I can’t stand my cats… please don’t tell anyone.
I have three. They are big, long-haired, bushy-tailed creatures, and much too healthy.
Cat One is a cross of a Mackerel tabby and a domestic long-haired. She has wickedly long and thick fur. She fears all things that move, especially children, and is generally unfriendly, unless she wants to be rubbed, in which case she harangues you for caresses. She looks dumb but isn’t; she has refrained from scratching my young daughter. On some intrinsic level, she must understand that she is one-scratch-on-my-kid away from being homeless again. About her fur, I do mean wicked; it is long, tangled and dirty, and it covers my floors in shed and fur balls. Cat One never learned how to keep herself clean. She was probably taken too young from the litter, where she might have learned some basic self-care skills. I adopted her from a veterinary clinic. They warned me that she was unfriendly… but, she was so pretty and, more importantly, I had always wanted a long-haired cat. (What was I thinking!)
Cat Two is a bona fide silver classic Maine Coon. He’s gorgeous. He was a gift from my beloved mother, who accompanied me to a cattery in Maine to get him. He is mild-tempered and very sweet. He’s a good self-groomer, too. Come to think of it, he might be a little obsessive about his self-care… His fur is long, silky and clean, and it covers my floors in shed and fur balls. Back in the day, when Cat Two was young and likely coveted by cat lovers, or thieves seeking to turn a profit by selling to cat lovers, I foolishly kept him indoors, in order to protect him from both. (What was I thinking!)
Cat Three is another domestic long-haired. He eats fast and without chewing, so he pukes after each meal. He spots my floors with chunks of regurgitated food every day. That makes him a food-waster on top of a puker. As for his appearance, he is white with gray ears, a grey bushy tail, and a large gray heart mark on his side. He is another really good-looking cat. He wasn’t adopted for his looks, though; he was adopted because he has hutzpah and inordinate agility. We (I was married with step kids by this time) thought he would be a great addition to our family. (What was I thinking!)
Pre-Papaya years, I groomed them all the time and oohed and aahed over their antics. “Awww what an itty bitty cutesy, you are!” I would say, and really mean it. I showed off their photos and took pride in their appearance. It didn’t feel burdensome to change their litter box every morning and night. I barely noticed their long hairs all over my floors, furniture, and even my clothes. As for hair balls and regurgitated food, according to my memory, they didn’t puke back then. At my baby shower someone warned me that I wouldn’t love my cats after the baby was born. Preposterous!
Well, Papaya arrived, and my relationship with my cats changed dramatically from the minute I brought her home. The cats were freaked out by her presence. They avoided her for days before cautiously approaching her, when she was on the floor in her car seat. They sniffed her, as their tails beat back and forth on the floor. I worried that they might hurt her. This fear was allayed by the passage of time, but then I started feeling resentful about their noises. They make so many, and they seem to always do it when someone is sleeping. As you may understand, nothing quite inspires Q.U.I.E.T. like a new mother’s desire to protect her child’s sleep (and thereby her own sanity).
Have you seen the movie “Premium Rush”? It came out last year. I really enjoyed it. There’s a scene where the main bike messenger, riding at break-neck speed, comes to a major intersection in NYC traffic. In a split second, he has to decide where to move. The camera brilliantly depicts his split-second decision-making process by routing every course available, and showing that no matter what he will get hit. The protagonist’s spatial relations are so excellent that he is able to choose a path that avoids a fatality kind of hit. The scene reminds me of the mental exercise I do regularly, when I am trying to decide how to throw something at Cat Three without waking Papaya.
Cat Three thinks it’s amusing to somersault over a soundly napping Papaya, who these days will only nap (infrequently) on the couch (making those naps all the more precious to me). Cat Three enjoys somersaulting over her and jumping the gate near the couch. It is a gate that was first put up to keep Papaya from going up the stairs; now it is used for keeping the three cats from going up the stairs. Cat Three is not deterred by any gate, no matter how high. He comes and goes as he pleases. If that weren’t annoying enough, he likes to make a game out of running up and down the staircase, jumping the gate repeatedly, and, worst of all, jumping back and forth over a sleeping Papaya. I could kill him.
This morning I saw a photo of a cute cat staring into a camera lens. The caption read, “I did the math. We can’t afford the dog anymore.”
Cat One, Cat Two, and Cat Three, I did the math. We can’t afford YOU anymore.