This week, at work, I was cornered by a cat. I am by no means scared of animals, but for some reason this cat scared the crap out of me. Maybe it was because he looked a little mangy, a little dirty - he was black, and had long fur, but his fur was all matted and kind of sticking out everywhere. Maybe it was because he would sneak up behind me when I was least expecting it. Maybe it was because if I looked at him he would growl incessantly like I just shaved him and now everyone could see he had no balls.
Anyway, when I arrived at the house, he seemed altogether normal. It's normal for cats to be a little worried when a stranger comes into their house, and they will sometimes hiss and run away. I'm cool with that - I don't try to press the whole friendship thing by any means, but if you want to eat, just go hide out until I'm gone. This apartment was set up with the living room, dining room, and kitchen on the left, in that order as you enter, all opening into each other, then a hallway running from the entrance to the dining room, and on the right the master bedroom, bathroom (which has a door to the hall and to the master bedroom) and a second bedroom. So, the only way to enter the kitchen in through the dining room, but you can get into the dining room through the living room or the hall.
So, now that you get the general picture, the cat likes to hide in the living room under the TV stand - this would be easy to avoid him, just bypass through the hallway. But when I came in the house, he would stand in the entryway to the living room, which I have to walk past to get to the kitchen to feed him. The first day I was there, he didn't like that idea at all. He started growling as I approached the door, slinking along the opposite wall of the hall. I avoided his eyes and tried to coo a bit. His growling got louder, then he hissed a few times. Then, out of nowhere, as I tried to scoot past him, he growled and meowed really loud - like alley-cat loud - and lunged at me, lashing out with his claws. I jumped into the bathroom, and he kept on the offensive in the hallway, growling and staring me down. I tried to leave the bathroom and he lashed out again, so I slammed the bathroom door in his face. I could hear him growling outside the door, so I went out through the master bedroom and decided to take care of his litter, which is in the basement and the stairs are off the entryway. When I came back up, he was back under the TV stand and the rest of the visit was normal.
By the end of the week, he was in love with me. And by "in love with me" I mean tolerated me. And by "tolerated me" I mean didn't back me into a corner every day. I think trick was learning to never ever be in the same room as him without a packet of catnip in my hand.