDATE: So far today (it's 6:30 pm), Oskar has been the picture of sweetness, mewing for affection and chasing string. I have rigged a toy on a stick for him to play with, which I think will work out some of his crazy, and I am hoping against hope that his abiding passion has not broadened to include realizing my warm, salty foot blood.

Places I've been recently: mad organica, design*sponge, and Sound Portraits.