SARASOTA, FL – In a sign that her strained relationship has reached a breaking point, local woman Judith Freihofer finally decided to bring her cat to couples therapy.
Freihofer, a marketing manager for a local furniture store, said she felt her relationship with her cat, Mr. Whiskers, was deteriorating. “I just feel like we’re growing apart, that our relationship is frayed—like Mr. Whisker’s ball of string,” Freihofer said. “He bats that ball around more and more, he hardly notices me.”
Freihofer and Mr. Whiskers have been together for six years. The relationship started when the cat was adopted from a rescue shelter. “In the beginning it was great,” Freihofer said. “We were getting to know each other, cuddling a lot. I would brush Mr. Whiskers every night and he’d love it.”
But later, Freihofer reported, Mr. Whiskers starting acting cold and distant. “The only time I would see him was when it was time for dinner. The second he heard that can open he sprang into the room. And the second he was done he sauntered off,” Freihofer said, stifling a cry. She also remarked that often times when she would try to spice things up by trying a different flavor of cat food Mr. Whiskers would simply hiss and refuse to eat. “All I gave him was Fancy Feast,” she said. “But he didn’t even appreciate that.”
According to Freihofer, she has been unable to understand why Mr. Whiskers acts the way he does. “He sleeps all the time, will attack and scratch me for no reason. Then maybe he’ll snuggle up to me to get warm or bring me a dead mouse as a trophy. His behavior is completely erratic!”
Dr. Linda Helman, the couple’s psychologist, is determined to bring these two back together. “It’s no secret that every relationship has its ups and downs,” Dr. Helman said. “The flame of passion may burn brightest at the outset, but we can work to rekindle that flame. In this situation I think a new toy might help, like one of those feathers attached to a string. Cats seem to love those.”
Still, not every relationship is salvageable. “I see many patients and, unfortunately, sometimes it doesn’t work out,” Dr. Helman continued. “With certain cases one partner may need more extensive therapy, which may be the case here. Mr. Whiskers shows signs of bipolar disorder or, worse, schizophrenia. The best course of action might be for Judith to just get a puppy. It’s a big debate in our field.”
When asked for how he feels about the relationship, Mr. Whiskers meowed, licked himself, then coughed up a hairball.