Thursday, July 20, 2006


Observations about my life with cats:

1. My cat Monika--fuzzy, gray, well over twelve years old--has, as I've previously noted, suddenly developed faint stripes along the top of her head and down her back. Now the fur on her back, which is very soft and feels like cotton, is suddenly growing in copper colored. I've never heard of cats who are solid colored suddenly growing stripes, much less spontaneously changing colors.

Monika's mom was a stray cat I adopted because she kept hanging out with my dog Elinore, and they seemed to bond. So I brought the kitty in the house, named her Roz turned out she was pregnant. So, little baby Monika was born. (Elinore was freaked out by the whole process.) Roz was definitely a cat, but what was Monika's father? Some sort of shape-shifter, perhaps? Does Monika carry alien DNA?

2. Delmar, my other cat, once beat a drifter to death with a bag of change. Nobody believes me when I tell them this, but then again, they've never had the experience of waking up and observing that you have stigmata, only to realize that no, Del's just been rending your flesh again while you slept.

3. Are all cat owners amazingly tolerant, or is it just me?

4. My ex, Sue Ellen, brought a cat into the marriage, beloved Scotchie, who immediately decided I was her bestest buddy in the world. (She was right, as it turns out.) Occasionally, Sue Ellen would mention the idea of getting another cat, to keep Scotchie company, and I would say no, she's an only child and I think she likes it that way.

Which was true, but I think the main reason I didn't want another cat was because I didn't want to share my affection for Scotchie. I thought if she saw me petting or holding another cat, it would break her fuzzy orange heart.

I've always felt the same way with Delmar. I'd had him for three and a half years, and ripping my flesh or gouging my eyes aside, he tends to act rather protective of me, and I thought there was no way I could aquire another cat. But I'd always told Mom if anything happened to her, I'd provide a home for Monika, so with her death, I got another cat.

Mostly, it's working out. They seem to get along. Occasionally there'll be a middle of the night tussle, but mostly they tolerate each other, and I've even seen them curled up together.

The sad thing is, it's changed my relationship with Del. He's never been an aggresively affectionate cat, which made his expressions of devotion--such as grabbing my hand between his front paws and holding tight--all the more touching. He doesn't do that any more. Monika is much more of a pet me-pet me-pet me cat, and does tend to beg for affection. So Del has withdrawn some. We're still buddies, and he's sitting at my feet poking his whiskers against my bare foot as I write this, but our relationship has shifted, and I regret that.

5. As Del pokes my foot, Monika, curled up in front of the door, opens one eye to observe. Her eyes are yellow-green, but if they suddenly were kaleidoscopic, or if she grew wings and breathed fire, I wouldn't be surprised.