This week Ms. X tackles a problem familiar to every coupled-up cat-owner in the country: why does it insist on staring at us while we’re getting down to business?
What do you do with your cat while you’re having sex? If we leave ours in the room it sits beside the bed and judges us, with its judgey eyes; if we put it outside it scratches desperately to get in. Our friends say they leave theirs on their bed asleep while they get down to it, but that seems purr-verse!
Thank you for this gift of a letter. It brought about the best, then worst, workplace conversations I think I’ve ever had.
Look, my cat also has the judgey eyes – so much so that the only thing I can compare her to is a particularly disdainful ice skating judge who thinks you came out of the triple loop too early and so is only going to score you a 4.8.
So, seeing as we’re living with similarly sanctimonious cats, I decided to crowdsource an answer to your question at work. The upshot: I cannot ever forget the things I now know about my co-workers.
Turns out cats are really judgey. Turns out most of them want to stay in the room and continue to judge you. Turns out some of them will even ‘lean in’, Sheryl Sandberg styles, if you let them. (I am not a veterinarian and am rapidly running out of clinical experience in this area).
Here’s what my colleagues reported, at great haste and with little to no prompting (I’ve assigned each of them new names for my own amusement):
‘Ernest Hemingway’: “In out, in out. Damn cat. Wants to stay in the room or wants to get out of the room but then reverses the decision immediately. The cat hates me because I had him fixed. I know it. We both know it. He has a sense memory of his testicles that is refreshed the minute he sees mine and he then wants to sabotage any enjoyment that I may be seeking to have with my testicles. I think I hate him now.”
‘Willie Nelson’: “Our cat Biscuit isn’t actually disdainful. but the vacant stare while we are having sex really just takes a lot of the magic away. It’s like the glare of an ambivalent zombie. Eventually I have to turn away because I feel disappointed in myself. Because I am disappointing, I know it, Biscuit knows it. I’m just so glad Biscuit doesn’t have Snapchat.”
‘Lauren Hill’: “Look, honestly it’s very difficult. Shakira has been with me longer than my partner so I have history with her. She has seen me through terrible and amazing times (and hair cuts). For a long time it was us vs. the world. When I first bought my partner home she was incredulous that her side of the bed was inhabited. She started pissing in his shoes when we locked her out of the bedroom during intimate moments. It wasn’t a mixed message. Actually it might have been – but the time she shit in his shoes definitely wasn’t .
“I’m torn. The only thing on my side is that she is elderly and won’t be pissing in his shoes for much longer and he has a really awful family so if he complains about her then I just have to mention his mother.”
‘Joan of Arc’: “We don’t have a cat but my girlfriend has a dog. Quite a tall dog actually and the first time I stayed at hers I was walking to the bathroom naked after, you know, and he came up behind me and put his wet nose on my bum. I screamed. Actually now I think he is a bit of a perv. I call him Merv the Perv and my GF hates it.
‘Ernest Hemingway’ again: (I couldn’t get him to shut up, this subject triggered him completely) “Seriously, I would look at rehoming him but all my friends would judge me for it and because he is a good looking cat I have used pictures of him all over my social media. So now they all ask me about the bloody cat. ‘Hows Big Ted?’ they ask. Oh he’s great but Big Ted cannot be trusted to be within ten metres of my naked scrotum without acting out. Gareth Morgan was right, we should ban domestic cats.”
Okay Re-Cat-Ted, has any of this been of use? Is there a way you can have relations only in one room that the cat can be locked out of by at least two doors and an intricate maze tunnel? And should you still have any libido left after this exhausting discussion, let me add this warning: If you plan on having children, just know that they are like cats – but with language skills and opposable thumbs.
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