Thursday, November 24, 2011

Psychoanalyzing Cats

Psychoanalyzing Cats
He's thinking "I like the window," or "I hate the window," or "Knock it off with that stupid baby-talk voice, you're killing me."
Last weekend I introduced myself to someone I knew only from a photo, but whom I sort of work with, (it's complicated) and when I did, I not only got the stink eye, but the cold shoulder as well. I mean ouch, right? I tried not to stew on it, but you know me; I did. Later when I told the husband about the whole thing, he responded with his canned answer to all situations similar: "You're psychoanalyzing cats."

I love this household saying of ours. Psychoanalyzing cats. And it did get me off my own case. If you have pets, you surely know what we mean by it. You’re doing it when you sit there trying to figure out what on earth is going on inside your cat's head when for some reason he decides to poop right next to the litter box and this behavior lasts for a week and it makes no difference whether the litter box is clean or dirty or if it's late at night or early in the morning or if there's a full moon in the sky. And then, just as suddenly as it started, the behavior stops. So you think, "Oh, he must have been mad about something" and it never occurs to you that it probably isn't healthy to be anthropomorphizing your pets and perhaps you're the one in need of psychoanalysis.

But my point, finally, is that you will never know what, if anything, is actually going through your cat's head and so the exercise of kitty psychoanalysis is pointless. Moot. A waste of time. Much like trying to figure out why someone you sort of work with, who publicly appears to be all outgoing and friendly, gave you the hairy eyeball when you introduced yourself.

But it doesn’t stop me from doing it all the time, reading motivation into things people say or do to me: “Maybe Susie doesn’t like me anymore!” “Maybe he’s mad at me.”  “Maybe she disapproves of how I handled that.” Whatever. It’s ridiculous. Because, as with cats, you’ll never truly know what people are thinking, if anything. That is unless you ask them point blank. But I would consider this to be risky behavior in some social situations, because then you might find out the actual truth of what they think of you. I know! This is why I stick with random conjecture, projecting my fears and prejudices on others by imagining their personal behavior motivations. Even though I’m probably way off and not anywhere near the truth. It might just be better to be blissfully ignorant, I think. Better, and much more fun anyway, to be psychoanalyzing cats.

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