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Pussy Magnet

By Tom ‘feral’ Waters
January 1 , 2009

Now they have a daily habit of chasing each other around like maniacs and cart wheeling into water dishes, racing up and down the couches and turning on a dime only to slide ass end down a flight of stairs. It’s funny to watch (and hear) when it’s not five in the morning. When it’s five in the morning, they get the spray bottle.

Despite being more of a dog person than a cat person, I am now the proud partial owner of two cats. By partial, I mean that we only watch Twerp (my parent’s cat) for six months out of the year while they’re in Florida. And by partial, I also mean that you can never really own a cat so much as cater to their needs, feed them when they want to be fed, and shower them with affection when they’re in the mood. As I write this, one of them is leaving a pungent literary criticism of my work in the litter box five feet away. We have two litter boxes, but Allie (our other cat) decided to drop a deuce in my study. It’s a good thing the windows aren’t sealed in the study.

It all started three years ago when my parents left for Florida and there was no longer anyone else living at their house during the winter. I don’t know what compelled me to offer (loneliness, most likely), but I told them that I’d be willing to take him in for the season. The first night at the apartment he hopped up in the window near the ceiling and cried and wined at three in the morning. This went on for a week until I filled a spray bottle and doused him a few times. The spray bottle is such an effective tool with cats that I may use it on my children when I have them to see if I get the same results.

Now Twerp has never been a sociable cat. He sneak attacks my mom and comes running around corners to sink his teeth into her ankles when she least suspects it. The majority of the times that I try to pet him, he takes it as an invitation to start boxing with me. And we’re all pretty sure that he’s profoundly retarded. He used to have a jagged snaggletooth that stuck out of the right side of his face and at some point (out of old age or a scrap outdoors), it went missing. I was out of town when it happened, so don’t look at me. And despite all these shortcomings, we’ve come to an understanding. I wouldn’t say that I love the cat, but he’s a member of our family, and we get along as best as two guys can in the same living quarters.

Occasionally (well, a half dozen times a year) he craps on the couch, the carpet, the kitchen floor, my kindergarten napping rug turned front door mat, and any other variety of surfaces. He is an old bastard, though, and sometimes he does it to prove a point. When we take trips for more than a day, we have that to look forward to when we get back. A stinky reminder that we neglected our responsibility to wait on him hand and foot. And this year, he had a problem ‘going’ and didn’t eat or drink for three days, so Lindsay and I got to take part in the special union of man, woman, cat and liquid suppository. It’s not my idea of what you’d call ‘a good time’ on a Thursday night, but it was a break from routine. I’m just glad that I wasn’t the one holding the applicator. If you have any additional questions about the bowel movements of my cats (and why wouldn’t you!), please stay after class and I’ll answer them in the order in which they’re received.

Last year, in the beginning of the summer, Lindsay experienced some warped feline version of the empty nest syndrome when some thoughtless bastards abandoned their pregnant kitten at the barn where she takes care of her horses. From what she tells me, a lot of people mistake barns in the middle of the country for 24 hour animal depots where you can dump off your unwanted, untested, unspayed pet that you were too irresponsible to look after in the first place. She took a shine to the knocked-up calico and invited me to come see her. They both knew a rube when they spotted one. When I went to the barn, she ’took an instant shine to me’ and was ’never that friendly with strangers, so she must really like you!’ And the rest is history.

After Allie (which is what we named her after being an Alley Cat and our favorite bartender Allie) had her litter and we found homes for all of them, we brought her home. The first night we had her, we put up a five foot barricade in the study until she got comfortable with her surroundings. When we left the study, she casually leapt over it like the Bionic Kitten and followed us into the kitchen. Later that evening (at three in the morning), I found her seven above ground on my DVD shelf mewling because she couldn’t figure out how to get down. She’s gotten a lot better now.

Last fall, we weren’t sure how the two would get along or if they’d get along at all, but they’re pals now. Twerp has gone his entire life being an only child and Alley was spoiled rotten from the day we took her in. Now they have a daily habit of chasing each other around like maniacs and cart wheeling into water dishes, racing up and down the couches and turning on a dime only to slide ass end down a flight of stairs. It’s funny to watch (and hear) when it’s not five in the morning. When it’s five in the morning, they get the spray bottle.

What a life, though. If I could take fifteen naps a day, have my meals served to me and lick myself for fifty percent of the time that I was conscious, I wouldn’t complain much either. They shed on everything and we get cat hair tumbleweeds that roll through the kitchen, but it could be worse. Lindsay plays with them, cleans the litter boxes, takes them to the vet and spoils them mercilessly. I pet them if they’re in front of me when I’m walking from one room to another, feed them, and make a concerted effort not to kick them off of the couch or bed when they’re sleeping in my spot.

Stories about your cats are about as thrilling to people without cats as stories about babies are to people without babies, so I’ll wrap it up here. I still don’t consider myself a cat person, but I’m glad that we saved one and cater to the elderly with the other. Studies show that people with pets live longer, and that’s because I test all my hair products and medications out on them first to see what the adverse affects are. Kidding. I’d still rather have a dog, but I wouldn’t mind having a dog in addition to having the cat. I could just be woozy from the fumes, though. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to empty my bladder on their favorite blanket by way of thanks.