Thursday, June 6, 2013

Owned by a Siamese Cat

There is no easy way to say it; I'll just come right out and admit that I am owned by a Siamese cat. I own Piper, a Maine Coon, and as mellow as the day is long but Little Mister Mischief owns me. It must be true otherwise why am I out of bed and feeding him at 5:30? I can usually sleep through his little tricks to wake me but, endlessly inventive, he's thought of a new way.

My fingertips were over the edge of the mattress when I felt a little rough tongue. On the edge of consciousness I pulled my hand back and continued sleeping. Not long after, Little Mister jumped on the bed and started to roam around me. I knew enough to ignore him and then he started licking my shoulder. If I was wearing a summer nightie I could understand it; my shoulders just might be delicious. We are having  unseasonably cold nights and I am still wearing long sleeves to sleep. It is a very weird feeling to have a cat licking my nightie right by my ear. Yeah, I was up and I only have myself to blame.

Piper was found by a friend in a drainage pipe. We figure he and his sister were thrown from a car. He was only twelve ounces and covered with fleas when I got him. Once he stopped being bitten he took to biting me when we played. It is the nature of kittens to roll around with each other and nip. No other kittens around, he would nip my arm and scratch me. You might as well tell water not to be wet as soon as tell a seven week old cat not to bite. I knew I had to get him a companion.

I met a man in a well lighted parking lot by his place of work. There, in a box in his car, was a sleeping ball of fur. He had a vet's certificate showing he'd had his kitten shots and was healthy and cost less than a kitten from the Humane Society. Without waking him, I handed over the cash and brought a Siamese kitten home. He and Piper became fast friends, wrestling, nipping, sleeping together. My arms began to heal.

I used to have a little Siamese cat named Baby. He would snuggle under my arm or follow me around calling "maaa, maaa." My daughters were eleven and fifteen at the time and he was just what I needed, a dependent small creature who needed me and didn't act like a human adolescent. We thought he was so clever at the time. As he aged we realized he was one of the sweetest, albeit stupidest cats we'd ever known. He always found a lap to sit on. I remember one time when my parents were visiting from NY, my father found himself, maybe for the first time in his life, petting a cat on his lap and he could not figure out how he got there. That was my baby boy. Watching him decline and die was very difficult. This new cat was a different kettle of fur.

My first cats were named David and Anastasia. They were followed by Slinky, Parsley, and Pepper (another monumentally stupid kitten.) Marshy and Lily were named by my young daughters. Baby's real name was Gaston, named for the antihero in Beauty and the Beast because "every last inch of him was covered with hair".  I just couldn't think of a name for this new one and went through several until I found one that fit. Little Mister Mischief, Little Mister for short. His name says it all.

Little Mister is just about three years old and is getting affectionate in his own way, not that he ever actually cuddles. He has the quietest purr of any cat I've ever met. It is like the lightest of breaths, just on the edge of hearing. He loves drinking from the bathroom tap and frequently sleeps in the sink. His favorite activity is splashing the water in the toilet and I've trained myself to put the lid down or suffer the consequence of sitting on a wet seat. He frequently observes me in the shower by sitting on the edge of the tub between the liner and curtain and putting his head around to watch the shower spray.

I recently applied for a job that involved a lot of traveling. I didn't get it but I did a lot of thinking about what would happen to my cats. They would have to go to other homes. When telling my daughter about the rejection I said that I guess the cats would be staying. It did get me thinking, though. Could I live a life without cat hair and cat puke and a litter box? Could I start thinking of new carpet? Yeah, I could.

Wait! What? A pet is a commitment for life; their life, as long as it lasts. But as someone who has seen a long marriage end and has done a little dating, I am seeing it more as a relationship. Sometimes it's over or the fit just isn't right. I'm not about to throw my kitties from a car. We will live in harmony. I will brush the bed off before I sleep, keep a towel on the armchair and continue supporting Purina and Arm and Hammer. But as I sit here in the early morning, I know the seed of a cat free life has been planted.

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