Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ok, about this cat thing...




I have gotten some "feedback" about the comment about my sister's cat in my shawl post. Let me clarify something. They started it. I wasn't born disliking cats. We actually had a cat when I was young who earned my respect and admiration. Puss was a champion hunter, a no-nonsense "doing my job so leave me be" kind of creature. My only complaint about him was his tendency to leave his trophies just outside the front door where a moment's inattention meant a squishy step on a dead rabbit, mole or mouse. One summer my sister and her little friend Debbie thought it would be fun to dress him in doll clothes and carry him around like a baby. He tolerated it for a day or two but clearly was not amused. He finally made his feelings known by planting his front claws in Debbie's face, barely missing her eye. For this little episode of "kitty road rage" he earned himself a trip to the local animal shelter. Grossly unfair? Yes...but the trip probably saved my parents a messy lawsuit and cancellation of their homeowner's policy.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures


My relationship with cats went downhill from there. Our next cat, Romper, declared me the enemy from the get-go. My shoes mysteriously filled with catshit. She chose me to yowl at in the wee hours. My stack of freshly washed clothes was her bed of choice. We got off to a bad start and things only got worse. Ok, I wasn't totally innocent, I'll admit. One evening when she wouldn't leave me alone as I was trying to study in my room I dropped her down the laundry chute...but I knew there was a stack of clothes at the bottom to cushion her fall. My departure for college and subsequent apartments finally gave us the "time-out" that we both needed from each other.

Living on my own I switched to dogs, a mutt named Ralph and a Golden Retriever named Molly. I fell hopelessly in love with the canine species, enjoying the way they gave so much to our relationships, always wanting to please.

Then when Meredith was about three she asked for a kitty. We were "between pets" at the time so we cautiously agreed to give it a try for her sake. Brendan felt the same way I did about cats but she was so insistent. Enter Wilbur, a small Maine Coon kitten, cute as a button but with a huge attitude problem. No warm-and-fuzzy cuddle sessions for him. He entered the house in the attack mode and set his sights on making our lives miserable. I was his special target. It was as if Romper had come back to finish the job of tormenting me begun so many years earlier. Ambushes from under beds and tables were part of the morning routine. I resorted to putting panty hose on in the car each morning to ensure I had a pair without rips. His favorite technique was to wake me up about 3AM by climbing on the bed and trying to separate my big toe from the rest of my foot like a piece of the toughest beef jerky...and through three layers of blankets! I wasn't about to turn the other cheek. He loved to jump on the side of the bathtub as I was drawing Meredith's bath to watch the water come out of the faucet with intense fascination. With a little pop as I walked by he suddenly found himself in the tub, staring up at me with an evil glare. I knew I would pay for that moment of temptation and I always did. The war between us kept escalating at a dizzying rate.



He went to work shredding our furniture, earning him a trip to the vet's to be declawed. We had him neutered on the vet's advice, both to prevent him from passing on his orneriness but also to "calm him down." HAH! That only seemed to make him madder! His nastiness earned him the nickname "Wilbur, the demon cat from hell." But we held on in deference to Meredith's wishes. Then came the night she told me to shut her door at bedtime because she was afraid of Wilbur. That was all I needed. The next morning the ad went into the paper and by the end of the week he had a new home. We all breathed a sigh of relief... and went out to get a puppy. Lady, that puppy, was with us for 16 years, a treasured, loving member of our family.

Some people are cat people. We are dog people. A lucky few are both. Just as the world needs right-brained and left-brained people, visionaries and realists, Red Sox fans and Yankee fans, it also probably needs cat people and dog people. We know where we stand on the issue. I respect that some people have loving relationships with their cats. I probably never would. Cats always seem to me to be very two-faced...all over you when they want something but otherwise acting as if they can't be bothered with such inferior creatures as we humans. Even my sister who has always worshipped cats admits that her current cat is an ungrateful, nasty creature who only shows any interest in her at mealtime. She volunteers at a cat rescue shelter to get her feline affection. I once suggested that she make her own aloof and nasty cat part of the adoption process she works on, a suggestion she chose to ignore. I guess that's what makes her a cat person...and me NOT a cat person. I'll take my goofy, affectionate, tongue-lolling dog, thank you very much. She loves me no matter what, with food in sight or not, totally unconditionally!