December 12, 2014
In the last two years, there has been employee turnover at Casa de dos Quesos. Fierce mouser Mohawk and bad tempered heap of fur, Fluffer, lived out all of their nine lives and moved on to the next plain. Or heaven, according to Pope Francis. I hope heaven was ready for them.
Nature abhors a vacuum. And despite the intent to cut down, our vacuum was filled with two more cats.
Two Winters ago, Chaos appeared on our porch. She was a pathetic, and yet strangely elegant lump of black and white fur dragging a dislocated tail.
The DH took one look and said, quite sensibly, “No.”
I said, “This is an excellent cat. Look at that face. People pay money for cats that look like this. But I’m not going to chase her down and bring her in, or anything. But maybe she’s a mouser. We could use one of those.” Of course, if the cat decided to keep us, what was I going to do?
Over the next week, she disappeared several times, only to reappear looking even more desperate. One day, I saw her clinging to the top branch of a sapling next to the neighbor’s driveway. I went over looked up and said, “Come on. Jump. If you want me, you have to make the effort. Come down, and you can come home with me.”
Chaos looked at me with eyes like yellow dinner plates. “Are you kidding? NO!”
The neighbor’s German shepherd appeared, pretty damn proud of herself.. “See what I treed? Got it all the way up there on the first try.”
“The neighbor appeared, looking at me with an expression that said I was almost 20 years in the country, but obviously still a city girl. “They come down by themselves, you know.”
Well, yeah. But…
She did. The next time I saw her, she was in our garage. “Back at the tree, that was a standing invitation, right?” She rolled over and showed me her belly. She pranced. She rubbed. She slept on a piece of carpet, on a cooler just outside of the door, waiting the day or two it took for us to be officially overcome by cuteness.
Once inside, she proved to be not a cat at all, but a very beautiful but badly animated stuffed toy. She is a lap cat, good for cuddling n shoulders and sleeping on keyboards. Though the tail came back to life an inch at a time, it has done nothing to help her balance. When she rolls (which is often) she tends to fall off things and does not land on her feet. We’ve had to make several diving saves as she slides off the edge of six foot tall bookcases.
And after a month and a half, she came into heat and spent every night for a month screaming OH GOD. TAKE ME to a very confused labradoodle.
Though fixed, she continues to sing at nights, generally to wake us so we can admire what she’s caught and brought into the bedroom. Since she has no idea what mice are, she tends to hunt and catch skeins of yarn from the sewing room. She also drags my slippers up from the living room, and has been known to steal one of my hand-knitted sweaters, drag it down the back steps through the kitchen and back up the front steps, tripping over it and her own exceptionally short legs.
Eventually, I gave it to her and made myself a new sweater. Now, she wants that one. Fickle bitch.
That was cat one, out of the intended zero cats. But the next summer, the DH came in and announced that there was a little gray kitten in the yard, and it was frightening the dog.
The dog weighs 70 pounds, and should know better.
One kitten probably meant there was a litter somewhere. Eventually, it would wander back to Mom and stop trying to cause trouble.
That’s what should have happened. Instead, the kitten sat under the office window and cried. When approached, it hissed, swore and hid under the porch. And there was no sign of a mother, or litter mates. Clearly, this kitten had been abandoned in the country and was weeping for its lost family.
This went on for days. Eventually, the crying grew weaker and stopped. I was faintly relieved.
And then, it started again. Damn.
So I live trapped an adorable, seething ball of hatred, intending to take it to a shelter. Turns out, there aren’t any in our area. We live in the country. Here, cats are in the hands of God and nature. And when I pulled him out of the trap he purred like a buzz saw.
And that was how I ended up with a second cat. Mayhem is a sleek, gray male, and clearly psychotic. A few months after we adopted him, I saw the neighbor up the hill, shooing three identical, and spectacularly stupid Mayhem clones out of the road so that I did not hit them with my car. Our cat was not abandoned at all. He was kicked out of the litter, probably for being a douche bag.
He shreds curtains, breaks knickknacks, won’t stay off the kitchen counter, and knocks the dog biscuits on the floor so he can eat them. He also pees in corners, while staring at me as if daring me to stop him.
But he is a mouser. It is the one thing keeping him alive.
In an effort to stop the peeing, he is on special food, and was given a pheromone collar that is supposed to remind him of his lactating mother. It is definitely having an effect. The other night, he climbed up into my lap, purring and kneading. Then he tried to turn the shoulder of my sweater into a nipple and began nursing on it.
Today, I caught him trying to get milk out of an ornamental spindle on the bottom of our antique dining room table.
All dogs may go to heaven. But when Mayhem dies, I don’t think they’re going to let him in.
Want more Double Cheese? Thanks to my editor Rachel, The best of the blog is now collected and available on Kindle.
[Will work for cheese]