Saturday, May 9, 2015

IS YOUR CAT A NARCISSIST? PROBABLY.

By Mary Kennedy                              
 
As many of you know, I'm a psychologist in private practice on the East coast and recently I came across a wonderful article on narcissism. As I read through the description, I thought, "Good heavens!! How did I miss this? My cat is a narcissist." (Actually several of my 8 cats are narcissists, according to the traits listed in the magazine).  Let's take a quick look, and keep your own cat in mind as we go through some of the characteristics. Do any of them strike a chord with you?
 
1. With narcissists, it's "all about them." Do they care about *your* needs? Not in the least. Have you ever had a sleepless night, only to have your cat tap you repeatedly on the fact, looking for his breakfast?  By the way, I'll use the pronoun "he" throughout this blog, just for convenience. I happen to have 4 male cats and 4 female cats, and trust me, females can be narcissists, too. Take a look at this fun video of a cat kicking the bedroom door, trying to wake his owners. Totally selfish and narcissistic, although very cute.  https://www.google.com/#q=youtube+cat+kicking+door
 
2.The Stare. This is a very powerful tool used by feline narcissists. Has your cat ever stared at you intently? As one of my favorite authors, Dean James, said about Diesel, the delightful cat in his Cat in the Stacks Mysteries, "He stared at me, as if trying to bend me to his will." Anyone who has a cat will totally relate to this description. I smile every time I think of it.                                                 
                                                        
 
3.The Silent Treatment. Have you ever had your cat walk away from you in a huff?  A swish of his tail, a shrug of his shoulders and he stalks away.  I have. And sometimes my only offense was daring to offer him a plate of cat food he didn't like. My bad!! Narcissists punish by ignoring. And if you've ever been ignored by a cat....well, you see my point.
                                                         
  
4. Manipulation. It's all about control with narcissists. Have you ever found yourself opening several cans of cat food, hoping that one will please your furry master? I know I have! Sometimes they even go back and eat the first one you offered.  Classic narcissist behavior.
                                                       
5. The Victim Card.  Does your cat ever "play the victim" and act so miserably unhappy you just *have* to ditch the canned cat food and open a nice can of dolphin-safe tuna? Or broil a chicken breast, just for him? By meowing piteously, these fur-babies can twist us around their little paws!
 
                                    
 
These are just a few of the common ploys used by cat-narcissists. Now that you are aware of them, you can be on the look-out! And if you think of some I've missed, please leave a comment below. I'd love to trade experiences with you!
 
Mary Kennedy

24 comments:

Barbara Hawk said...

My cat is a gossip. Whether she comes in from outside or returns from the kitchen, she has to tell me what is going on. In her loudest vocals. I have to respond or she will jump on my lap and tell me to my face, I love her, I just wish she would use her inside voice.

Anonymous said...

Actually, don't you think most, if not all, cats are narcissists? It's always about them!

On another note, I asked my Indian friend about a recipe for "palaak." There isn't a recipe because "palaak" is Hindi for "spinach." So you will definitely need to go online and get the recipe from the restaurant. Good luck. Cordella

mary kennedy said...

Hi Cordella, thanks for stopping by! I actually found a video online that shows how to make "crispy spinach." It looks wonderful, I think it was the same version as at Rasika's. Thank you for checking on the spinach recipe. I'll let you know how it turns out.

mary kennedy said...

Hi Barbara, that's interesting, my cats tend to be silent (with the exception of Oliver who gives a loud, grating meow when he wants something.) Since a couple of my cats are feral, they are quiet, often silent. Also, one cat lived on his own, outside, for quite a while, and he rarely makes a sound. It seems that cats that have little contact with humans (like ferals) tend not to meow..

Teresa Kander said...

My cat, Gandalf, is definitely a narcissist, but at least he's a lovable one! :D

mary kennedy said...

Gandalf! What a terrific name, I love it. And I hear ya about the "lovable,"
Teresa. Even when we know they're playing us, we can't resist.

Alison Marable said...

I don't think we would want cats any other way! But I think the folks on the "dog only" train would agree with everything posted above :)

Diane LaBrie Leverson said...

My Bessie sits and stares at me for at least 10 minutes at a time.. It's when I'm watching tv. Drives me crazy. I think that is what she is trying to do. I stare back and I win most times. LOL

mary kennedy said...

Alison, you're right!! I think it's in their nature to be narcissistic! My vet said that if I dropped dead, my cat would step over me and keep right on going. (whereas a dog would mourn and throw himself protectively over my dead body.) Hmmmm.

mary kennedy said...

Diane, that is hysterical!!! I can just see the two of you, wondering who will blink first. Thanks for stopping by. By the way, if a cat gives you a long, slow blink, that is supposed to be a sign of affection, but you probably already know that.

Zena Weldon said...

When I moved to my apartment home, I invited all who helped me move to an afternoon tea and wine party. Marmalade sat herself in a chair by the entrance and expected all guests to greet her first. If they didn't, she howled as loud as she could. I said, "This is Marm's place and she lets me live here.

With a smile for all the narcissistic cats we love!

mary kennedy said...

Hi Zena..Marmalade is a wonderful name for a cat. This sounds terrific, thanks so much for stopping by.

Sherry Smith said...

My cats have since passed. But I had to laugh, as they were narcissistic. However,
I must admit, I was a huge enabler! Lol if given the chance, I would do it all over again.

mary kennedy said...

Enabler! Yes, I forgot to mention that. Good point, Sherry. We are all enables when it comes to our kitties. They demand attention, demand the very best...and we give it to them. We just can't help ourselves. Maybe we need a 12 step program. "Hi, I'm Mary and I enable my cat to be a narcissist." And everyone would say, "Hi Mary..." etc. :-)

Margaret said...

I have had 5 cats in my life and all Siamese. My first Tieling, then Blossm and Six (she was a Balinese) and now Dharma and Thora (both Balinese) and YES this describes all my girls to a "T." The funny thing is althought each of them had all of these characteristics; they each mastered one. Six was so bad we started to call her Zsa Zsa.
But you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.
Every time I see a cat that doesn't have the love of a family I think about my girls and all the love and care they have and I feel sad for them.
So, are my cats spoiled narcissist? Yes but that is fine with me, because everytime they curl up next to me and give me that "soft eye" look with that deep purr, it is all worth it.

mary kennedy said...

Hi Margaret, I totally agree. Did you that only one out of ten cats spends his whole life with one owner. It's so sad. People think of cats (and all pets) as disposable. I think we are both wise to let them be narcissists! Siamese cats are wonderful, very vocal!! Thanks for stopping by.

Lynda Turpin said...

Great blog Mary. I think "cat" and "narcissist" are probably interchangeable words - at least in my experience. But I think most cat owners (or more accurately, people who are owned by cats) not only accept these behaviors, but expect and enjoy them. Although, I have to admit that I get pretty tired of buying a case of canned food because all the cats are eating it, and immediately all the cats refuse to eat it - it's like they get together and agree "today, we will stop eating that type of food") I donate a lot of cat food.

Margie Peacock said...

I share my home with 8 Feline Americans and none of them are narcissists. The dog and my husband (especially the husband! ) are. The cats are very loving and giving, not demanding, and happy with what they get for food. All of them were starving rescues, so I guess they know they are lucky to be here and are never hungry, too hot,cold, or wet.

Joan O'Callaghan said...

Sylvester is definitely a narcissist. He has to be fed early in the morning regardless of what kind of a night I've had and he KNOWS what kind of night I've had because - of course - he sleeps in the bedroom with me! Sigh!! What we do without our demanding little furry companions? I still love him to bits!

mary kennedy said...

Hi Joan I love to hear about Sylvester! He sounds like he has a wonderful personality. Thanks for stopping by

mary kennedy said...

Hi Margie, that is so cool that you have both a dog and cats. It sounds like you are a "cat-rescuer," too. I am so glad that you took them in! It always amazes me that people can ignore a stray cat. All my rescues are cats who've been dumped in the neighborhood. Most of them were in terrible shape, frightened, starving and cold. Thanks so much for stopping by.

mary kennedy said...

Hi Lynda, I hear ya about the cat food! We go through a ton of it and most of the cats are on pricey ($60 a bag) vet food. Naturally, they are on different "kinds" of vet food for various feline problems so I can't switch the food around. I'm stuck with a LOT of food, but you're right, the shelters can always use it. Thanks for stopping by!

TM said...

Oh, I've got a narcissist, my Smudgeon. She is such a princess. No, actually a queen. She expects everyone to bow down to her. She didn't get it from her mother, because Mama Cat is a lovable cat who accepts how things are quietly and just stares sadly at you if you forget her treats. Smudgeon, though, will let you know in uncertain terms if something is missing to make her comfortable.

ROCCO LOTEMPIO said...

How about a cat who knocks everything off your dresser in the morning because you havent' gotten up fast enough to feed him???? can you say ROCCO