December 21, 2009

Hep Cats

Schubert feels better. I know because during his illness, the cat food bowls that dwell in the basement managed to drift close to one another in the way of inanimate objects in a house full of pets and little children. Schubert has not been eating well, so no one noticed the bowls had migrated. This morning, when a modest scoop of kibble landed in each bowl, the thunderous eight-paw response of two big toms galumphing down the stairs told me all was becoming right in cat-world. Then, seeing how the bowls were placed, my chuffy old one-eyed pirate promptly planted his face deeply into one dish and settled his pointy, bald haunches just as deeply into the other.

Boggart stood to one side, watching this. He is such a sociopath that his reaction was, as always, hard to read. Was he quizzical? Angry? No telling. I swear if that cat had thumbs he would be up in a bell tower RIGHT NOW calmly picking off holiday shoppers. If he had more flexible lips, he would be whistling while he did it.

We call Boggart “Dexter Morgan” more than we call him Boggart these days. He has a LOT in common with Dexter. He wants to live in the house with people, but he doesn’t actually want the people to touch him. He does not seem to understand how to have an interactive relationship with other living creatures, unless the creature in question is one of the hapless field mice who sometimes wander into this exact wrong house to get out of the winter. Boggart’s relationships with them are ruthless and efficient and of a very short duration, and, much like Dexter’s most intimate relationships, they leave one party in chunks.

When Schubert, as he often does, comes to wind around and my ankles and bellow to be given his rightful petting dues, Boggart cocks his head to one side and watches like a serial killer turned anthropologist, trying to puzzle out the appeal. He gets closer and closer as he observes the odd phenomena, but if I reach out a hand to try and include him, he rears his head back, ears flattening, and sniffs at my extended hand as if checking it for knives or poison.

SO when Schubert appropriated all the breakfasts, he was unsure how to handle it. The situation seemed to require... *shudder*... conversation, Or, WORSE, contact. After a minute of dead-eyed watchfulness, Boggart released a sharp, short, protesting mewl. Schubert did not respond. Another minute passed, and then Boggart made the same noise again, louder. This time, Schubert deigned to respond by flicking an ear, as if to say, “What? I am warming it up for you. With my butt.”

Or perhaps I too kindly interpret the ear flick because he has been ill. It would be more like Schubert to say, “What? I am warming my second breakfast up for myself. Go eat lint.”
Or perhaps, even, “What? I can eat with both ends now, and also kill you in your sleep. Move along.”

Schubert is not a sociopath, but it is true that he has no use for other animals. He only understands relationships with PEOPLE. And by people I mean, he likes me. He tolerates the children. He does not mind Scott, as long as Scott does not foolishly try to PICK HIM UP. Only I can pick him up. He suffers the dog to live because I seems to like the dog and Schubert wants to please me. He suffered the mice ladies to live because the counter was high, and he suffers Boggart to live for reasons I cannot fathom.

I had missed my old skeezix while he felt so lowly, and it is nice to have him back.

At any rate, I stepped in and moved things around, putting both butt and dish back where they belong so that Boggart got a non-Lint, non-the-blood-of-innocents breakfast. He thanked me by eating a bite, blinking in a meditative way, and then wandering away past me as if I did not exist.

Honestly, the more time I spend with these two, the fonder I become of the DOG.

Posted by joshilyn at December 21, 2009 7:31 AM

Oh, did this post cheer me up! I am in the Edinburgh airport, having missed my flight this morning because they didn't want to send more people to the Amsterdam airport (where we hear between 6,000 and 55,000 people are stranded - they don't exactly have their facts straight). Then they gave us letters with numbers to call and told us not to ask the people at the ticket desk. Of the two numbers on the letter, one said it was closed due to unforeseen amounts of customer service required, and the other put us all on hold for 4 hours. SO I have a flight, but not until tomorrow. And then my connecting flight home is the next day. And I haven't slept in 24 hours. And I have nowhere to stay tonight. Travel sans mercy at its best.

But cats help.

Posted by: Haley at December 21, 2009 9:01 AM

I'm so glad that Schubert is feeling better. (Also, he will always be WAFFLES! to me.)

Posted by: Mir at December 21, 2009 9:16 AM

Heh. I used to call my old, cranky and dearly departed cat Skeezix. His real name was Sky -- named by my 7-year-old self for his bright blue eyes. But like many pets he had a million nicknames, and Skeezix was my favorite.

Anyway, I'm very glad that that Schubert is back to being his old self. And I love the Boggart stories, though I fear that you are right about the thumbs and the bell tower.

Posted by: Aimee at December 21, 2009 11:28 AM

LOL Glad Schubert is feeling better. Boggart cracks me up. You make me want a cat AND a dog.

Posted by: Jess at December 21, 2009 11:31 AM

How is Bagel these days?

Posted by: Roxanne at December 21, 2009 9:05 PM

I have a cat who seems to need attention but hate it at the same time. He is so reluctant when he is needy but the need is real. The other one is what we delicately describe as a slut. Well, he's male so maybe a bimboy. He always wants attention and will not be put off. What a pair. They're brothers, Calvin and Hobbes.

Posted by: donna lee at December 21, 2009 9:47 PM

Omg I totally have a cat like that! He is big and black and thinks he is king, and he HATES to be petted by anyone unless he deigns it to be so. I love my cats.

Posted by: Miss Riley at December 21, 2009 11:48 PM

You made me think of a comic I saw once that I think is secretly true for ALL cats: the owner sees the sleeping cat's paws twitching and fondly thinks he is dreaming of catching mice. Really the cat is dreaming of catching his shrunken-to-mouse-size owner!

Posted by: Brigitte at December 22, 2009 6:41 AM

I love me my cats and dog-who-thinks-he's-a-cat! Thank you Joshilyn for all the brightness you bring to my days all year long. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Posted by: Kathy at December 22, 2009 1:08 PM

Oh, did this post strike home. I have a Boggart named Frankie who behaves like a hippogriff. He sniffs my hand and lowers his head if I smell good enough to pet him. Otherwise he collapses to the floor rather than deign to be touched. He was born in my kitchen, so I have no idea why he hates me. He has recently taken to curling up next to me on the sofa, but that's as close as he gets.

I rescued a kitten from a dumpster that I actually NAMED Boggart because of his evil angry-ness, but he turned into a snuggle bunny. Go figure.

Toddlers, all of them. Jealous little toddlers who will NEVER. GROW. UP. I love them so...

Posted by: tuney at December 23, 2009 2:41 AM