Sunday, November 20, 2011

The cat's Out of the Bag

So, we adopted another cat.

I'd like to say I was coerced into it by my pleading wife and wide-eyed children, but I'm a pushover when it comes to tha kitties. I grew up surrounded by cats, none of them fixed. Therefore, there were ALWAYS kittens around. Suffice it to say that, unlike a lot of men, I like cats. No, let's be honest: I love them.

Of course, I take a lot of grief about that. As if caring about an animal that isn't a slobbering bundle of destruction is unmanly. A lot of guys love cats, even famous men. Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Einstein and H. G. Wells were all cat owners.

Don't get me wrong. Being a cat lover doesn't make me a dog hater. I've lived with dogs, but only so long as I lived with my parents. Dogs are too much work, and therefore I've never owned one since leaving their place. They're cute and lovable, and certainly prone to more affection than a cat; but, dogs are a hassle beyond what my busy life can accept. For example: say you have to go on a trip, be out of town for three days. Can you leave your dog alone all that time? No. With a cat, just leave a bog bowl of food and water and a clean litterbox, and you're golden.

Try doing that with a dog. Seriously: it will eat all the food and drink all the water in the first six hours, then suffer for over two days. Crapping everywhere. Yeah, I'll take the cat.

As of three weeks ago, we had only one cat: Magic. We found her six years ago when we still lived in Columbus, OH. Someone had abandoned her one wintry January outside of McDonald's, in the dumpster. My Love found her, scrawny, starving, shivering and miserable, but affectionate. She brought her home. I didn't want a pet; I'd buried too many over the years. Three begging faces won me over, and now we have a 22-pound lump of black-and-white fur that lays around all day doing nothing. That's my job, damnit!

A few months ago, three stray cats showed up on our porch. The little Kansas town where we moved is home to quite a few strays. It's mainly a dog town; the cat lovers are few and far between. The red-headed stepchildren of Jennings, KS. The three siblings were fairly young. We've never seen their parents. We and two of our close neighbors put out food for them. My son named them, to my dismay. The whitish-gray tabby and his dark calico sister became Yin and Yang; the orange tabby was Morris.

Not long after arriving, Yang became pregnant. Seven weeks or so after we noticed this, she suddenly showed up, no longer pregnant. I assumed she'd lost the litter, as she was quite sickly. Then one day she showed up with this little, pale gray fuzzball. I was relieved. The next day came a dark gray male kitten. How cute. For the next three days, she introduced her litter one by one. At this point I was actually begging her to stop.

Now we had five kittens and two adults on our porch (Morris took a disliking to the kittens and wandered off). We couldn't take them in, for Magic would eat them. We tried to find homes for them, but only two of the litter were adopted. Then, Yang disappeared and hasn't been seen in weeks. Their uncle Yin takes care of them, and does a wonderful job, even when the little morons try to nurse from him. His long-suffering looks are an amusement to me. "Sucks to be you!" I say to him, enjoying my rapier wit. Then he craps in my shoe, and I say "Touche".

As it started getting colder, the kittens found three homes with warm shelters on their porches, the only cat lovers in town living around us. Still, the biggest one wasn't coping well. It wanted our companionship more than its siblings. Finally, the pudgy little dimbulb, which My Love named Chumlee, got adopted into our home.

Chumlee is loving, enjoys cuddling, and is playful in a way the long-spayed and quite content Magic isn't. He also loves to crap in my bathroom if Magic blocks the path to the litterbox, loves to climb my back until it resembles hamburger, and constantly baits our other cat, even though she obviously hates him.

Yeah, pets are soooo relaxing.

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