With all the problems and protests, confrontations and crises, worries and wranglings that characterize our world today, there still remains one issue of paramount importance, one issue with which each of us should, at long last, deal.
Despite being too often overlooked, this is a vital, even life-changing issue. The time has come, I contend, to ask ourselves one question:
What IS it about cats?
Let’s face it: dogs we understand. Dogs admire us. Why, dogs actually adore us. Dogs and humans have bonded from the very dawn of time.
Yet research indicates that cats are actually the number one pet choice in the world.
My own experience with our feline friends has been a bit, shall we say, spotty.
We never had cats as pets growing up: on a farm, at least as far as my father was concerned, all cats belonged in the barn.
My experience with cats only began as an adult, with my roommate’s adoption of brother and sister white Persians, Ting and Tang.
When she moved in, so did they.
Now my room mate was often away on weekends, which left those cats and me alone in the apartment in a state of what I refer to as “armed neutrality.”
The instant she was out the door, the three of us would slowly and deliberately turn and face each other. The stares we exchanged were calculating. It was “game on.”
Alright, some of the resulting behaviour was petty.
Taking the end of a toilet paper roll and running paper from the second floor bathroom to the basement was rather childish on Ting’s part.
And really accidentally closing Tang into the sliding panel in the coffee table for just an hour or so may have been a little ill considered on my part.
However, the paw prints in a freshly baked and iced cake on the kitchen counter were just plain mean. I was going to eat that cake!
Still, I swear that the dryer incident was completely not my fault.
The clothes dryer in the basement wasn’t working – you’d set it on any cycle, the drum would turn, but there was no heat.
I asked Ronnie to come and have a look at the dryer to determine what repairs had to be done. We went down into the darkened basement, and I closed the half open door of the dryer and set the controls to “fluff”.
Then I turned it on.
“What have you got in there, running shoes?” Ronnie said in surprise as the dryer immediately began making loud thumping noises. Confused myself, I hit the stop button and opened the door.
For a minute, I thought the nightmare Giant Rat of Sumatra was actually real and living in my clothes dryer.
With a strangled roar, a black streak (fur well fluffed I might add!) leaped snarling from the dryer.
Ronnie and I screamed and flung ourselves backwards, colliding with a cellar wall.
Ting, clearly none the worse for wear, regarded us both with utter disdain, arched his tail, and marched upstairs.
However, he did give up taking siestas in the dryer.
I think my past unfortunate history with felines may have gone before me.
I recently spent a month as a guest at my sister’s home in Corunna. She and my brother-in-law could not have been more welcoming or affectionate.
However, they are owned by this obnoxious (did I say that out loud?) orange cat, who hates everyone but the two of them, and goes by the totally inappropriate name of Puddin.’
On Day One, Puddin’ greeted me with every hair on end, a hiss and a swipe of her paws.
This might be why my sister posted this notice in my room. “There will be no poking, slapping or nasty leers at the cat.”
I maintain that walking downstairs every morning and announcing in a loud voice, “Kitty is a poop!” did not violate the terms laid out.
Locking Puddin’ out of my bedroom at all times also did not violate said terms.
Nor do I feel that throwing a hissy fit when I discovered that Puddin’ had managed to work the bedroom door open, subsequently spending a profitable afternoon rolling around on my white comforter, molting, bridged the terms.
“See, Puddin’ likes you!” my sister exclaimed with delight the evening the Orange Menace jumped on to the couch behind me, promptly leaped on my head, and wrapped herself around it like Daniel Boone’s cap.
I might have gone along with the whole thing if Puddin’ hadn’t been surreptitiously biting my scalp, all the while purring away at my sister.
So Puddin’ you may be ahead in points right now. But just wait.
“I’ll get you, my pretty!”
(Did I just say that out loud?)