A Chat With The Cat
The “talk” I had to have with him was not unlike the type you might have with a young child who is usually on his best behavior but turns into the kid from hell around houseguests; embarrassing you at every turn and going all out to ruin a good time.
He’s a large cat, as common house cats go. He weighs about 21 pounds and there isn’t an ounce of fat on his body. He prances about the house in his little “tuxedo” as if to say, “I’m bad, yeah… I’m bad.” For all intents and purposes, he is convinced he rules the roost, and stands at the top of the pecking order. He’s wrong of course, but so as not to bruise his fur-clad ego, we let him think he’s in command.
As the weekend (and company) approached, I knew I’d have to take him aside and give him “the talk” once again. You see, he’s actually quite neurotic. The second he sees us cleaning under furniture and removing dust bunnies from those hard to reach crevices in our 14 foot living room ceiling, he knows we’re going to be entertaining guests. That’s when his neurosis starts to kick in. Bear with me as I offer what I would imagine to be his thought process.
“Oh crap, they’re doing the thorough clean up… this could only mean one thing … the dreaded houseguest.” Then he gasps.
As Ed moved the sofa away from the wall to reach under the floorboard heating device with the vacuum, Gatito backs away slowly, down on his haunches. “No! Not the floorboard vacuum deal! Christ! These people must be pretty special!”
He backs clear out of the room and races up the stairs to the bed to claim position. He thinks to himself “I will NOT accept these changes, I will NOT.” Then, I swear to you, he starts to scheme.
And so, while Ed was off to pick up his daughter and her fiancé at the airport, Gatito enters the room and gives me a look as if to say, “Well? What have you got to say for yourself? Don’t think I don’t know what the plan is here… I heard the word 'airport' and that means SUITCASES. You KNOW I hate suitcases.”
So I picked him up and we had “The Cat Chat” that he has come to know and hate so very much.
Me: Listen buddy, we have to entertain on occasion because if we don’t, people will swear we’re socially inept and they will not send us birthday cards anymore.
Cat: You know I can’t stand change.
Me: Yes, but you WILL behave or we’ll move your litter box while you’re sleeping.
Cat: Go ahead, I’ll dump on the floor where it used to be.
Me: Then we’ll put you on a diet.
Cat: No you won’t because there are two other cats and we’ll band together and meow you to death all night long.
Me: (in deep thought now – rubbing his belly so he’ll retract his claws) Okay well listen then, will you at least refrain from jumping on their stomachs during the night if they forget to close the guest room door?
Cat: You ask so much of me.
Me: (thinking for sure I’ve got an edge now) And could you wait till AFTER breakfast before you take your first ‘special’ crap of the day? You know how that stench wafts through the entire house.
Cat: You know I always get Irritable Bowel Syndrome when guests arrive. I’ll try, but no promises.
Me: (smiling at him and scratching behind his ears … trying to win him over before making the biggest request of the day) Okay Gat-man, we need to discuss the hairballs.
Cat: (trying hard to pull away from me now) You’re pressing your luck.
Me: Come ON, dude. Just this once … just this one time, will you please stay ON THE FLOOR, preferably in the basement, when you feel the need to hawk a hair-lugie? Please?
Cat: But I prefer the couch. It leaves more of a mark and I love how you guys get all excitable trying to clean it up before anyone comes downstairs. Plus you turn the cushions and you KNOW I love freshly over-turned couch cushions. It’s like a whole new bed for me.
Me: (lifting him up to look out back at the pond) Can you tread water?
Cat: Okay couch - off limits. Got it.
Me: And one final request… can you somehow manage to stay clear of Jazzy’s butt for the weekend? You know what it smells like, there’s no need for our guests to witness that sort of activity during dinner.
Cat: Who ARE these people? The Queen and King of England?
Me: No, it’s Stacy … you know Stacy.
Cat: (now curling into the folds of my arms and purring loudly) Aah yes, Stacy. Wait! She’s a cat-lover. I like her. I can live with the rules just this once.
Me: (gently placing him back onto the floor) There’s a good kitty. I knew you could do it.
And so the weekend came and the weekend went, and though I think he did make an effort to do the right thing, he failed us once again.
The hairball fairy came in the night on Saturday and left a lovely surprise (at least it was on the floor) right smack in the center of the living room for all to see first thing in the morning.
I don’t know how he did it but he somehow managed to create the most steamy piles of crap in the litter box at the most embarrassing of times; and to make things worse, he left said piles uncovered. They were like feline works of art – smelly, smelly art.
He pounced on the couch several times without warning and though our guests couldn’t see it, we recognized his angrily flared nostrils each time this stunt failed to shock anyone.
He shed four times the normal amount leaving little black and white clumps on every chair and bed in the house.
But perhaps his best antic yet, was walking all over the brand new air mattress we had bought, puncturing a hole just big enough to offer a nice slow leak so that Stacy and Mike found themselves on the hardwood floor Sunday morning.
It doesn’t help when the guests pet his head at the end of the day and say things in pet-owner-speak like “Oh you’re such a cute kitty.”
When that happens, he shoots us that familiar look that says, “I’m bad… yeah, I’m bad,” and I swear on all things sacred ~ he winks.