People can be broken down into a few categories when it comes to animals, in the most general categories there are animal lovers and those that tolerate the animals that animal lovers have in their homes, and on their phones and in their stories that they have on the tips of their tongues, always at the ready when out in public with strangers. Yeah, I am an animal lover. But, let me narrow that down. Specifically, I am a dog lover, wait I can go further, I am a small dog lover, okay…I love my dog. He is my baby, loves me regardless and keeps me safe from every mailman, runner, or neighborhood dog walker.
On the other hand my oldest daughter loves her cat, so much so that when she left for college and then moved to LA she thought she would share that precious beast with me, and left her at my house. I keep telling her I would love to pay to have the precious feline shipped via airplane to L.A., at which point she proceeds to tell me the cat is far too old and would never survive the transition, and then there is a long span of silence. I try not to lie to my kids.
As you might be able to see, I do not have an affinity for the cat that presides over my home. You may be saying “Cricket, don’t you mean ‘resides’?” Nope. Shia, presides, as in rules the roost. Yeah, I know some of you are thinking, “wait, you are the human, you rule your own home.” Silly people. Allow me to explain with some various examples.
Shia was never an affectionate kitten, never jumped into your lap, never rubbed up against you and looked at you with adoring kitten eyes. No, she’d wait behind the curtain or under a throw pillow and the moment you moved she’d lacerate your flesh. As she grew, we soon discovered she liked men, not all men, heterosexual men. Who knew cats could be prejudice?
“Come on, Cricket.”
I have proof.
My family and I went on vacation to visit the oldest in L.A.. We asked my in-laws to take care of the animals that week. Two days in, my husband receives a call saying that Shia had viciously attacked my mother-in-law’s leg and would no longer allow her into the house, but no worries, my father-in-law was her best friend. She still to this day circles about his ankles purring her praise when he stops by. My husband can wrestle with her, rough her up and yell at her and she happily accepts this with a sweet meow and light head butt against his leg. Me, she slices and dices. Now, my youngest daughter’s best friend, since grade school, is gay. He is the sweetest guy and a true animal lover himself. Shia never misses the chance to strike when he comes by the house. She purposely sits in the middle of the stairway so she can take a swipe at his ankles as he passes by. Not once, not twice, but every time he is here, and yet he still tries to be her friend. He is by far a better animal lover than I am, for sure.
As Shia has aged, she has developed some substantially annoying quirks. She insists on eating at five in the morning, every morning, weekday or weekend. She will wander into my bedroom, sit beside the bed and gently say, “it’s food time.” To which I or my husband will shoo her away, knowing very well she has enough kitty fat to sustain her until a reasonable hour. You would think after years of this routine we would learn. So, after this scene, Shia will proceed to find any plastic, crinkly material in the bedroom, ANY material, bags, tags, or page protectors. She will tear, scratch and drag this noisy plastic about the room until one of us tosses a pillow in her general direction. At this point, if we haven’t surrendered and dragged our butts out to serve the princess, Shia will take drastic measures. She will circle the bed, like a hungry shark waiting for the right moment. The sight of a protruding toe, a drop of a hand off the edge of the mattress is her cue to strike, and that becomes her last straw to tell us to get the hell up and feed her famished, decaying, malnourished body that hasn’t seen a drop of food since eight the previous night.
On some days, I can’t deal. I’ll be honest. Some days she gets the dog to help and while she plays her regular routine, she bring him into the mix to whine at the gate. He thinks she is being his friend, but no. She is a cunning kitty. He hasn’t learned this yet. Sh knows I adore my pup, and if he is crying, I’m getting up to check on him. He has no idea he is being played. On these days, after I have told my baby dog he needs to smarten up, I take Shia and put her downstairs until a decent hour, generally this happens on Sunday mornings.
Now I know you may be saying, “Well Cricket, why not fill her dish before you go to bed at night?” Did I mention she is elderly now? Shia has reached the age that she has kitty old timers. She literally gets lost in the hallway or on the stairs and will meow until we retrieve her. “You should simply call her.” Ah-ha, we could if she wasn’t half deaf from age. Now, let me get back to my story and the reason for this post…
This morning at five, I heard Shia. I thought to myself, “why hasn’t she made her way into the bedroom to talk to me?” I was relieved to be able to sleep in, until I heard her once more. I laid there with my eyes closed, willing my dog not to be fooled into whatever her new plan was. When it happened a third time I got out of bed, ready to shut her downstairs, per my usual weekend routine. I walked down the hallway, blurry eyed and still imagining I was in bed. Baby dog was bouncing between the living room and kitchen entryway, so excited to see me, so I thought. His happy dance is just too cute, no whining, no bark.
Shia was crouched at the top of the stairway, which sits in the miniature hallway between the living room and the kitchen. So, I think in my half-awake state that the dog is trying to get past her to get to his water dish, as she has a cruel game of getting between him and his destination so that he is paralyzed in place until she determines she is bored with the standoff. I opened my mouth to admonish her and that’s when I saw the sliding glass door in the kitchen was still open from the previous evening and the sliding screen door had not been latched. How do I know this? I know this because it was wide open and a huge, fat, burly, orange cat was standing in my kitchen, looking confused as hell, like he had wandered back from and all-night, catcall bar and thought he was in his own kitchen. You know, like when you get so drunk you think you are home and then you realize you never left the bar parking lot. What? It can happen…so I have been told…by my poor memory the next morning.
Needless to say, my appearance scarred drunk kitty into sobriety and he bolted out the way he stumbled in. I gave baby a dog a look like, “you couldn’t warn me? Not even a yip? Some protector.” Shia on the other hand may be the biggest queen in the feline world, but she earned her morning meal and the prized place at the foot of the bed for the morning. I still don’t love her, but I respect her.