A Cat On Your Lap

Resistance is foolish

Deborah Barchi
3 min readOct 8, 2021


Photo by Eric Han on Unsplash

A cat on your lap.
An immoveable object,
foolish to resist.

I was browsing through a catalog this morning and came across a tee shirt with the words “ She believed she could. But her cat was asleep on her lap, so she didn’t.”

Brilliant! And, oh, so true.

There is something about a sleeping cat who has taken possession of your lap that seems to drain you of all independent movement.

At least that’s how it works with me (and also, I assume, with the person who wrote the clever saying for the tee shirt!)

There is something so peaceful, so rhythmic, so mesmerizing about a sleeping cat. The fact that your lap is the chosen place of repose can only be considered an honor, given the unflinching honesty of cats.

Cats make their preferences known for people, places, and things. Desperate cajoling, or impatient bossiness might make a cat act (momentarily)in a way she does not wish,

but it will never, ever force her to love or respect you.

Still, sitting on a couch or chair, pinioned under a sleeping cat, is not the best way to make progress on a to-do list. At some point, the cat must be convinced to move off your lap and find some other place to sleep.

Shifting around restlessly, pleading with increased vigor, and finally just getting up out of the seat with heartfelt apologies to the deposed cat might work. Yet each method seems to carry its own risk of inciting an outraged glare from your offended cat.

I wish I could be as clever an inventor as my father. My father was a genius at mechanical invention and in fact held several patents. If he were alive, I bet he could invent some device that would shake a bag of cat treats in the kitchen, at pre-specified times.

I have never had a cat who could resist the sound of treats being rustled in a bag.

No matter how cozily they might be sleeping, whether on a lap, a bed, or tucked tightly into a discarded cardboard box, my cats would streak into the kitchen, expecting their treats.

But how to accomplish this enticement remotely? Until I can somehow figure it out, I guess I will have to resort to more clumsy methods, and live with the guilt of disturbing my peaceful, sleeping cat.

If you have discovered a better method, please let me know. My cats and I will certainly thank you!

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this essay, you might also enjoy this piece in which I foolishly try to teach my house cats about the joys of bird watching (as opposed to bird catching and bird eating.)



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Deborah Barchi

Deborah Barchi has recently retired from her career as a librarian and now has time to read, explore nature, and write poetry and essays.