Many moons ago Jack’s sister, Tara—a veterinarian with a wee posse of animals including seven cats, two dogs, a couple fish, two birds and a horse—met a man named Bob. Tara and Bob fell in love. The heavens parted. Trumpets blared. Altos hit the high note. It was magic.
Tara and Bob decided to get married. Yay!
Unfortunately, Bob is allergic to cats.
So, Jack and I raised our hands (actually I waved my hand around madly while Jack ducked his head and pretended to ignore all) and suggested that Tara send us two of her cats.
I offered, “Send us two of your babies and we’ll give them a good home!” Our household was catless and I didn’t like it. It was an empty shell of a home. No cat. No purring friend. No plaintive meowing for God-knows-what.
We’ve got a dog, but she doesn’t count. She’s loving and obedient. Her entire existence is focused on making us happy. If we’re not, she’s crushed. She’s sweet and smart, but really, she’s all about us. She’s a little spineless.
Cats are not like that. They’re rudely independent. No matter the sex they’ve got cojones. They’ll gladly give us the finger and then expect us to do their bidding: feed ’em, clean up their poop and continue to pet and adore them … on command. And we do.
(There is something to be learned from this attitude, I think.)
So, Tara sent us two of her cats.
Prior to their arrival we wondered how they would adjust to this strange new home.
But that worry ended about 60 seconds after they walked out of their crates with arched backs and princess attitudes. They scouted every room of the house and spent a couple of hours sizing up the dog from the safety of under the couch. Then they came out, walked up and scratched the dog on her nose showing her who was boss, and proceeded to roam and rule the house like they’d reigned here forever. They’ve been top dog(s) ever since. Poor dog never knew what hit her.
This is Abby. She’s the beta cat, but still above the dog, now the omega, on the totem pole. One of Abby’s favorite spots to sleep is on my desk with her head resting on the keyboard.
We go through this all the time.
In the morning I go to my desk—usually with a bleary eye and my hand wrapped around a hot cuppa joe—and gently move Abby over so I can start the slow process of waking up and working.
While I sip coffee, try to pry open my eyelids and check my email, Abby goes through her morning ablutions. She starts at the top. She licks her arms …
… moves down to her tummy …
… and then her legs …
… and finally her, ahem, privates.
If I interrupt any part of Abby’s important cleaning routine I’m rewarded with this look of irritation and a grunt of annoyance.
Can you see it? She’s mentally giving me the finger. She’s calling me all kinds of numskull. She’s got disgust written all over her.
What do I do? Instead of being offended by her unfair disdain I coo and snuggle her. I scratch her tummy and give her a kiss on the head. I reward her.
Obviously I am a numskull.
But it’s so nice having the cats around the house. I love watching them boss the dog around, sleep in windowsills and yes, even on keyboards. I love that they’ve identified Jack’s nonchalant attitude towards them and have zeroed in on him like a magnet lavishing him in unwanted attention. He attempts to resist their affection, but he can’t.
Their ‘tude cracks me up.
And while it’s a bummer that Bob’s allergic, I’m happy that they’ve got a home with us.
Or should I say … that we have a home with them.