Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Cats in the Cradle

I fondly dislike animals. Ok fine, I don't dislike them, I hate them. Ok kidding. I just don’t want to be responsible for them. And besides, there are way too many people who put animals before the sanctity of human life so I try and rage against the machine every now and again and act like I care nothing for them. However, whenever I would have a random cat in my yard, I'd gather up the children, make some popcorn and we'd watch it from the window like it was something we'd never seen before. So, with a pit in my stomach, I got myself a cat so I could put it outside and watch it in awe from the window.
My father informed me a few days before Christmas that there was a free cat in the lobby of his pet's vet. I took a drive, saw this gray 12 month old cat, felt no attachment and said I’d be back on Christmas Eve to pick it up. I thought the one good thing he had going for him was that he was an amputee. Someone had dropped him off at the vet with a damaged tail. Nothing that a little snippy snip of the tail couldn’t fix. He was tailless from henceforth. I thought at least he stood a better chance at my house with an almost 2 and 4 year old boy for there would be nothing for them to step on or pull.
Christmas Eve I drove to the vet. My kids were eating tortellini in brodo when I returned. For my non Italians, this is tortellini in broth. My recommendation for when you make this is to throw in a splash of red wine right before you top it with the parmesan cheese. You will be in peasant food heaven. So I brought the cat inside in a crate, covered it with some wrapping paper and had my offspring unwrap it. This is one time we didn’t need to be videotaping. They weren’t in tears full of gratefulness thanking us for this kind act. They were all, “Ok, that's pretty tricked out Mom, I’m gonna go finish eating now.” “But my dear boys, what shall we name him?” I lovingly questioned. My oldest responded with “Tortellini.” And while I was never uber fond of that, I suppose that's his name. 
The cat hid behind the washer and dryer almost the entire day. When he did come out, he had the worst gas you have ever inhaled. I mean the worst staunch I’ve ever experienced.  When he did make an appearance, you wished he was still hiding behind the washer and dryer. Anywhosies, every Christmas Eve night we go to my in-laws. When we got home that night we put the boys to bed and were about to cozy up to a classic when this cat had major diarrhea with the same staunch as the toots, all over my bedroom carpet and bed. As I was dry heaving and beyond pissed to clean it all up, the stench would not remove itself. Needless to say, we hated the cat and decided to return it to the vet the day after Christmas and were forced to sleep in the office that night.

Well the day after Christmas came and went. He never was returned to the vet. I'd like to say I was showing the cat grace but really both little boys had birthdays that week and our house was crazy full of out of town family and friends. We had 4 parties that week and that cat walked around acting like he had been living at our house for years. He wasn't pulling the skittish cat act that hides when strangers come around. My anger against the cat and its disgustingness started to diminish as I was starting to admire his confidence.

Weeks went by and my oldest who was now 4 was learning responsibility from this feline. He'd wake up every morning and feed the cat and against my wishes would clean the litter box with much gust. The 2 year old was constantly entertained by him and soon this stupid cat became a part of the family.

And you guessed right. My dream has come true. I started letting the cat outside. I can watch him from every window of the house being the crackest cat on the block. When you step outside he follows you wherever you go, sits by your side when you garden, accompanies you to the mailbox, runs laps with you around the yard. He fetches a ball, climbs trees, catches mice and is friends with the other hood animals. Strangers know him by name; other cats fear him, love him and equally respect him. Sometimes he jumps in the car when I am off to pick someone up at preschool just for the ride and to keep me company.

Don't get me wrong, this cat still annoys the living crap out of me. He is like another child except I can verbally abuse him. I realized I needed to tone down my harsh talking whenever the cat would start to muster out a meow and my 2 year old would cut him off and say “Shup cat”. My 4 year old would say “Get out of my face” to the cat who would be sitting minding his own business. I suppose they thought this what you say to the family pet for merely existing. While Tortellini is his name, he still hasn’t been called anything but “Cat.”

               Bad Cat
There was an episode of MacGyver where he took some kids camping in the wilderness. One escaped from the group and found himself face to face with a mountain lion. When Mac found the teen his advice was to not make eye contact with this wild cat or it would attack. I have tried this with my cat, no matter how much eye contact I make, it still won’t attack.

One afternoon I couldn’t find Jet, so I started calling out his name. I then heard him shouting from the bathroom, “I’m in here giving the cat a haircut.” I busted open the door expecting to find a pile of fur. What I found instead was an empty unused tampon applicator filled with cat food that he was trying to stuff in the cat’s mouth and feed him through like a syringe.
Anyway, at the end of every day, I am shocked that the cat returns home. Daily he gets laid on, French kissed, what tail he has gets pulled, trapped in upside down laundry baskets, dressed up, thrown in the creek, sprayed with the hose, and all done out of love from the wee ones. He usually is purring during the torment. The thing I don't get is that he doesn’t run when he sees them but actually approaches them. He will get in bed with them like he has no recollection of how terribly horrible they were that day. When I lay on the couch at night or sit at my desk I can rest assured that he will be on my lap and that I will lose feeling in my lower extremities. Julius has suggested making him a prosthetic tale. Who knows, maybe a movie will be made after him. I hope not, that would be terribly awful. Even more awful than me taking time to write about my pet cat.