Dog people have always wondered what cat people see in cats. To be honest, I’m not sure cat people can answer that question with any confidence. Dogs gaze lovingly, pine over their owners, and tirelessly fetch objects that humans have thrown. Cats stare insolently, walk all over their owners, and tirelessly shatter objects that humans have treasured. Who can comprehend the mysterious ways of felines?

Why does she steal your bread, gnaw through the packaging, and consume only the barest corner of the loaf? Is it just to infuriate you? Why does she have to be in the bathroom when you’re in the bathroom? Let her in. Immediately! Or she will tear something to pieces! Twelve seconds inside is enough for her to remember why she hates it there.

Do you know why she sits there staring into an obviously vacant corner of the ceiling, feigning the presence of a ghost while she secretly smirks? It’s the same reason she scorns the people you like and loves people who don’t like her. It’s why she’s so delighted to meet people who are allergic to cats. It’s why she’ll never do that one hilarious thing in the presence of a witness, thereby casting you as a liar in front of your friends (if she even shows up). It’s why she’ll leap gracefully onto the table right next to you and your hamburger while delivering a flawless portrayal of someone who hasn’t been shoved off the table and scolded 9,000 times. Do you think she doesn’t remember? Of course she remembers. She’s just put an ordinary hamburger up against your stern disapproval in the coliseum of her mind, and the hamburger strode out seconds later with a trophy in its hand. Same outcome every time—9,000 times. No contest.

Did you ever wonder what compels her to do laps on your crossword, scatter your annual reports, and open new spreadsheets on your laptop in your absence? We won’t even address her shameless behavior during virtual meetings. Did you ever question why she races down the stairs directly between your feet and lurks a half-inch behind you when you’re washing the dishes, if not in an effort to kill you? You’d think she had no concept of personal space when she’s licking your ears and sticking her hand in your mouth at 4am. Don’t try to lay a finger on her back, though. Off limits! Forehead only!

They’re dunces or masterminds as it suits their needs, often talking back, maddeningly indecisive about inconsequential choices. They eat your food and leave the remains out on the counter, eternally insistent that no one ever told them not to. They hold you to standards that they would never apply to themselves and revel in making a fool of you. They’re just… jerks. They’re either trying to sabotage your career or your sanity, or both. They’re the perpetual teenagers of the animal world, destined never to grow out of breaking your things, feigning boredom, and laughing behind your back. Enjoy it—you’ve got eighteen years to go.

Dr. M.S. Regan