I’ve inherited a cat. Not in the usual sense of the word “inherited”. Nobody died. In fact, quite the opposite – someone was born. The cat is my daughter, Eden’s. She and her dad rescued him from the pound. Her decision-making process was rather interesting. She looked around till she found a kitten racing around its cage in circles, bouncing off the walls, an obvious lunatic, and said “I want that one.” She named him Mister. Oh, how she loved him and he her! I actually witnessed him hopping up on the bed while she was waking up, taking her face between his paws and licking her cheek. I had to mention that because my experience with Mister was somewhat different. The first time I met him was at Eden’s place. He was so adorable – beautiful face, big eyes, long white and gray fur. I picked him up to cuddle him and he looked up at me, raised his head to within an inch of my face and hissed. Okay. Not a warm fuzzy moment but I figured he’d get to know me and it would be cool. I was wrong. His reaction to me was pretty much the same every time I saw him. I rationalized it by telling myself that he didn’t see me often enough. The mind is a wonderful tool. Alton, Eden’s dad, and I would look at each other when Eden wasn’t looking and mouth the word “psycho”. You couldn’t say that to her – she was too smitten with the kitten. There were framed photos of Mister around the house, a special basket for his toys. Watching her dote on him, I knew she’d make a great mother one day. However, their relationship proved to be totally exclusive, at least from Mister’s point of view. He didn’t like anyone but her. Actually, that’s not accurate. He hated everyone but her. He was hostile, aggressive, vicious, and violent to everyone but her. No joke. She had a hard time finding anyone to come and feed him when she went out of town. Her friends were actually afraid of him, knowing that if they turned their backs on him, he would come up behind them and bloody their legs.
As I mentioned earlier, it was someone being born that caused Mister to end up with me. When Eden became pregnant, she knew he had to go. It had been a full-time job containing Mister to keep him from hurting her husband, David, who was also allergic. But a baby? A baby’s cry would be Mister’s call to dinner. So she asked me to take him. She was so ecstatic about the pregnancy that I believe that’s why she didn’t hear me when I told her I would take him, but only temporarily until she could find him a good home. Even as the words were coming out of my mouth, I knew such a place didn’t exist. Not outside of the little circle that was Eden…..and me. Maybe that’s why it didn’t sink in – she knew it too. But I was done having pets. Done with the responsibility, done with the mess, done with the daily chores. I had had pets all my life, mostly cats, a few dogs. I just don’t have that need for companionship. I like my own company and have no need to have something with a heartbeat waiting for me when I come home. I just don’t. I don’t think that makes me a bad person. The way I see it, it allows there to be enough cats for the old lady who’s going to end up with a hundred of them in her old age.
But I didn’t have much choice if I didn’t want Mister to eat my newest grandchild. So I took him.
Now, I have a man in my life. A wonderful man. A patient man. A man who loves animals, especially cats and horses. And the feeling is mutual. God love him, he didn’t see Mister as a psycho. He saw him as misunderstood and he would wait for Mister to come around. It was touching, really. Stupid, but touching. Mister began to maul Brian every time he saw him. Hissed, scratched, bit, drew lots of blood. Brian never let it bother him, never let Mister think he was being a bad kitty. Brian was the cat whisperer. Mister would come after me from time to time, even though I was officially the only old friend he had. I never hesitated to let him know he was being a bad kitty. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hurt him or anything……but allowing him to experience the occasional short flight was within my comfort zone. After all, they land on their feet…… and it worked. He grraaddduuuuaaallllyy became the little love bug that I had seen him be with Eden. Now he lays with me, kneads on me, buries his little face in my hand to snuggle, curls up next to me to sleep. That being said, he also claws all the furniture, throws up exclusively on carpeted or upholstered surfaces, knocks plants and pictures off of shelves, and, despite being brushed twice a day, leaves hair on everything. And he could live another 10-15 years! A decade and a half! I have fantasized about making some sort of alternative arrangement for him, never exactly sure what that might be yet daring to dream. But I know there is no hope of finding him another home. Even a caretaker for a few days is next to impossible. Remember how I said he hates everyone? That is still true. Brian has a son, Stuart. Early twenties, 6’3” or so and an extraordinarily kind person. Loves animals too. He has taken care of Mister on occasion. Upon my return, there are the signs of Stuart’s presence: defense tools like a broom at the front door and a spray water bottle on the hall table, a stuffed animal at the end of the hall, thrown as a diversion so Stuart can get to the kitchen to feed him, and the inevitable trail of blood drops leading to the bathroom where the bandages are. I know that Stuart has to run out the door because Mister chases him, going so far as to hurl himself against the window in the front door to try and get him. These are the unvarnished, unembellished, ungilded facts.
I have had….well, let’s just say uncharitable thoughts toward Mister. And it’s not like Eden can take him back. Her son would have to be old enough to defend himself and he’s only three. As though age were a guarantee! So I suppose I have to accept the fact that I’m stuck with him. It's taken me three and a half years to do that. But there have to be measures taken, compromises made, if we are to live together. I’m thinking declawing and sedatives. Less lethal and much calmer. Maybe shaving too. I would love not to have to put lint brushes on my grocery list. And be able to wear black in the house. I see a trip to the vet and some web research in my immediate future!
I’m sure some of you “pet parents” reading this are mortified but I’m just being honest. My plan beats death.
And let me add that I don’t like the term “pet parent”. One thing I know for sure is that I am not this cat’s mother. Mrs. Satan is.