Feeling Unloved Made Me Extend My Claws

Lisa Oz
Love & Sex

My co-dependant cat

Sometimes I'm like my cat. When I'm not getting enough attention from my husband, I often respond by becoming angry and picking a fight, feeling somewhere in my subconscious that a negative interaction is better than neglect.

We have a lot of animals — too many given our crazy schedules and commitments outside the home. Just remembering to feed the fish is a constant source of anxiety for me. So I admit I probably don't spend as much time as I should bonding with our cats.

But there is one in particular who is obsessively co-dependant. He follows me from room to room yowling if I don't pet him, jumps on my computer while I try to work, and scratches at the bathroom door during my "private time."

The other day he was acting even more needy than usual. I was late for an appointment, rushing to get my makeup finished, and he wanted to be cuddled. He leaped up on the table and began rolling over my stuff. The mascara and several lipsticks crashed to the floor. Cat hair became permanently embedded in the cream-blush and I streaked my eyeliner onto my lid — which meant I had to do the whole eye over. I was not feeling very loving towards the cat as I tossed him out of the room.

That night, when I got home, there was a rank smell emanating from my dressing table. As I approached I noticed that it was drenched. The cat had punished me for rejecting him. I loved him even less.

Which takes me back to my husband ...

I remember our anniversary last year. He had made a commitment to go to someone else's party, and I felt we should be celebrating alone. The whole evening I sulked and scowled and refused to dance. When, after much coaxing, I did finally succumb to the dance floor, I stomped on his foot and actually tore his pant-leg with my heel.

The less loved I felt the less lovable I made myself. Funny how the animal brain in both humans and cats responds the same way to feelings of rejection. Highly ineffective in either case.

Striking a balance between life and love can be hard. Do you ever feel like my cat? Like me?

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