I thought a new cat was a good idea. After saying goodbye to Shasti through tears and heartache in the vet’s office a couple years ago, it seemed that it was time. My dog, Buddy, needed a pack mate, and I needed a four-legged family member who would pose for pictures.
And then kismet got involved. Oliver was born into a litter on an Arkansas farm, the inhabitants of said farm being the mother and father of a friend at work, this friend choosing to post irresistible pictures of six-week-old kittens on Facebook, and this author deciding all of this was divine timing. I IM’d the friend, and she drove back to Tennessee with Oliver in a crate.
Oh, my doodness. Little kitten nose and little kitten paws and little kitten meow. How could I have known he would become a terrorist?
The first few months weren’t bad. He was still small enough to lock in a bathroom when we weren’t around, and his peanut brain was still unaware of options that would render this situation unacceptable.
Then he got bigger. And wiser. And faster.
And more evil.
It began with the peace lily. That peace lily had never done a thing to that cat, but somehow it seemed a perfect catnapping location. I woke up one morning to find gorgeous long stems bent at ninety degree angles and two green eyes mocking me from the bed made of the stalks.
I bellowed like a bee-stung grizzly. “Damnitolivergetout! Get out! GET OUT!
I propped up the stems the best I could, trimmed away those with no hope, and readied my spray bottle in case he attempted to return. He did several times, which caused me to bellow anew and run through the house like a lumberjack chasing a leopard and spraying water on the couch, the coffee table, pictures, the television, drenching everything except the actual cat.
The next morning, I met the same situation. More peace lily lost to the warmonger. More bellowing. More spraying.
The third morning, the same. But it was now my fault. I’d had plenty of time to build a privacy fence around the peace lily.
Next came the furniture. The couch held up pretty well, but that one chair, MY chair, the chair with words printed on it that makes me feel like a writer when I sit there, sipping tea, listening to Beethoven, and getting lost in Google quicksand because I need to know what year zippers were invented, that chair has only one natural predator – Felis catus.
When I catch him with claws ripping through my writer’s chair, I snatch him up, take him directly to his scratching post, and demonstrate scratching behavior. He has yet to follow my lead, but my nails look like Dracula.
He’s not stupid. That I know for sure. He learned what a spray bottle does in one squirt. In fact, we’re on our third spray bottle because he destroys them when we’re not looking. He knows that the beep of the alarm system means the door to the sun porch has been opened, and he makes it there from any location in the house with a speed that would bring tears of joy to Pavlov’s eyes. And he knows the specific sound made by the barely audible whoosh of air created by the almost silent opening of the plastic container in which his food is kept.
But “no”? Oh, no. His only response to “no” is a meow that bears a strong resemblance to “je ne parle pas anglais.”
I thought it was the final straw when I watched in slow motion as he stretched to full height, curled his paw over the lip of the pot holding the Hawaiian Ti plant, pulled to lift himself up, tipped the pot off the plant stand, sent pot and plant hurtling to the floor, the pot busting into pieces, dirt skidding across the hardwood, plant coming to rest sideways on the ground like an injured soccer player, dog looking on in disbelief, me bellowing, “Daaaaammmmnnniiiiiitttttooollllliiivvveeeeerrrrrrr!” The world resumed normal speed as the cat dashed by me and into his secret hideaway under the bed, just out of arm’s reach.
After about 20 minutes of recovering the scene in an appropriately dramatic fashion wherein I called that fur-covered tornado every name in the sailor’s book of nasty names, I started to ease off my demand for his banishment. The broken pot revealed plant roots squeezing through the hole in the bottom indicating a re-potting was past due, so maybe it wasn’t so bad. While sweeping the dirt that had slid under the sideboard, I swept up an errant ten dollar bill and grinned like I had done something praiseworthy. Then I went to the store to buy a new pot and found the most adorable royal blue and teal pot that would perfectly match the sun porch decor, and on the way home I felt myself shifting in the direction of feeling bonafide (sigh) gratitude for the damn cat.
He’s not so bad I suppose. He snuggles like a baby in the mornings. He settles down sometimes in the afternoon and watches TV from the armrest of the couch. He sneaks under the covers at night to spoon my back, blanket up to his chin like a child.
Sure, some days he’s the Scar to my Simba. He’s the Shere Khan to my Mowgli. He’s the Mr. Bigglesworth to my Austin Powers.
But other days, . . . that cute little nose, those cute little paws.
Oh, my doodness.
© 2020 Deb Moore, All Rights Reserved