The Trouble with Cats

Stevie Cool Cat

I have a cat, or maybe he has me.

The problem with this cat is I don’t know what to do with him. I’m an animal lover. I used to own horses, and I have three dogs. But you see, the trouble with cats is that they aren’t like other animals.

You cannot control a cat.

Ever since we moved into the neighborhood, my family would not allow me to own a cat. But then one day this kitten showed up. And he sat on the tire of our big truck. I thought he was an angel in disguise.

Our neighborhood is full of dogs, big dogs–big, cat-eating dogs–and when this kitten showed up, I believed in my heart of hearts there had to be a reason.

I made him—pardon the expression—a cat house on my front porch, and I stuffed it with straw. I bought him a feeding dish and food and tried to make him really comfortable. And he stuck around.

Eventually, I invited him in, and for months we sat together in my sunroom, enjoying one another’s company. He was perfect, everything I had been looking for in a cat. Totally low maintenance. He had no litter box. He asked to go outside, and he asked to come back inside.

How cool is that?

But one day he didn’t come back. And I waited. And I waited. And I waited. I realized this cat was not my pet. This cat was my companion. I loved that cat, and my heart sunk when I couldn’t find him.

And then one day, for no reason, he showed back up. Good old Stevie Ray pawed at my backdoor, and I let him in.

I knew he would be back. I loved him.

And so he stuck around—for a while. But then he left again, this time for a long time. My family consoled me and hinted that I would probably never see him again, but I had a feeling I would. And I did.

Six months later.

This time when he came back, I had the vet look him over, catch him up on his vaccinations—and surgically take care of “things.”

And for the first time ever, Stevie Ray became a permanent resident in my house. I bought him a litter box, and I closed the door and issued the warning—no more roaming around.

But now I have regrets. I know a responsible pet own should take ownership of the animal and make sure it doesn’t produce litters that may suffer abuse, starvation, or neglect. I did that. But I also don’t want him bothering  the neighbors, but Stevie Ray isn’t like other animals. He isn’t a pet. He is Stevie Ray.

I feel so bad that I’ve taken away his freedom. Surely, you have heard of this old saying: If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it doesn’t come back, it never was.

Well, I think that saying is stupid.

But I can’t stand to see Stevie cooped up. But if I let him out, the dogs might get him. The cars might hit him. The kids in the neighborhood might torment him. I love him. I want to protect him.

I sound like his mother. I have to remember I am just his human being.

Over the weekend, I went to see the closing production of The Trouble with Cats, a comedy directed by my childhood friend. I couldn’t miss it. And I’m so glad I went. The cast—and director—did a great job. It was hilarious. But now that the play has closed, I can give a spoiler alert.

I couldn’t find one cat in the play. Not one—or was there?

Cats are mysterious animals. They always do their own thing. They seem to know what we’re thinking, but they can and will deliberately do the opposite of our wishes should it so please them.

And so, here I am. I feel like Phoebe from friends singing “Smelly Cat.” Please, if you will, join in on the chorus.

What’s a cat companion to do?

Dogs are so much easier. They sit. They stay. They speak. Sometimes they beg. And the sweet ones like my Lacy, shake hands and give hugs, well as much as a dog can give a hug.

But what do I do about this cat, who, at this moment, is perched on the sofa beside me, meowing and kneading? I spoke too soon. Now he has moved to my computer. I think he’s reading my words. I wonder if he approves.

Stevie hates the confinement, not all the time, but sometimes, and sabotages the litter box and its surroundings. Otherwise he seems to be happy. And I’m happy. I love this cat. But Stevie is a gypsy, a traveler. Can I really keep him confined? I don’t think it should matter if I’m happy. I don’t own this cat. A human being can’t own a cat.

Do I open the door and let him roam, or do I keep him safe with me? Think artistically for a moment. If you had to be one or the other, which would you be—a cat or a dog? If you’re a cat, what’s your advice concerning your fellow feline? If you’re a dog, what’s your advice concerning the cat?

Or you can just be the human being you are and tell me– WHAT SHOULD I DO ABOUT THE CAT?

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. ~ Anatole France



Music and cats

Psycho analysis of a psycho writer chick

If you could step into a TV show for a day, which one would you choose?

The answer’s easy for me. Psych.I’m addicted to the show. My favorite Christmas present? A pair of Shawn and Gus talking bobble heads. Whaaaaaat?

If only real life could be as hilarious as the adventures of Shawn and Gus. Shawn is a psychic, a fake one. He reads people and hones in on their little clues. He drags Gus, his trusty sidekick, into all sorts of adventures.

Sounds like my kind of life. Really.

People readers notice the most subtle of clues and analyze, analyze, analyze. It’s fun until we people readers drive ourselves paranoid. But let’s have a little fun and re-create a scene from Criminal Minds, The Closer, or even Psych. All we need is an unsub.

What if an investigative crew found a picture of your personal belongings? What do your things say about you? Just to keep it easy and short, let’s stick to our desks or work tables. I’ll go first. Take a look at the photos.

On the left I have a variety of cat paraphernalia. Two plastic jars of Pounce Caribbean Catch Tuna Flavor cat treats. A fuzzy mouse that can be filled with catnip. And a plastic baggie of catnip.

At first glance an investigative crew might assume that I am a diehard cat lover.

Wrong. I like cats, but I like dogs better. I love one cat—Stevie Ray, my blues cat, who showed up about a year ago. I probably shouldn’t call him my cat. He comes and goes as he pleases. If I wanted to, I could trap him inside and buy him a litter box, but he’s too dignified for that.

I can’t help but remember that stupid quote from my junior high years:  If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If not, it was never meant to be.

Stupid, sappy love quote. All the other girls wrote on their composition books. Not me. Anyway, I haven’t seen Stevie Ray all day. Stupid quote.

At second glance, the investigative crew might inspect the plastic baggie of catnip with the pipe lying beside it. Officers, I can explain.

See, it went down like this. Number Two Son saw the baggie of catnip and busted a gut as only a twelve year old can do. He peeled the label off the catnip baggie and laid the pipe next to it. I know it does not look like catnip, but it IS catnip.

I was framed.

And that brings us back to the pipe, courtesy of Number One Son.

Number One Son received the pipe from his girlfriend as a gift. It is not a real pipe. It blows bubbles. Number One’s girlfriend thought it was funny. Said girlfriend also gave Number Two Son a week’s worth of fake mustaches for Christmas. This girl is as warped as the rest of us. I like her.

And what about the other items? Let’s start with the Aerosmith CD. Whaaaaaat? The unsub profile suggests a Steven Tyler fan lives here. Well, duh.

An iPod. A new metronome. Speakers. Check. Check. Check. Music lover. Got it.

Ducks. There is no explanation for the ducks. Sorry. Your guess will have to suffice.

Bottled water. Unsub does not like soda. (And I HATE calling soda, soda. It’s Coke. I don’t care if it’s Pepsi, Sprite, or Dr. Pepper. But a Sundrop is always a Sundrop…if you’re a true blue Southerner, which I am.) A pen. The unsub likes to write. A red folder with only one sheet of writing. The unsub almost always types everything and only writes in notebooks and journals when she is on a special writing adventure.

And the laptop. That’s a blog unto itself. Investigators would surely snatch up that bad boy and take it to the lab for further analysis. (The unsub wishes that while they are at it, they’d tidy up the first manuscript inside and send it to the editors and agents who requested it. Yeah, it’s time to get back to work.)

A really good investigative team, however, would not stop there. The team would also analyze what is not there, i.e.—who took the picture.

Judging from the angles in the picture, whoever took the picture had to be standing on something looking down on the items. If the unsub took the picture, the unsub must be short. The laptop does not sit on a desk. It sits on a bistro table with a regular office chair in front of it.

Wow. The unsub must be a little off, for if the unsub is short, the unsub’s chin would break even with the edge of the table, making for a very uncomfortable, goofy-looking typing situation. (Fortunately, a brown box that holds a new desk waits in the corner.)

The unsub must be more than a little off. Again, the picture angles suggest the unsub stood in a rolling chair to take a picture of a baggie of catnip and a bubble pipe lying next to a computer.

Stupid! Why would anyone do that?

Honestly, I hope no one tries to profile me based on my belongings. Sheesh. Psychoanalyzing me could drive a person insane. Just ask. I’ll tell you. Better yet, I’ll write it.

Now, it’s your turn. Tell me what’s on your desk, table, or work area. I’ll psycho analyze you for free. Let’s see how close—or far away—I can get.

“You know that’s right.”