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And We Hired Mango, Lord Puff of Puffington

A GROWN UP KIND OF PRETTY is officially launched in PB! WHOOOOOO and stuff. Mr. Husband heroically swapped all the sidebar links to the PAPERBACK, for ease of one click shopping. You should go buy it, either for yourself if you have not yet read it yet, or HEY it makes a GREAT gift, and Christmas is coming, and readers you love have birthdays, and readers you love have CRAPPY days and need a little something green with apples and hope (and sex and hidden graves and thwarted love and danger and adventure and road trips and small, pernicious dogs named Pogo).

Today’s AGUKOP link is an interview with A WRITING PRIMATE about process and sharp left turns and dogs and acting and Yoga.

Now, the cat story. We lost my dear old Mostly Main Coon sack of evil, Franz Schubert, earlier this year to age and diabetes. He was 15 or maybe 16 years old—hard to tell with rescues, exactly. He was a brilliant composer (well, he was NAMED after one), a true pirate, a stealth purr-er, a flayer-of-veterinary-assistants, a one-eyed personage SO majestic he was unable to be named Socks or Waffles, in spite of all our trying.

He was great, but NO mistake, Schubot was MY cat the way HWMNBN was Sam’s. He had no use for other humans. Or dogs. Or plants. Or furniture. He liked two things: me and food, and I am not positive he would have put them in that order. In my family, the oft repeated trope for Schu-botty was, He hated EVERYTHING SO MUCH that he would gladly have eaten all the world and pooped it out, saving only Joss and his august self…

We are a family of four in a small house with two dogs. We can’t EACH have a cat. SO! I decided we needed FAMILY cat. An EVERYCAT. Less delicately, we needed a TOTAL SLUT cat. I am partial to adult rescues, so I searched MATCH.DOT.CAT for descriptions that said things like, LOVES EVERYONE, A LAP CAT, A PURR BOX, A NOSE RUB HO.

In Mango’s ad, in EVERY photo, someone was touching him, and he was leaning into the touch.

I showed his pics to the kids. Maisy liked him because he was a cat. Sam liked him because he LOOKS like a puffy version of He Who Must Not Be Named. Scott liked him because Scott likes me and the children.

So we hired Mango, and so far he is working out beautifully. ALL four people are enthusiastic fans.

The other house staff members? The dogly ones? They are…slightly discombobulated.

Mango spent his first two or three days in the laundry room and my office, getting his bearings. From the moment he expanded into the house proper, it was clear that Mango is oblivious to dogs. They exist, much like dust mites, but they are no concern of his. He walked across the floor right by them, sauntered really, assuming he would not be troubled.

Bagel, God love him, went BOUNDING up after he passed and jammed his nose, DEEP, DEEP, DEEP into the fluffy nether regions of Mango. Perhaps he wanted to see if someone might be keeping sandwiches up there? It was—on Bagel’s part—-a friendly, getting-to-know-you gesture.

It was not well received.

Mango turned, reared, spread both arms wide, claws extended, looming up like a HUGE WALL OF DEADLY FLUFF and made a Most Dreadful Hiss into Bagel’s face. He didn’t HIT Bagel, just stood his ground and went into a very Schubertian posture. NOW Bagel practically genuflects as Mango goes by, bobbing his head down and looking vaguely guilty.

Since Schubert was VERY puffy and owned Bagel entirely, and since HWMNBN was yellow, I am not sure Bagel’s one-celled paramecium of a hound brain realizes THIS IS A DIFFERENT CAT. I think he thinks it is BOTH cats, mashed into something that you do. not. mess. with.

Ansley is more worried. She is such a jelly bean-ful jealous bean. If anyone pets Bagel without giving their spare hand to HER, she loses her mind and starts leaping around trying stuff heself between the patting hand and him. Now, even WORSE, her PEOPLE might be WASTING perfectly good dog scratching hands on this INTERLOPER.

But she isn’t chasing or being mean. Her main response is to clown charmingly at US in a desperate BUT UM YOU LIKE ME BEST THOUGH RIGHT STILL BEST RIGHT RIGHT? way.

Last night, in fact, all three animals joined us in the bed to watch a movie, Mango on Scott’s chest, Ansley tucked into my armpit, both of them peeking sideways at each other, slightly wary, but neither willing to cede the bed, neither willing to STOP BEING PETTED. Meanwhile, my dear old dimmest bulb, the once and future Bagel, was within SECONDS dead asleep in a completely oblivious lump across our feet.

There ARE advantages to being stupid and kind-hearted, and I think the greatest is Bagel’s simple peace with whatever is. Hot YOGA makes me stupid and kind-hearted, actually. Between down dog in 105 degree heat and the even downer dog sleeping in a heap on the bed, it almost makes me want to give up being smart and vicious.

15 comments to And We Hired Mango, Lord Puff of Puffington

  • brigitte

    Heh, I think you’re spot-on with Bagel’s perception of the combo-cat!

  • That last part, with the cuddly animals? That sounds lovely.

  • cakeburnette

    I think I missed something. What happened to HWMNBN?

  • cakeburnette

    Well, hell. I apparently missed yesterday’s post.

  • There is such truth in that last paragraph … almost enough to make me want to try hot yoga.

  • DebR

    I’m glad yoga allows you to achieve a temporary Bagel-like state, but I’m also glad it’s not permanent because I suspect smart and vicious creates better books than stupid and kind-hearted.

    I also suspect I would adore Mango. I’m not sure how you can have just one cat though, even with dogs in the house. J & I have discussed becoming a one-cat household once EvilDemonKittySky goes to the happy hunting ground, but I suspect (I suspect a lot today, don’t I!) that I will not be able to stand it because I’m pretty sure I’m going to need to maintain a one-cat-per-human-lap ratio. Especially since HIS cat is the young nice one and MY cat is the old mean one, so I would most likely be the human with the catless lap. We’ll see.

  • We can be one cat because of ansley. She is sooooooo lappy. If I have cat, ansley is on scott, blnking worriedly. And vice versa. Ansley also stuffs her head into your hand like a cat and rubs her face on you as if she has scent glands. If we had 2 cats post ansley we would be an adult lap short…

  • jeanette in peculiar

    Does dear husband’s shirt say DEPENDABLE? If so, I believe Ansley needs a matching red with black trim doggie sweater that says NEEDY.

  • It is a red shirt. Like star trek. It says “expendable.”

    He isn’t.

    He is dependable though!!!

  • Kathy

    You give me the giggles! Thanks! And the ST shirt is awesome. Just sayin’.

  • jeanette in peculiar

    Maybe you could get one that says BENDABLE to wear to hot yoga?

  • c


    Bagel has a HUGE following in Japan! So really, all you need is to take care of Mango and Ainsley…

  • “Lord Puff of Puffington” Hahaha! My middle name is Buffington (thus, BUFFI, the nickname my parents cursed me with at birth). When I was a kid, some friends gave us a big white fluffy dog we called “Puff.” Our friends said it was short for Puffington, after me.

    I’m not necessarily a cat person – I like other people’s cats but don’t have the patience for one at my house. YET, I think that I could definitely like Mango. Looks like quite the snuggler!

  • Aimee

    Aw, Mango is beautiful! I have two cats who insist on being petted ALWAYS and will play the “Why are you petting her when you could be petting MEEEEE?” game nearly every day. it’s very entertaining.

  • Melody

    Reading you is like therapy. Thank you for that. We have three cats and a pile of fish in my new fish tank.