My family has been recently adopted by two stray cats. It started with one (it always starts with just one), a lovely Calico who we think was abandoned by her family since she came to us so well groomed. Or maybe she still has the family, and she just keeps getting hand-outs from everyone (cats abuse the system too, guyz) but she’s fairly thin, so maybe not. That’s what I tell myself, because there’s nothing worse than being conned by a freaking cat. Except maybe being conned by two freaking cats.
Thing Two named the Calico Hazel and gave me those big sad eyes that orphans do in Oliver Twist. Since she was able to talk, she’s wanted a pet, so thus the circle of life continues and I am paying with major karma for my years of begging for a cat as a kid. The fact that my mother was terribly allergic to them came secondary in my child mind to “I want a cat.” It pretty much works the same with Thing Two. So we figured we’d have an outdoor kitty, and bought cheap cat food at the evil Wal-Mart and bang, we had a cat. Thing Two likes to pick Hazel up and get her to make cat noises like one of those cow toys that moo when you tip them over. Hazel puts up with this because you can’t beat free food.
All was well until word got out in the cat world of our gullibility and another cat showed up. She was pretty, and unlike Hazel who pretty much just meows (translation: I will take my food now, puny human), she had the added gift of constantly rubbing up against your legs and staring up at you with puppy eyes, and then rubbing up against you again. You can’t get away, she just follows you and loves you. To death. This was great for the girls, but not so great for me as I am now allergic to cats, and lots of cat hair on my clothes does not appeal to me. I couldn’t figure out why the new cat, named Willow by Thing Two, kept coming back.
“I mean we don’t feed her,” I said to the girls.
Thing One: Well sometimes I give her a little handful. She’s nursing kittens!
Thing Two: I give her food when I give Hazel food.
Mystery solved there.
Anyhoo, all this reminded me of the cats I had when I was newly married. Since my mean-o parents would not let me have one, I got one myself. She was one of my mother-in-law’s kittens, a cute Siamese I named Keiko because it was the only Asian-ish name I knew. I have over 500 posts (mostly about a series of idiotic books and other random topics like boogers) so I couldn’t remember if I had told you guys about my cats yet. So I did one of those searches on my blog and came up with this post about Barbie that mentions cats exactly once.
Then I realized that hey, if I don’t remember what I’ve written about, chances are you don’t either. So I’m going to tell you about my cats, okay? Because no one gets tired of hearing about someone’s cats. I know I don’t. I love seeing cat and dog pictures on the phones of my coworkers. I don’t have pictures like that, because I just have a turtle, some fish, and children. And who is interested in that stuff?
Anyway, my kitten was so adorable, and would lay back lazily in my arms like a baby. I thought then it was because she loved me, but now I firmly believe the cat’s insides were made of some kind of gelatinous material. She spent a great deal of time draped across furniture like a throw. When she wasn’t leaping out of trees scaring the crap out of my mother when she came to visit. Or licking her toes. Because cats know when you don’t like them, and they zone in on that.
But both my husband and I worked, so I decided to get another kitten from the shelter (it always starts with one, remember?) to keep Keiko company. She was gray and cute, with a nose that was half gray and half pink. I didn’t realize this kitten came with PTSD, which wasn’t helped by her adopted sister’s tendency to hold her in a head lock and thump her repeatedly in the head. My husband decided she could be his cat, and named her Sylvia because she was kind of silver. Looking back, I think Rosemary’s cat would have been better. Because this cat was always a bit off. She feared everything, especially strangers of any kind, and darted out of the room at first sight. So most people only saw a gray flash of her. She hid under the bed in this bit of fabric that was torn loose. This made a great hammock when she was a kitten, but not so great when she was a nine-pound cat.
Things only got worse when I got pregnant with an actual baby, and could no longer clean out the litter box for fear of that cat poop disease that can be bad for babies and all. Since my husband wasn’t super big on cleaning it either, we let the cats hang with my mother-in-law for an extended vacation. This suited Keiko, because she had no loyalty whatsoever and was fine as long as someone fed and worshiped her. It didn’t quite suit Sylvia, who came back to us an even bigger nervous wreck. I suppose I should not be surprised, given the mental illness in my family, that I would get a cat with issues too. But man, this cat had them in spades.
She would come up to us in the middle of the night and meow, but not just any meow, a frantic repetitive one like this “Meowmeowmeowmeowmeowmeowmeowmeow.” And then she’d look at you with these deranged eyes, as if she’d just been through one of those war movies and lost all her comrades in grenade explosions. We started to let the cats go outside, which again made no difference to Keiko, but caused Sylvia serious panic attacks. She didn’t want to go out. But then she didn’t want to come in, either. Because there were invisible elves out to torture her . . . or something. And they lived indoors and out. Even my husband one day said “That cat is seriously psycho.”
We were both sleep deprived from the new baby (no doubt yet another source of stress for Sylvia. Keiko again didn’t care because she was still fed.) and not quite equipped to handle special needs. Or even their basic needs because we were going through our own PTSD – infant PTSD. So we put an add in the paper and found new homes for the cats. Keiko went to a nice old man in a wheelchair which was perfect because she could be a rug for his legs. And Sylvia went to a guy with a nice big farm. She ran from him and I had to yank her out from under the bed, claws extended, writhing and twisting and hissing. And he still took her. I can only imagine what happened to her on that farm. Maybe she went to the corner of a barn and had a kitty breakdown? I don’t know. But these days, I can relate a lot more to Sylvia. Life is serious stuff, and sometimes you need to hide under the bed. If only we could all be Keikos.
Later on, I was allergy tested, and found out that I was now allergic to animal fur, along with pollen, mold, smoke, perfume, work, the sun, the moon, any deviation in my routine, and stupid people. So basically everything. The only thing I could really prevent was animal fur. Even cute animal fur. The cats try to sneak in but get caught and put back outside. I will stand firm on that one. No matter what sort of con they try on me. Willow has this look that says, “Hello. Can you help keep cats like me off drugs and off the street?” Needless to say, Hazel does not like her homing in, and peed all over the place as a way of saying “Get out.” Willow hasn’t taken the hint, though she does back off from cat hisses. She’s not throwing herself under a bus or anything.
So ends and begins my cat story. Just remember, cats are just as messed up as humans, only more evil and crafty, so watch yourself. And for goodness sake’s don’t feed them. Or have children that feed them.
And never, ever let them get wet.