How Does That Make You Feel?

I’ve been hearing an ad on the radio about therapy for cats who don’t get along. They don’t go into a lot of detail, so I’m not really sure what it’s all about. I’ve never been through any type of couple’s counseling, but I have quite a bit of experience with the individual type.

Maybe cat therapy would sound a little like this:

Therapist: So ladies, why don’t you tell me a little about yourselves?

Princess: Well, I was living happily with my humans until one day that (points at Cleo) shows up at the doorstep. She’s all mangy and smelly. She starts crying pathetically. So do the humans close the door to keep out the smell? No. They start feeding her! Next thing I know, she’s got a bed next to mine and I’m supposed to share my toys with her.

Cleo: I lived in a house with a lot of other cats. One day someone came with cages for all of us. I ran away. But it’s really hard living on the street. I kept trying to find a new human. Finally I met my new family. They’re wonderful! They fed me, they took me to the doctor and the groomer, and they let me stay in their house. It would be perfect if it weren’t for Her Highness over there.

(They look at each other and growl.)

Therapist: So what I’m hearing, Princess, is that you were an only cat and now you have a housemate. How does that make you feel?

Princess: What do you think? (Aside to Cleo – How much did Mom pay for this guy?)

Therapist: You don’t sound happy.

Cleo: That’s just how she talks. She always sounds kind of grouchy.

Therapist: What about you, Cleo? Are you afraid of Princess?

Cleo: I’m the one from the streets, remember? Why would I be afraid of her? (To Princess – He really doesn’t know much about cats, does he?)

Therapist: I’m sensing a little hostility from both of you.

Princess: We’re cats. We’re in a strange place. And you smell weird.

Cleo: And you talk weird.

Therapist: We’re here to talk about you, not me. Let’s focus.

Princess: OK, I don’t like having another cat around the house. It’s hard sharing the humans.

Cleo: It’s hard being in a new house.

Therapist: Good! We’re making progress!

(Both cats look at him and hiss.)

Princess (in cat): Why do humans always think they are the center of everything?

Cleo (in cat): I know. Even Mom and Dad do that sometimes.

Therapist: Now ladies, you were just started to explore your relationship and now you’re hissing and crying at each other.

(The cats look at each other helplessly.)

Princess: You don’t smell as weird as you used to. Maybe if I helped you groom, you’d be OK.

Cleo: I’d like that a lot. Sometimes I miss the other cats.

Princess: That way we could sleep together if it gets cold.

(Cleo starts to purr.)

Therapist: You’re making a lot of progress. I think we need to run through some practice scenarios. (Looks down) Oops, guess that will have to wait for the next session. Time’s up.

(Opens the door.)

Therapist: They did very well for a first session. I think in a few months they could be best friends.

(The cats look at each other. They start coughing. After a minute, each hacks a hairball onto the shoe closest to her.)

Therapist: Or maybe we’re done here.


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