Fighting for the affection of a cat - Jason Smith

I've always enjoyed having pets.

I think it may be hereditary.

My mom is the biggest cat-lover of anyone I've ever known, and I don't think there has ever been a point in her life when she hasn't had at least one feline friend.

My dad has fond memories of various dogs he has owned over the years, from Doberman Pinschers to Yorkshire terriers.

When my wife and I, last year, were given a Siamese cat by a friend of mine, I was so excited to be carrying on my family's long-held tradition of pet ownership.

At first, everything was wonderful. The cat would cuddle up to both of us, allowing us to pet her as long as we wanted, and would light up when we walked into the room. She still does that -- for my wife, anyway. I, on the other hand, seem to be unable to do anything right in the cat's eyes.

I don't understand it. Normally, I do very well with cats, but for the most part, my attempts at gaining her affection have largely proven fruitless.

I feed her dry food every morning before I go to work. Half the time, instead of running to her food bowl, she looks at it dismissively, as if to ask me if that's all she's getting.

When I give in to the pressure, and pour wet food from a can in an attempt to curry favor with the cat, she dives into it, eats for a few minutes, then calmly walks away.

If she does manage to make her way to my lap -- which is sometimes the case -- I pet her for a few seconds, just before she tries to bite me.

Fortunately for me, the cat was de-clawed before we ever got her, so biting is her only weapon. I just wish she didn't use it so much, particularly after I've fed her.

Certainly, I am not the cat's only victim. If she's not in the mood for anyone to touch her, she occasionally bites my wife. My wife then scolds her -- much more harshly than I do when it happens to me -- and, after a few minutes, the cat leaps back into my bride's lap once again.

I then scratch my head, wondering what I did to deserve yet another snub.

With all that being said, the cat is a part of the family, and I love having her around. There's something comforting about seeing a little ball of fur, curled up on my bed, sound asleep when I get home after a long day.

Pets can soothe the bad days, and can make the good days even better, and our cat has certainly done both. I hope she will continue to do so, for me and for my wife, for a long time.

I just hope she doesn't bite my fingers off in the process.

Jason A. Smith covers crime and courts for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.