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C. Stroup – CAT-TASTROPHE

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There are few things in this life more worthless than a stuck up cat.  Don’t misunderstand…we’ve had some wonderful kitties over the years but our current felines are infamous for being fickle.  I mean, where do they get off?  They lead the life of Riley and yet show pitiful few signs of appreciation.  But like I said, they haven’t all been like that.

My very most favorite cat of all times was Blacky.  This was short for Black Beauty lest you think how unimaginative we are at naming our pets.  She was, of course, jet black, and smart as a whip.  Being an inside/outside critter she would stay out at night until I called for her to come in.  If she didn’t show up after my encouraging shouting, I’d flash the outdoor flood lights to beckon her.  If neither of these attempts worked I could always count on her (shortly after I’d gone to bed) to sit outside our bedroom window and meow until I let her in.  Just so there’s no confusion, I did not let her in through the window, but rather through the back door.  She knew where both were located and by the time I walked from the bedroom to the kitchen she was waiting for the door to swing open.  And then she would follow me back to bed, curl up around my neck and purr to beat the band.  For some folks this would be a bit aggravating but I found it comforting.  Besides if she could put up with my snoring what was a little purring?  Blacky was definitely MY CAT.

My husband added a second cat to our abode, one that had grown up on a catfish farm he owned.  After getting rid of the farm there was no place for the cat to roam.  So he ended up at our home.  He was mostly gray, scruffy and had a slight musty aroma about him.  His name was Tom and that is very unimaginative.  Ken was crazy about this critter but the feeling was not mutual.  I’d insisted that Tom would never be allowed indoors and that threat lasted about two weeks, maybe a little more.  My son and the cat bonded immediately and Ken was the one left out in the cold.  Every morning, Old Tom would sit patiently on Brad’s bed waiting for him to get out of the shower.  They’d spoon and coo at each other to the point of cloying.  I learned years later that when I wasn’t around, my son would give the cat milk.  Small wonder they were such pals.  Tom was definitely BRAD’S CAT.

But finally, Sunny, the orange tabby, came into our lives and at last Ken was adored by a cat!  He actually referred to him as “Bunnyboy” which was a derivative of “Sunny Bunny,” then “Bun Bun” and finally just “Bunny.”  They became best bunnies, er, I mean buddies.  Sunny would sit on Ken’s lap on his back and allow any form of attention his dad was willing to give.  The silliest thing was to watch them play “Patty Cake.”  Ken would sing the little ditty and manipulate the cat’s paws to do the “roll it up, roll it up and put it in the pan” part.  Sunny would gladly oblige the gentle abuse.  Bunny was, without a doubt, KEN’S KITTY.

Now those were the cool fur balls we were blessed with.  Then came a parade of pretty obnoxious and capricious cats.  One that adopted us was a long haired mixed breed of some sort but had very bad breath.  We took her to the vet for a once over and he found a multitude of things wrong with her.  To address all her medical issues would have cost hundreds of dollars.  So we returned her to the adopt-a-human store.  We brought home a replacement that spent 24-7 under our bed.  Most of the time, she would not come out, not even for food.  Growing weary of spending all our time on all fours trying to coax her from her lair, we returned her as well.  Don’t ask me what we did to get her out for her return trip…I don’t remember.  I do recall visiting several locations where you could get a cat for “free” and we chewed on that idea for several months.  BTW, we were banned from the original adoption center for one year since we kept bringing the animals back.  Can’t say as how I blame them but it was a little embarrassing to be black listed.  That made it sound as though it was our fault when in reality it was the damn cats.’

There was another cat or two who also didn’t share our view.  We used a new facility this time hoping to have better luck and hoping our reputation didn’t precede us.  One of our acquisitions turned out to be a biter.  You could not pet her unless you were willing to pay the consequences of your actions.  I mean, she would really break the skin and spent the rest of her day, well, who knows where she’d been?  Yep, returned that one, too.  And there were a couple others.  One clawed people and furniture, and fought with “the biter” incessantly.  There was always screaming going on while the fur flew.

So after months of deliberation and searching, we thought we’d found just the right two kitties.  We spent quite a while with them before signing any papers and they seemed like a marriage made in heaven…had no objection to being held, in fact they appeared to enjoy it. They played well together, were already spayed and neutered, had great markings, and endearing personalities.  They were just what we wanted.  Then we brought them home.  After a period of adjustment to their new surroundings, they began to show their true colors.  Petting was aloud infrequently and only on their schedule; picking them up was just an insane dream on our part and they had to be declawed lest we wanted to buy all new furniture and skin.  But we persevered because we’d realized we’d never find cats like our old friends from the past.  They just don’t make them like that anymore.

The lady across the street has been owned by many cats and she’s a real doll about taking care of ours when we go out of town.  But even she described our little female as being “quite aloof.”  That was just a nice way of saying the cat’s a brat.  We’re all more appreciative and patient with the fat male cat.  Any hint of food coming his way and he’s learned to allow petting all day.

You’re probably wondering why we even have cats if they’re so anti-social and uncooperative.  Believe me when I tell you…we’re wondering the same thing! 

Originally published in the April 2014 issue of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

 

 

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