A Tale of Two Cats

In general, I approve of cats, feeling that their artistic merit and entertainment value far outweigh the minor annoyances which inevitably arise when sharing a home with a cat. I’ve had a cat most of my life. Not the same cat. They come and go. The best one died at age 17 a few years ago, and in my grief I vowed that as soon as we were back from our travels I was getting a kitten. My husband, who is allergic to cats, sighed heavily and hoped I would give it a rest. Naturally, I did not.

However, what I didn’t know when I brought home this adorable, albeit insane, calico kitten, was that within a month we would be moving across the country. But as we went through the grueling process of selling our Virginia house, packing up, moving to Seattle, living in temporary housing, finding a rental, etc, etc, our new kitten Gabby took it all in stride, gaily tearing apart furniture and toilet paper wherever we happened to be.

Eventually we bought a house here, and Gabby has learned to bask in the sun breaks and endure the relentless rain. So far, so good.

Then last summer one of our daughters had to move across country to a housing situation which did not accept cats, and I, idiot mother that I am, offered to give her cat a home if she couldn’t find someplace else. That’s how it began. In my cheerily delusional way, I assumed that, although the cats might have some reservations about sharing our small house, surely they would work things out in time. Now, after nine months, it appears they have worked things out. They’ve got me trained.

They ring their little bells and I jump to let them in, out, up, down, to fill their bowls and clean up their messes, to comfort them when they have esteem issues, to yank their strings when they tire of clawing the furniture. All of this sounds fairly routine, and, of course, it is, until you realize the one thing the cats will not do. They will not tolerate each other’s existence. They cannot be in the same room without a referee vigilantly maintaining the peace with a firm hand and a full squirt bottle. Thus, if cat A, for instance, wants to go outside, but cat B is lounging in the room that contains the door, I must resort to wiles and stratagems to effect the change.

Cat B, aka Domino, is bigger and arguably crazier than Gabby, and she’s made it clear that this house isn’t big enough for both of them. Which is funny, when you consider that Domino is, for the most part, a very sweet and easy-going feline, never happier than when curled up inside her Eddie Bauer bag. She loves that bag with a passion. She disdains the over-priced feathery catnip-laced playthings we’ve bought to try to limit her impact on what’s left of our furniture. She’d rather climb in the bag, wrestle with it, sneak across the room under cover in it, poke holes in it and occasionally nap in it. But she’s not about to share it, or anything else.

Happiness is in the bag.
Happiness is in the bag.

It was funny at first. But you know how it is with a running joke. Eventually even the best joke needs a nap. I sure do. I tell myself things are going to get better, any day now. They’ll have some sort of breakthrough, look into each other’s mad yellow eyes across a crowded room and realize, hey! Let’s give peace a chance!

Sure. It’s going to happen. Spring is here. Love is in the air, floating like pollen. Or fur.

Don’t get me started.

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