My Biggest Waste of Money Is Everything I’ve Ever Bought For My Cat

Cats love garbage!

That scratching post cost at least $30.

Six years ago, I opened an email from a friend and decided to adopt a cat. The email’s subject was “Stacy” and inside were pictures of a fluffy black and white cat who seemed like a nice time. Some phone calls later and one bumpy ride home on the B48 bus and Stacy became Daisy. Six years later, she’s fine, still here and alive and kicking. I have spent so much money on things intended to make her happy that have sat in the dark reaches of my apartment gathering dust.

Cats are easy; they want to eat food, lay down and knock glasses of water off the coffee table, before wandering back to their spot and sleeping some more. Repeat viewings of My Cat From Hell led me to believe that indoor cats require play therapy so that they don’t grow bored and weary of their surroundings. In an attempt to care for one living thing other than myself, I’ve spent a fair amount of money on things that I, as a person, feel would make a cat’s life better.

I’ve bought scratching posts($20 or more), tiny mice filled with catnip($6-???), plastic balls that rattle loudly and rudely across the wooden floor($6). All of these attempts at entertainment have been flops. For a brief while, a laser pointer held her interest; after a few days I figured out that the sun reflecting off the screen of my phone and bouncing on the walls of my room was more appealing. Garbage of any sort, from a paper bag to a shoebox to crumpled bits of plastic packaging left on the floor have all proven to be much more interesting and wildly more entertaining. I’m not entirely sure Daisy’s the smartest cat; after watching her chase what I correctly assumed to be nothing around the floor of my bedroom, my suspicions were correct. She’s dumb as a box of rocks, but much, much handsomer. That, I suppose, makes up for it.

Not everything I’ve purchased has been a waste. The collar she wears is a safeguard against my own irrational fear of stepping on her in the middle of the night on my way to the bathroom and honestly, she looks great. The cat beds were only half a waste; she used one until the stuffing blew out and the other languished until I finally threw it away.

The impulse to buy the cat things it certainly doesn’t need is just a way of showing affection. I’ve bought you a toy because you’re fun and cute and enjoyable is what I mean when I dangle a stuffed mouse made of fleece in front of her face and or throw a catnip toy across my apartment in the vain hopes that she’ll run after it. But, she’s a cat. She’ll do what she wants, when she wants to do it.

The other day, I found a length of ribbon in my desk drawer, tied it to a takeout chopstick and like a sad rhythmic gymnast, entertained the cat for hours. It was fine — fun even! — and most of all, it was free.

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