When we were first married twenty years ago, I was in a big hurry to adopt a kitten. Those were the days when I longed to nurture something, anything, preferably something cute. My lifetime allotment of the desire to nurture has dwindled dangerously close to empty. But then, I had to have a kitten.
And so we ended up with two, Sterling and Hamden. Sterling began life as a calm stray, but turned into a raving lunatic by the end of his 11 year lifespan. He spent his kittenhood spilling his water bowl and knocking things off tables. Hamden, on the other hand, was a perfect cat, an orange tabby with paws that looked like oversized mittens. He, alas, died from diabetes when he was 12. I loved that cat.
By then, our twins were five and our baby was a baby. But for some reason, we decided we must have another cat. And so, Millie the Millenium cat came home from the Humane Society.
Soon after, we got a dog, a Newfoundland, and Millie was not pleased. Soon after that, another baby was born into our family and Millie went crazy. She licked herself until she bled and refused to come down from the television. My husband took her to the vet thinking that perhaps she had an allergy, but no. Millie was mentally ill and needed to be medicated the rest of her life. Poor Millie.
After Millie, we adopted a spunky black cat named Shadow. Shadow behaved much like a dog and insisted on going outdoors. He followed us around the block. He was plucky. He, unfortunately, disappeared and right after that, the notice from our town reminded us that coyotes had been spotted in town and to be careful with our pets. Oh. Thanks.
After that, my husband said, “No more pets!” and frankly, I agreed, though I didn’t want to be the one to tell the kids. So, my husband told the kids and predictably, our youngest son cried a river of sorrow.
Within a month, my husband informed me, “The neighbor has kittens. I told her we’d take two.”
We ended up with three mutant cats, two with no tails, one with half a tail with a bent end. They had fleas when we got them. They are ugly. The bent-tail cat walks funny, with her feet turned out. One tailless cat is freaked out all the time and looks at me as if I intend to carve her up with a butcher knife at any time. She is the most paranoid cat ever and her name is Roy.
The last cat is fluffy. She has long fur, but no tail and looks like a walking cloud. She’s sweet, though if someone walks too close to her, she’s apt to snag them with a claw just for the heck of it. Also, her hair has become matted because I have no innate longing to nurture, thus I ignore the cats as much as possible and I didn’t realize she needed to be brushed from time to time. The cats aren’t even on my to-do list. Poor cats.
So terrible mats developed on her back, months ago (I really should not be allowed to own pets) and TONIGHT, finally, tonight, I took clippers to her back and with much difficulty, shaved her.
Then, I examined her hind quarters and discovered matted poop. That explains why I plunged her into a sinkful of water and massaged her butt with my hands . . . touching poop. I’ve been a mother for fourteen years and I have no less distaste for touching poop than in my pre-motherhood days.
The cat, however, seems grateful.
I am inordinately pleased with the accomplishment of this random task and I thought you’d want to know.