|Ellis loves his Momma|
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Revenge of the Scorned Cat Man
How I got back at my cat and restored social justice to the household.
One of the things that come with mature adulthood is the ability to look deep within oneself and deal honestly with one’s feelings. Of late, I have been forced to recognize and respond to the fact that not only are my cats are jealous of me, but that the reverse is true, and that the resulting rivalry for my spouse’s time and attention is adversely affecting my home life.
By appearances Deborah and I have two cats, to whom I have given, with alleged affection, the nicknames Butthead 1 and Butthead Also. Actually, the reality is that she has two cats and I have none. I refer to them Deborah’s Entourage; whither she goest, so goeth they. Mina, our Siamese, will come see me in my home office on occasion, where she will deign to sit in my lap and be petted, but only in five minute increments, and only when Momma isn’t home. Ellis, a gray cat that Deborah likes to think of as a Russian Blue but who really is a random mix sans pedigree found born in a woodpile, wouldn’t come around me if I were to slather myself in tuna oil. Whenever I approach, he immediately skitters off.
A couple of Saturdays ago I was sitting at the breakfast table reading the paper while enjoying a neck rub. Deborah and I have been married for nearly three decades. We’re still fairly well enamored of one another, but even so, she doesn’t bust out with a neck rub every day. I was just getting into this rare treat when Mina decided to jump up on the table. Absentmindedly, Deborah reached over to stroke her head—and there went half my neck rub. To which I objected. Loudly. But Princess Meehee (a nickname derived from the way she talks, which she was now doing, and with enthusiasm) had arrived and that was that.
A week later, I was getting another neck rub under similar circumstances when suddenly, like Snoopy from behind the piano in A Charlie Brown Christmas, both cats appear from nowhere and commence to hollering, crying, bumping up against Deborah’s legs, and so on. It was nowhere near feeding time; they simply could not stand the fact that someone other than themselves was receiving attention. My spouse turns to talk to them—yes, Deborah talks to the cats, and they talk to her. She somehow seems to understand their communications, which consist entirely of an endless stream of unmet kitty needs. The salient point here is that when she directed her attention to this exchange, the neck rub stopped. Entirely. Again, I objected loudly. Deborah thought this was the height of humor. I didn’t. Seriously.
Every night when Deborah’s reclining on the couch and I’m relaxing in the easy chair as we decompress and watch TV, Ellis will jump up on her and begin expressing his admiration for her, purring and kneading her and ostentatiously rubbing his snout against her cheeks and so on. As if the bitter loneliness of my isolation in the La-Z-Boy were not enough, every now and then both of them will stop and turn to look at me, to make sure I’m noticing. This is just plain cruel.
Now, the thing to know about Ellis is that he is a big scaredy-cat. Ellis acts at all times as if someone is about to jump out and stomp him. No one ever has, mind you. But about once a year or so we’ll grab him up and take him to the vet, where among other things he gets subjected to an anal probe. Corralling him for the trip is always a two-person operation. Ellis completely forgives Deborah for her part in this abduction. But he does not forgive me. As a result, Ellis is always jumping at shadows, especially if I am the one casting the shadow. Deborah recognizes this flaw in his character and excuses it, saying Ellis’ philosophy is, “You can’t be too careful,” and asserting that there’s nothing wrong with that.
However. Recently I noticed that when Ellis is getting his nightly couch pet, if I twitch my foot just right, it startles him, at which point he jumps down and scampers off, thereby putting a premature end to this pleasurable activity.
My foot has been twitching a lot lately. Paybacks are a—well, you get my drift. It’s the little pleasures in life that make it so worth living.
at 10:21 AM