Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Krazy Kat Lady Monologues - our newest addition

Once upon a time, my Mom had two cats.  In fact, cats always belonged in pairs as far as she was concerned.  Ever since we rescued our first kitten from the garage next door when I was 12 and adopted a kitten from the SPCA six months later, she has always owned two cats.

My Mom was the master of playing favorites -with children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and ..... cats.  I'll give her this - she was honest about it to a fault.  You always knew where you stood with her.  As I said, she always had two cats... and one of the two was always her clear favorite.  Not so with me.  My favorite is whoever happens to be laying next to me or on my lap at the moment.   Cats, that is ... not nieces and nephews!

Last September, before we moved Mom into Assisted Living, she was residing with  Katie and Josie.  Katie was a long-haired orange and white.  Josie was a calico.  In the battle for my Mom's favor, Katie was the clear front runner.  As the move in date approached, Bill and I agreed to adopt Josie.  Katie was another matter.  She was older (12 years old) and very much a shy, one-person cat.  A household with another Senior Citizen would have been ideal.  But it was not to be for poor Katie.  Her reward for being "#1 Cat" at my Mother's house was the euthanasia needle.  As best we could tell, my Mom was already beginning the decline into dementia and its accompanying irrational behavior.  She reasoned that if she couldn't keep Katie, nobody would.

Josie was very skittish in my feline-dominated house.  The first few months of her life with us was spent in an upstairs bedroom.   She had the run of the house but, oddly, that's where she confined herself.   She decided that she liked her soft-sided cat carrier.  It must have felt like a protective cocoon, and it sat perched on its side in the bedroom - usually with her inside.  We got her downstairs by physically picking up the carrier and carrying it downstairs with her inside.  They say the ancient Egyptians worshipped cats as gods.  If ever there was evidence of cat worship, this could be it!  Eventually, the litter box also moved downstairs (thank God) and now she resides only downstairs.  Whatever it takes to get the liter box away from my bedroom is fine by me!

The feline dynamics in our house range from brotherly love to benevolent acceptance to full-out trench warfare - sometimes all three in one day.  Kramer and Jerry were adopted together, so they are joined at the hip.  Pumpkin  - one would think - should be accorded some level of respect as the senior cat in both age and in years of residence at Chez Reece.   Not likely.   Right from day one, the "freres horreur" tormented her.  Kramer was the worst offender.  He liked to chase and corner her, at which point I would usually come to her rescue.  She never really tried to defend herself.  I don't think it was in her personality.   Enter Josie.  Sometime shortly after Christmas, she declared herself to be fed up with Kramer.  With fur on end, making noises I've only heard on Wild Kingdom, she would launch herself on him whenever he started his nonsense.  Amazing, considering that she is not only half his size but also declawed.  Nine times out of ten, they will confront each other like gladiators under the dining room table, and he will be the first to emerge and run away with his tail puffed to the size of a large feather boa.  For this reason alone, I have to admire this cat.   She's a tough broad.

Another reason: I frequently heard from my Mom and brother the lament about Josie's lack of cuddliness.  She's not a lap cat, etc, etc ...  As I compose this, she resides next to me.  If I am in the kitchen, she's there.  If I am standing next to the counter, she's on it (yes, germophobes - on it), head bopping me, purring loudly.  She lays on me, around me.  I think it is safe to say that she has adopted me.   What does this really tell me?  That she knew on some primal level that she was not the favorite in my Mom's household? That she has figured out that I don't play favorites?  That I am a sucker for a purring, head bopping furry face?  Yes, yes and yes.

I think I'm maxed out at four cats, but I wouldn't trade any of them for all the gold in the world.  And this new addition fits in just fine.

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