There is a long and bitter war that has been raging on the internet for a number of years now: #teamdog versus #teamcat. I like to think of myself as an impartial party in the matter; I love dogs for some reasons and I love cats for others. Why can’t we love both? But when I do any amount of soul-searching beyond the surface, I always arrive at the fact that, yes, I do have a preference. I will always be a cat person, just like I have been since I was old enough to gleefully shout “kitty!” The thing that solidifies for me, more than any other little quirk or quibble, that I love cats above all other furry friends is the fact that I have always had at least one in my home, despite the fact that cats are complete assholes.

Show me a person that has unconditionally loved a cat without ever wanting to punt them through a window and I will show you a dirty, bald-faced liar. Cats are fuzzy, friendly, funny little buggers who come in as many varieties as dry cat food (of which there are so many that I often find myself going cross-eyed as I comb through them all in the store, fretfully asking myself “How much corn gluten is too much?!”). On the other hand, cats are also terrible little demons who seem to be put on this Earth to do nothing more than destroy your stuff, sap your will to live, and look at you scornfully while they lick their nethers.

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I currently share space with two of these four-footed hell-monsters, and every day is like a gauntlet of suffering, except that there is no prize or trophy at the end (unless you count the thousands and thousands of fine hair stuck to everything). Oh, also, the gauntlet has no end. Have you ever been taking a poop and you get too hot? Yeah, you have. Have you ever been doing that, then taken your shirt off to get some relief and then a cat decides that the place it needs to be RIGHT NOW is on your bare fucking shoulders with its horrible vulture talons? You would know if you had, because the blood would be a tip-off. Then they meow loudly right in your ear—translation: “By the way, human, I just used the litter box. Mwahahaha!”

The second favorite pastime of felinus demonicus is to eat something it knows it can’t digest and then puke it up somewhere that you are guaranteed to step in it. Oh, did you get up at 4am to get a glass of water? Hope your socks are thick enough to not feel cold, slimy, cat blarf through (hint: they aren’t). Bonus points if the thing they ate was some kind of bug and there are legs or something visible in the hork. That’d be like me chewing up an eraser or some shit and then barfing it out all over their cat tower. “How does that feel, Whiskers? You shouldn’t have taken it for granted. I paid for it (and assembled it), I should be able to vomit all over it. Why don’t you spend 20 minutes scrubbing it by hand, like I had to do to the carpet this afternoon? Fuck you.”

Even when they aren’t being intentionally malevolent, which is rarely, their oblivious callousness knows no bounds. It is pretty much a nightly occurrence that after I have finally started to drift off to sleep, I will feel the crushing, agonizing weight of 13 pounds connected to giant anvil-paws, directly on my boobs. This is a king-sized bed, cat! You could walk LITERALLY ANYWHERE that isn’t ON ME, and yet you don’t. Honey cat don’t give a fuck, I guess. I don’t even bother trying to fall back asleep until after she does, because after the anvil paws, I get her lawnmower-death-rattle purring in my ears coupled with claws digging directly in my armpits, like she’s trying to spelunk for treasure. Fall asleep, dammit, or I’m slipping you a Benadryl, you little brat. I long ago gave up on trying to shut the door at night to keep the cats from terrorizing me; they just muscle the damn door open with their hulking shoulders like a fucking linebacker would. “Nice try, dish-filler. We’re not amused.”

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In fact, at this point, there is not a single place in my apartment that the cats can’t enter. The whole of the land is their fiefdom, and they as rulers shall not be denied any of its spoils. The counters are their perching grounds. The toilet is indeed a throne from which to survey their subjects. The laundry hamper is just a canopy bed waiting to be knocked the fuck over and slept inside like an abandoned gas station. The one place I thought might be formidable enough to confine them, the laundry room, turned out to be like a dime-store puzzle game that they finally solved when they got bored enough. We had taken to locking them up in there whenever we needed to isolate them (e.g., plumber coming in, ceiling tile to be fixed, we got sick of their stupid faces), and it seemed to work—at first. Then one day my boyfriend asked me if I had been in the laundry room and I said, “No. why?” Well, the door was open, which was weird because we always keep it shut. A few days later, he was sleeping and he kept hearing this weird noise— like a persistent sort of scraping and thumping. He opens his eyes and glances over at the laundry room door, which is next to our bed, and there’s one of the cats, STICKING HER GIANT MAN-HAND UNDER THE DOOR and then repeatedly pulling on it until she WRENCHES IT THE FUCK OPEN. And what was in the laundry room that she needed to get to so badly? Nothing. There is nothing in there but shoes, laundry stuff and hanging clothes. She apparently just wanted to go in and look around, then leave. Bastard-ass cat.

The fact that I still dote on these tiny jerks on a daily basis, in spite of what awful mini-wolverines they are, is evidence to me of some kind of Stockholm Syndrome. There’s really no other explanation for how I can love them so fiercely in the face of the Faustian atrocities they always subject me to. I’m sure if my cats could talk, the first thing they would say is, “Seriously? You’re still putting up with this? Have some self-respect, biped.” Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go scoop up little piles of their doo-doo, like an obedient serf.

Header image via Funnyjunk.com.