March 30, 2009

Curious Beasts

Oh to be reborn a cat, or specifically, one of my cats. They live in a day spa and all their needs are met and anticipated, water dispensers, special diet, manicures, teeth cleanings, DVD of birds chirping, real birds chirping outside the kitchen window at the bird feeder. (Yes I have been unemployed long enough that I am now writing about my cats and fully expecting that my readers will indulge me. Are you awaiting the next picture of me, sitting in a rocker, cats in my lap, while I’m reading Ladies Home Journal and knitting socks for Our Boys in France?)

The Alpha cat is Sisy Marie. She is named for a character on the television show Family Affair. Our son received two cats from the pound for his 8th birthday. The second is Fala Jo, named for FDR’s dog,

Sisy is diabetic and requires insulin twice a day. She does not have insurance or a health savings account. She also requires special food which we call “crunchies.”

Fala , an old gray tom, had had recurrent urinary tract infections, so he also requires special food. The vet had the temerity to suggest we feed Sisy and Fala separately which worked for all of about five minutes.

No matter what is served Sisy will sniff both bowls and feast on the one that has the most food while Fala stands behind waiting for her to finish. Most days she eats all of her food and most of his. (By the way I know what you are thinking. I do not appreciate the inevitable comparisons to Husband and me.)

Carl Sandberg penned 21 words that connote a beautiful image of fog over a city….. and the first seven are “the fog comes in on little cat feet.” He was not referring to Sisy at 5 a.m.

At dawn Sisy is hungry. She climbs up the four cat steps to our bed (yes, cat stairs, As Seen on TV) to our bed, steps on various body parts with clumsy cat feet, and sits next to her daddy, waiting for a moan, a grumble, any sign that his morning is beginning. When Husband awakens and notices her pungent kitty breath (by now her cold, clammy nose is pressed against his) Husband takes his extra pillow and hugs it in front of him, a feline orange barrel. Then he picks her up high in the air and throws her off the bed. She growls, spins her tale so she looks like a black and white heli-cat, and comes right back up the stairs and it begins again. The entire time she doesn’t approach me or even pay any attention to me.

Persistence, thy name is cat.

Fala the second cat mimics Sandburg’s “silent haunches” as he waits in the background for direction from the Alpha Kitty. But Fala is much more like Eliot’s “mystery cat,” Fala always “has an alibi, or one or two to spare.”

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
He's broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime--Macavity's not there!
You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air--
But I tell you once and once again, Macavity's not there!”
-- TS Eliot

Eliot could have added a verse about the mysterious newspapers that end up with holes in them. Boxes that strangely fall from closet shelves. Toilet paper that is shredded all over a room. Never a trace of Fala. Quoth the raven.