Tuesday, March 3, 2009

If I Were That Cat . . .

Mom--my stepmother, actually-- always claimed that she preferred animals to people. She never had a baby of her own, so her pets became her babies, the objects of constant anxious coddling.

After Sadie, her sixteen-year-old Persian, was put to sleep in January 2007, Mom declared that she would never have another cat. Who could possibly replace Sadie? After a few weeks, Mom admitted that she was lonely. We interviewed several candidates from local shelters. One gorgeous marmalade tabby ruined his chances by scratching Mom and drawing blood. Another elegant, white, eight-year-old female was declared "a cold fish." Several middle-aged Siamese were "too aggressive." Then Georgie, a pretty tuxedo, was brought to our house for a visit and immediately began exploring Mom's "apartment" as if she already owned it. We signed adoption papers within days and Georgie moved in.

Georgie was a lively 6-year-old, who amused Mom by dashing madly around the bedroom and sitting room at least once a day. She loved to chase the laser light and bat at "da bird" and stalk tiny toy mice. Best of all, she loved to sit on Mom's lap. She cuddled up with Mom for naps and slept in her bed all night.

Mom fussed over Georgie constantly. She followed her around with a plate and a spoon, always afraid that the cat wasn't getting enough to eat. Georgie weighed 10 pounds when she moved in and 14 pounds one year later. Mom monitored her diet constantly. At least once a week, she'd fret that Georgie "wasn't eating," "wasn't herself," "was probably sick, " and "maybe should go to the vet."

One day, while out on an errand, I called home. Mom was frantic. Georgie had escaped the screened porch through a hole in the screen and had been running around the backyard, "scared to death."

Was she still out there?

No, she had come right back in, but Mom was afraid she'd get out again. She wanted Phil to come home immediately and fix that hole!

I called Phil at work. He wasn't about to rush home in the middle of the day.

When he hung up, he muttered crossly to no one in particular, "If I were that cat, I'd run away too!"

A young intern sitting close to the phone nearly choked on her coffee as she stifled a laugh.


Xanadu said...

We do tend to be overprotective with our pets. Brave Lady is the first dog I've EVER had. Before that, it was always cats. I love both. Jamie laughs at me because I wanted to buy Brave Lady a sweater to keep her warm when we went for walks in cold weather. He said, "Mom, she's a DOG! She wears a fur coat all the time. She doesn't need a sweater. She's not a hairless dog." LOL! OK, I guess he was right. HA! Hugs.

Eric S. said...

Oh that's too funny. I like Phil already, he has a good sense of humor. Of course I can see your moms side too, being we have so many dogs, and one cat. You get attached to your pets, and they do become very mush like little children.

Golden To Silver Val said...

Oh how I LOVE your stories! Have you ever considered writing a book of memoirs? As Spring is fighting to arrive in many places, I hope it soon arrives where you are (as well as where I am)..... Lord knows I could use the sights of fragrances of new growth! I think we all could at this point. Its been a very rough, unforgiving winter. Hugs to you and a behind the ear scratchie to Georgie.

Lena said...

You do write great stories!!!

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Oh, I can just hear the way he said it.

Great story.

happypitbull said...

The same thing happened to my dad's girlfriend's cat. It ran out the front door one day. The girlfriend's daughter stayed up all night searching for it, never even realizing it was already back home in the garage.

We do become so attached to our pets. :)

Nan said...

Cats are so funny, they can be ill tempered or layed back or funny but they are NEVER boring.

Sounds like MOM was never boring either! LOL. I loved this!