Thursday, September 29, 2005

Surviving the Cat Tyrant (a mostly true story)

Back in January, Mara the Fat Butted Cat-- his butt had jowls-- went to that big sunny window ledge in the sky. (The picture is of him sleeping in the sun, not dead. Don't get yer panties in a bunch.)

While we were devastated to come home and find Mara dead on our bed, it wasn't long before our gallows sense of humor overcame our grief. On the way to the veterinarian with the cat corpse, the SO and I remembered all those little quirks that made Mara a total pain in the ass.

Once, I tried to stop enabling Mara's cheetos addiction. Two days later I woke up to find bird parts on the bed at my feet. As soon as the cheetos supply flowed, the dead critter offerings stopped. Those events might not be related, but I'm just sayin'...

We had to pay the vet by the pound to dispose of Mara's body. You can only imagine the tasteless jokefest that inspired on the drive home. Or maybe you can't. Trust me, we're going to burn in hell, even if we were crying between the fits of giggles.

We sobered up later in the evening, but when we went to sleep, we found that our dear departed cat left us a little extra something to remember him by. In his last moments of life, he peed all over the bed. *sniffle* Mara, we'll never forget you-- mostly because the stink of your piss still lingers faintly, no matter what we do to get rid of it.

Since my cat Skitters was still alive, and finally getting a chance at the food bowl, I was in no hurry to add to more pets to the house. However, the SO decided recently it was time to take on a new kitten.

The conversation went something like this:

SO: "I've been looking into cats."

Me: "Like opening their mouths and peering down their throats?'Cause the other direction is just wrong."

SO: Giving me one of his looks. "Come here and see this website I found. Ossicats! They're spotted!"

Me: *groan* Scrolling down to the pertinent info. Price per Ossicat? Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-cha-ching! "Wow. That's great. Spotted cats. Can we have one bred just for us?"

SO: cautiously. "Sure."

Me: "Good. Have his spots arranged in a portrait of the Virgin Mary. The furball can earn his keep. We'll open up a little shrine and let the faithful purchase genuine Hail Mary hairballs that he cacks up. We'll make a fortune. I'll order Pope bobblehead dolls for the gift shop, and a glow-in-the-dark baby Jesus butt plug!"

SO: "For the store?"

Me: "Oh, yeah, right. For the store...."

Several weeks later, I knew he was exchanging illicit e-mails with cat breeders behind my back. It wasn't just ossicats. He was into bangles too. Spotted cats on the brain. I knew I had to act quick.

The PETsMART near us doesn't sell cats or dogs, but they allow the local shelters and pet adoption groups to set up in the store. I figured that if I got a kitten, any kitten, into the SO's hands, he'd be so smitten that he'd forget about spotted cats. If that failed, I had a back-up plan designed to appeal to his better nature. (Because, unlike me, he has one.)

I drove over to the store to scope it out. The local shelter had the prime space up front.

"Looking for a pet?" the shelter guy asked.

"Yeah. A cat."

He had older ones in cages, but I could see kittens near the back of the store, offered for adoption by another group, so I tried to get away. He held on. He nodded towards the woman running the cat adoptions in the back. "Don't just go up and say that you want a cat. Hang over in the next aisle and listen for a while. I've been here the past six weekends. I have yet to see her adopt out a kitten. She's a cat nazi."

I sauntered over to the chew toys. Cat Tyrant was in the next row. She was a little taller than me, honeyed hair clipped short, khaki shorts, and a teal polo shirt. Her white Keds were suspiciously pristine.

The first person to walk up to her was a nine year-old boy. He held an orange and white stripped kitten. The kitten was purring so loud I could hear it. The boy's mother walked behind him, seemingly hesitant. His face radiated pure joy.

Cat Tyrant snatched a clipboard away from the mother. She frowned before she even looked down at the application. "So, you live off the Esplanade." (This story comes off better if you read Cat Tyrant's lines with a fake German accent.)

Mother and boy nodded. The kitten rubbed his head against the boy's chin.

"Do you rent or own your home?"

"We rent."

Cat Tyrant raised her voice so that other shoppers could hear the humiliation. "How can you possibly make a commitment to a pet when you can't even commit to real estate?" She ripped the kitten from the boy's hands. "I don't think so." She shoved the piteously meowing kitten into a small cage with five others. "Next!"



The mom and boy slinked away.

No one said that there'd be a test! I was about to leave, but I saw the blue banner draped over the card table behind Cat Tyrant. Adoptions were $19.00. Hell, for a nineteen dollar cat, I'd play her stupid game.

I listened in on a few more unfortunates. That woman would sieze any excuse to turn down someone.

"I love animals. I own several," one poor deluded guy offered.

"Own?" Cat Tyrant shrieked. "Animals are not slaves!" She went off on a tirade, foaming at the corners of her lips, eyes glazed over.

I watched crazy Cat Tyrant for a couple hours. Crimes that made people unfit to adopt were: picking a cat for the color of its fur, never having a pet before, and having put an animal to sleep. Apparently, letting the cat suffer from a tumor was Cat Tyrant's idea of humane treatment.

I called the SO. "Okay," I whispered, "here's the deal. I have a line on a cat--."

"An ossicat?"

I made a face at the phone. "It's just that this poor little fella was abandoned by his mother, and this lady has been raising him, but she can't keep him. He's really cute. But never mind that. If she gives him to the pound, it's probably the gas chamber for him, no matter how incredibly cute he his, poor little fella. But don't worry about that. I'm sure that the death will be painless. He's soooo cute. But don't let that keep you up nights, just because you let an innocent, cute little kitty be gassed. We'll have a kitten bred just for you. Never mind that there are a million unwanted pets being put to death every day, and their only crime is that--."

"All right! Enough. I give. Geeze."

"Okay - here's the deal. Wear canvas shoes. No belt. No leather. If you can come in eating tofu, you get extra points. You will absolutely not mention the following things to this lady. One..." I went through the entire list of disqualifiers.

"Is that all?" he sighed. "This better be one fucking amazing cat," he said before he hung up.

I rubbed my hands together in miserly glee. "Excellent."

Shelter Guy sauntered over to watch SO work his magic on Cat Tyrant. "I've never seen anyone make it this far in their quest," Shelter Guy said in obvious awe.

"The bullshit is strong with this one," I whispered.

Shelter Guy did Yoda ears with his thumbs. "Difficult, this test is. There is no try. There is only do. Hmmm."

We peered around the stacks of hamsterchow.

The questions were getting incredibly esoteric.

"What would you do if your cat clawed the furniture?"

SO shrugged.

"Did your other cat--."

"Mara," SO sniffled a little, working it.

Oh, bravo darling, good show! But I could see that he was about at the end of his temper with Cat Tyrant. His shoulders were taut and his answers were clipped.

"Did Mara ever claw the furniture?"

"Mara was declawed." SO stroked the kitten he held as it climbed up his denim jacket.

My heart sank.

"Declawed?" Cat Tyrant's face went white and then red. "Declawed? You mutilated a cat?"

"No, I adopted a cat that had been declawed by his previous pet parent. What was I supposed to do, reject him because he'd been declawed? Mara needed a home, I wanted a cat. Simple."

Cat Tyrant was so far gone in indignation that she didn't hear him. "Are you aware that it's illegal in seven countries to declaw a cat?" she screamed, spraying SO's face with spittle.

SO went oh so gently over the border from amused into totally pissed off mode. "Yeah, but it's legal to eat them in all the others."

Cat Tyrant sputtered. She lunged forward to grab at the kitten SO held. The kitten tried desperately to stay with SO. "You're a barbarian."

I came out of hiding. SO wasn't a violent person, but he had a mean tongue. I didn't want to protect Cat Tyrant though. I wanted to join in the lashing. Wonder Twin powers activate!

SO drew closer to Cat Tyrant, and his voice got real quiet. "You know, I could go across the street to the other petshop and buy a hundred dollar kitten right now. And if I told the clerk I was going to sacrifice it to Satan tonight, do you know what he'd say? Cash, or charge?"

Cat Tyrant clutched the kitten close to her flat chest. It yowled.

"How many kittens did you adopt out today?"

"None," I answered for her.

"You have seventeen animals here, and no one was good enough to adopt them? Is this some kind of cruel sick-fuck game you play with people?"

Cat Tyrant was speechless.

SO opened one of the cages stuffed with kittens, reached in, and took one out. "I'm taking this one home."

"You can't do that!"

"Why not? They're not your property. Animals shouldn't have owners, right?"

SO and I walked out with the cat.

Skitters - the gray one - is extremely happy with her new friend Loki. She sure as hell looks content, wouldn't you say?


Anonymous said...

Yikes, that woman is scary! I'm glad you got a new kitty though. Both those pictures are gorgeous. RIP Mara.

Anonymous said...

Oh! Fat Mara is in kitty heaven pissing on those glow in the dark Jesuses, muttering "That's mine, and that's mine and THAT's mine, too!

Meanwhile, Kathleen. That was just a great story. I laughed out loud, and my own cat, Seven, gave me a pissed-off look from where he's draped across my powerbook. I know what he's thinking. He's thinking:

"Oh, VERY FUNNY. You stupid humans tell each other cute little stories about us and giggle your pathetic little hearts out, but WHERE'S MY FUCKING DINNER, BITCH?"



Kathleen Bradean said...

I caught SKitters pawing at teh can opener a week ago. If she figures it out, it's just a matter of time before we're goners.

Love "this is mine, and this is mine." So true.