Ladies and gentlemen of the jury ….
I submit that I am not a crazy cat person. I admit that I have more cats than ex-wives ( and I have a lot of ex-wives ), but I am innocent victim of circumstance. Consider:
When I bought my house, I was determined to have no cat.
A cat must poop indoors or outdoors.
If indoors, there is the catbox - not my favorite thing.
If outdoors, the cat kills birds. Outside cats die sooner, what with coyotes and cars and feline leukemia, contracted by contact with other cats.
1. My firm determination lasted a solid three months. One spring day a hungry young pink-nosed tabby marched through an open door bawling boldly she had no fear of humans so feed me now! She inhaled a can of tuna hardly stopping for air, and when she looked up I felt like the Grinch at the end of the Christmas special - I actually felt my heart grow two sizes.
I got a catbox.
2. Imp I named her. She Is a perfect delight but for one thing: she wants to play all the time. I must go work, so Imp needs a playmate.
I went to the Furry Faces Foundation at the Alaska Junction to see their a wall of cats, each more worthy than the next. Two in the same cage stood out: Michelle and Shadow.
Michelle is a miniature milk cow, just furry: white with black splotches, large, bony, placid.
3. Shadow is a pleasant middle-aged tabby, with an expression of perpetual worry. Ordinary toys she ignored - fur mice or lasers - sunlight refleZcted by a mirror is catnip to her. I dithered: which would be better with Imp? The adoption counselor spoke up: they are best friends and never apart. This was a ploy. It worked. I brought both home. The Feline Trinity: Michelle the bossy, Shadow the worrier and Imp the hyperactive made a happy family.
4. Last year the humans reshuffled living arrangements. Michelle moved out with the ex ( which was for the best: they were very attached.) Moving in with my sister-in-law and her spouse came three cats: Ginny, Chesterfield, and the mysterious Gandalf.
5. Ginny is a small spunky woman cat with big hair and a personalty to match. She’s the diva, the dancing queen, the center of attention and if she’s not the center of attention she’ll push something over. It’s all about her.
6. Chesterfield is a large galumphing adolescent, a tall redhaired boy in a crewcut, the sort whose body grew faster than his brain, so it rattles in his skull a little bit. He is always pleasant, never hissy and he likes sports. If he occasionally crashes into things it’s because just forgets where his legs are; he has no malice.
7. The third new cat is the mysterious Gandalf, a midnight black shorthair who silently appears, looks around, and seems to evaporate although I know that’s not possible. The ladies assure me that Gandalf is very verbal with them, but I have never heard him make a sound. Perhaps he has nothing to say to me.
8. With those three new cats we were a stable household of eight souls and would be that way today but for a graduation requirement of Nessa, my sister-in-law. For her final vet tech program project, she selected Arthur, an elderly grey with hip, thyroid and eye problems. His owners could not afford his treatment and continuing medication. In the old days he would simply have been put down but this is 2017. We found him a home: ours.
It is easy but mistaken to define a person by their disabilities, whether human or feline. If I told you Arthur has one eye, a bad hip and chronic anxiety you might think you knew him, but you don’t. Arthur is affectionate and playful and loves to explore the neighborhood on a leash (He would prefer to explore on his own, but: car-coyotes-leukemia.) He and I are the old men of the house; we look after each other and the youngsters.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: now you have the facts. I ask you:
* Would you have done any differently?
* Is this madness, or is it fate?
* Am I crazy cat person or merely fortunate in my feline friends?
Find me innocent - maybe a little too innocent.