The Origins of My Cats C. and P.!

Jack GoblinStarred Page By Jack Goblin, 17th Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1_8v6zg4/
Posted in Wikinut>Humour>Funny Stories

When cats come into your life, lots of things go out. Loneliness. Sanity. Peace and quiet. Unclawed furniture...

Where Cats Come From...

I have written previously (and rather extensively) about my cats, C. and P. (to continue to use their noms de guerre. Since they don't answer to their real names, anyway). These two fur-balls are providing me with plenty of anecdotes. Also aggravation, confusion, expense, worry, and more hairballs than I ever wanted to see. And, to be fair, laughs and affection, as well.

The question arises, though: Where did these two cats come from, and what are they doing in my house? I ask myself the latter question a lot, especially when they get me up at 3:00 AM because they're hungry. As to the first question: Well, to begin with, the daddy cat has to love the momma cat VERY much...

HOW Many Cats???

But moving past that most basic step, and getting serious: This current menage a trois started in sorrow, with the death of my previous cat. Naturally I was heartbroken. After a while of moping around and staring at bags and cans of unused cat food, I got in touch with my veterinarian to see if there were any cat owners in the area who could use some of those things. Since I wasn't planning to anymore, and it would make no sense to let it go to waste or throw it out.

The vet got back to me with a "Yes", she DID know of a woman who could use free cat food; because she had a dozen cats. This wasn't a case of cat hording, though. At least, not first hand. The woman - Julie - had had a few cats of her own. Then her mother had died, and she had inherited all HER numerous cats. Despite living in a small apartment Julie had been taking care of them while trying to find homes for the massive brood, and food was always a need.

The 'finding homes' bit was becoming urgent, though, because Julie would be moving out of town soon and could only keep two or three cats. The rest needed somewhere to go. So she and my/her vet were checking out all possibilities. It was perhaps too soon, but would *I*, the vet asked, be interested in a free rescue cat?

THAT many cats!

Obviously the only sane, rational answer was "No". It not only WAS too soon, but what intelligent person, still reeling from the death of a beloved pet, would set themselves up for more grief in the future? Such an event brings home very brutally that cats, dogs, most pets don't live as long as their human owners; and when they die it tears out a piece of the heart. Getting a new pet would insure future pain, whatever the benefits. Logically, emotionally, I should have said no.

On the other hand, the house WAS awfully quiet and lonely... And there was always the happy (?) chance I might die before any new cat did...

I said I would bring a few bags of cat food that were near their expiration date to Julie, and we'd see what happened. The vet offered to meet me there to help, if help was needed. So one afternoon she and I arrived at Julie's door. We knocked, entered... and the result was impressive. Twelve cats panicking at the sight of strangers and leaping frantically around a small apartment is truly a sight to behold. And more than a little unsettling.

Enter... C.!

Within seconds most of the cats had disappeared into a back room. Two large orange tabbies, however, apparently deciding we weren't cat burglars, came forward and let us pet them. In fact, DEMANDED that we pet them. They were extremely friendly. Not to mention pushy. They were also two of the cats Julie wanted to keep.

Still, that we were being accepted by these two cats encouraged a few of the more courageous of their fellows who hadn't disappeared yet to at least watch and see what we were up to. When that turned out to be mainly sitting and petting and talking calmly - AND handing over food - some came forward to investigate further. One of these brave cats was a domestic shorthair neutered male with black and brown fur who actually, cautiously, let me touch him. He was so skinny the bones of his spine and hips were sharp under my hand as I stroked him. However, that he WAS willing to let me pet him was a very good sign, especially as Julie said he was normally a bit shy. She introduced him to me as 'C.', and indicated he was one of the cats that had to go.

Efforts to bring out other cats Julie couldn't keep and thought I might like to see resulted in bloodshed. Hers, unfortunately, as the cats struggled and scratched and broke free and ran. Clearly, some of them hadn't been told about this 'rescue' business, or weren't keen on the idea. I still had doubts about it, too; but having cats around again felt good. In the end I decided, against all reason and sense, to have a trial run with one of them. And since C. was at hand...

So the vet and I loaded C. into a carrier I'd brought - him going "Wait a minute! What? Hold on, I didn't sign up for this!!!" - and I took him home.

One Scared Kitty.

While C. was in the carrier, completely dumbfounded at this turn of events - and probably wishing he had a file so he could cut his way out - I set up a 'nest' in a quiet room. Litterbox, food, water, box with soft rags in it. I put the carrier in the room and opened it... and C. refused to come out. "OK, at your leisure, that's fine" I said. I made sure the window was open enough to provide ventilation but not enough for a cat to push through the screen and escape. That the food and water bowls were on the other side of the room from the litter box. And that everything was as comfortable as possible. Then I turned a light on so the cat could see when it got dark, went out, and closed the door, giving him quiet and time to figure out what to do.

I went to bed that night, wondering if this was a good idea. Also, based on my knowledge of cats, wondering what disaster I would find in the morning.

The next morning I went in to see how he was... and there was no visible sign of C. He had apparently disappeared from a 10 x 10 foot room. The screen on the window was intact, so he hadn't escaped. And the door had been closed, so he hadn't gotten out. He HAD to be in there, somewhere, I just couldn't see him. Thinking "Claude Rains", I searched around and around and finally found him squeezed into a VERY narrow space between a container with a blanket over it and the wall. And he hissed at me when I lifted the blanket to make sure that was where he was.

"You know," I said, "this is not the way to win friends and influence people!" Clearly, more time to calm down was needed. So I told him that if he got stuck back there to let out a yowl and I'd come rescue him. I then checked the food - untouched - and the litter box - ditto - and left again, closing the door.

Twelve hours later I looked in on him again. C. was out from behind the container. And, with perverse cat logic, had eschewed the bed to huddle in the carrier. But the litter box had been used, and a few of the food pellets eaten.

This was reassuring. So I left the door open a bit so he could get out and explore if he wished. But exploring didn't seem to be his forte. He stayed in his room for the next few days; and whenever I passed by, the most I normally saw of C. was a small eye peering cautiously around the edge of the door, watching me. I tried coaxing him out by talking and flashing treats; I tried staring back to see what he would do (he just kept staring until *I* had to look away); I even tried dragging a piece of string back and forth in front of the door. Nothing worked. I imagine C's thought processes went something "Where's Julie? Where's the other cats? What is this place? Who is this guy? OMG, am I in the hands of ... CAT SACRIFICING SATAN WORSHIPERS???"

It's Not Paranoia if They're Actually After You...

This or something similar appears to be a major concern to some cats. They regard all humans they don't know - and some they do - as potential predators, capable of engaging in cat-ending mayhem without warning. It would seem cats are hereditary conspiracy theorists. And as to the idea there are people with nothing better to do than dress up in ceremonial robes, speak movie-style Latin, and seek to please Old Scratch by feline oblation; I'm sure cats would say "It's POSSIBLE", and insist on the need to be cautious. If not out and out paranoid.

However, paranoid or not, cats are also curious; it is a built-in trait. And eventually, when a day or two passed and nothing happened, C. couldn't resist: He came out and and began looking around to see where he was. Usually when I wasn't there. Or at least when he thought I wasn't. Suddenly seeing me walking around, or him turning a corner and finding me unexpectedly present were at first enough to send him scampering back to his room in a full blown panic.

But after a while, when I made no hostile moves, and kept handing out food and water, C. began to relax around me. It was a red letter day when he allowed me to pet him once more; and an even more auspicious day when he actually tentatively climbed into my lap as I sat at my computer. Finding I didn't immediately grab a sacrificial knife and consign his soul to the Lord of Flies, C. finally began to conclude maybe he was safe, after all.

C. Makes Himself at Home.

Once he got over his terror, in fact, C. soon decided the situation was rather to his liking. Before, he'd been in competition with 11 other cats for food, water, and soft places to sleep. Now, it was his, all his! I could almost hear him cackle maniacally at feeding time as he ate everything he could and begged for more, then went off and had a nap on my bed.

He also began (or perhaps continued, since I don't know what he was doing at Julie's place) his career as an Engine of Destruction by knocking things off shelves, scratching furniture despite my having a Scratching Pole, and trying to trip me as I went up and down the stairs, once he figured out what stairs were. Indeed, when he realized there were TWO floors here he could access, and much more room in which to run than in Julie's apartment, he became a blur of activity. As least in those few minutes when he wasn't asleep or eating.

If a burglar had broken in at night back then I wouldn't have been able to tell over the sounds of the cat dashing around and causing damage. With luck the burglar would have tripped over the cat if he tried going down the stairs, and that would have finished him rather than me.

C... and the other one...

A week passed, and C. and I were settling into domestic bliss. Or at least mutual tolerance tinged with suspicion and moments of confusion on both sides; in other words, the normal situation when living with a cat. Then my vet got in touch with me again. In part she wanted to make sure C. and I hadn't killed each other yet, and that neither of us had decided to return the other. Reassured on that point, she brought up a problem she and Julie had run into. They'd found homes for all the other cats that had to go... except for P.

P. was a nervous, high strung cat, another neutered male, and he was all the more nervous now because most of the other cats had disappeared. Finding a place for him was proving difficult; he needed a quiet home, without children or dogs, so he could calm down. He and C. were half brothers - same father, different mothers - and had grown up together, so being in the same house might be beneficial for both. Did I want another cat?

Obviously again the only sane, rational response was, "No". I had one cat with whom I seemed to be compatible; why risk getting another, and this one perhaps a male (or at least retired male) prima dona who might go PsychoKitty, crawl up into the box spring of a bed, and refuse to come down even to urinate or defecate? Who might hiss and spit and attack me simply for breathing? Two cats would be double the expense and trouble. There was no reason for me to take P.

So of course I went and got him.

And Now, Enter P.!

Relations with P. were different from the first than with C. C. had only suspected I might be a Satan worshiping cat sacrificer; P. knew such was the case FOR A FACT, and he was having none of it. Julie had put him in a carrier for me ahead of time because it was doubtful she or I would have been able to corral him with me there. Unfortunately that meant I had to get him out of the carrier once I made it home so I could take it back to her; I couldn't let him come out at his own pace. I tried gently tipping the carrier to get him out; then not so gently; and finally had to wind up shaking P. out like catsup from the bottle, he'd dug in so hard.

We were off to a bad start.

I had set up another 'nest' in a different room, much the same as C.'s. But this time, forewarned of P.'s fearful nature, I'd used a very tall but narrow box opened at one end, laid on its side with rags on the far end: An artificial cave. Which, almost the moment he hit the ground after I finally got him out of the carrier, he dashed into. Up to this point I really hadn't been able to see what sort of a cat I was getting, beyond that he had gray fur. Looking into the box and peering down to the end I could see he was a small cat, rather pretty, with patches of white on his muzzle, throat, paws, and chest, he had huge green eyes... and a death ray stare which was focused on me.

"Uh... right," I said, "Sorry about that. I'll just... leave now and... let you... Um... Litterbox, food, water: Make yourself at home. Literally."

I retreated and closed the door. But not all the way, wedging it open a bit so he and C. could tell the other was there by sight and smell but not touch, in case they needed some time to get used to each other again. C.'s attitude towards the sudden appearance of his half-brother, though, didn't appear hostile; in fact it seemed to be along the lines of "Oh, he's here too? Will this cut into my feeding times? If not, then I think I'll take a nap..."

It was overwhelming family support. Not.

I took the carrier back to Julie, promised I'd give P. a fair trial, and returned to my now two cat home.

An Even More Scared Kitty

For three days P. stayed in the back of his box, not coming out that I could see, refusing food, maybe water, and - most troubling - to use the litterbox. He was a scared little kitty; I'm sure if he could have figured out how to use a phone he'd have called 911, the ASPCA, and whoever in the Vatican is responsible for dealing with cat kidnapping potential Satanists. On the fourth day, though, I saw signs that Nature had won out and P. had emerged from his hidey-hole long enough to take care of business. At both ends, so to speak. I was relieved by this. So, I imagine, was he. And since C. seemed unconcerned about P. being around, and P. didn't seem interested in fighting, I decided to leave the door to P.'s room open from then on so he could get out and explore if he wanted.

The next morning when I went in to check on him, P. had disappeared. He wasn't just hiding, as C. had been, he was definitely out of his room and somewhere else. I found him in an upstairs bedroom, as far back under the bed as he could go. "What, playing hide and seek is a family pastime?" I asked, laying down on the floor and holding the bedclothes up so I could see him. He refused to reply, just kept trying to set a historical record for the longest stare at me without blinking, ever.

I brought his litterbox up, as well as his food dish and water bowl, and put them on a sheet laid on the floor by the bed. "If you prefer it up here, fine. Don't make a mess and don't claw the furniture." I told him, then left him to get used to his new room. Leaving the door open in case he wanted to look around.

I came back later and he'd disappeared. Again.

I found him in another bedroom, hiding under THAT bed. "Guy, give me a break," I said, repeating the 'laying on the floor holding bedclothes up' routine to talk to him. "Don't you think this is silly?"

Apparently he did not, as P. proceeded to take hiding - or at least, trying to find a hiding place - to a new level every time he had a chance. Behind toilets, behind couches, UNDER couches, in shelves, under dressers, switching back and forth between the beds, behind drapes, on window sills: Where-ever I was not, he tried to hide there. Perhaps I shouldn't have sought him out each time, but I wanted to make sure he wasn't somewhere he might have gotten hurt or outside. AND make sure he hadn't crawled up into one of the bed box springs to do unspeakable things there. I also wanted to prove to him that while I could find him no matter where he went, I had no intention of hurting him and he could relax. Which of course he didn't do.

And C. offered no help. Once he concluded his brother had no interest in playing, running around, or wrestling, C. washed his paws of him, ate the food I'd laid out for P. - I caught him at it, several times - and went off to find something fun to do. Like knocking over potted plants.

Calming Down. A bit.

Eventually after a few days P. ran out of new places to hide in and went back to cowering under the bed he'd first set up camp under. I would pop in every few hours, make sure he was still there, and try to reassure him and form some sort of bond. I rolled tennis balls across his field of vision to see if he'd chase them, wiggled strings at him, brought C. in and let P. see me playing with and petting him, I told him jokes ("How many cats does it take to screw in a light bulb? Don't be silly, cats don't screw in light bulbs, that's what the human servants are for"); but none of this worked. P. was a pretty unbending cat. C. had become a semi-normal house cat in a week; ten days after he arrived, P. was still thinking 'Satanist" and looking for escape routes.

It's difficult when your cat insists on believing the worst of you. And it's not as if you can persuade them otherwise by showing them a church attendance record.

But even steel can bend; and as time went on - and I didn't arrange any Black Masses with 'cat' as the offering - P. began wondering if he was right. He moved from hiding under the head of the bed to hiding under the foot, which made it easier to see and talk to him. Several efforts on my part to try to take advantage of this to slowly and gently pet him went no where, as he would back away. But eventually he stood still and let me caress his ears; and from then on, things moved... well, actually pretty slowly, too. P. took his time making sure it was safe. And he did it, HIS way. When he finally came out from under the bed and began exploring, if he encountered me he wouldn't run immediately, he'd stare at me as if to ask "What are YOU doing here?"

My response was usually to talk to him calmly, and/or otherwise ignore him. After a while, he just accepted that I was around and didn't seem to be going away. He would edge around me and go about his business. Keeping an eye out in case I made a grab for him.

On the family - cat family, that is - side, after he got out from under the bed, P. and C. soon made up, and as long as I wasn't in sight, romped about like bosom buddies. Or bulls in a china shop. I got used to the sound of running cats, a sudden CRASH or WHAM, and then the sound of cats scurrying off in panic. And having to go and see what they'd done, and clean it up. If one cat can make a lot of noise and do damage, two cats increase things geometrically, if not exponentially.

Eventually, P. concluded that I might be a fallen away, non-practicing Satanist, and it was therefore OK to associate with me. In moderation. This lead to less strained relations, more petting, and the great day when P. and C. both climbed into my lap and settled down for a nap. Which I think was the same day but just a bit later when one of them said to the other, "This lap ain't big enough for the two of us, pilgrim!" and they had an all out, throw down fight for possession right on top of me. At that point, I knew I had two cats. And they had me.

And Now...?

All that was two years ago, and now we are one big, sometimes happy family. P. tends to be affectionate, but is still occasionally standoffish, paranoid, and determinately eccentric. He's also found better places to hide; I suspect he's crawling up into the interiors of some of my recliner chairs and sleeping there.

As it turned out, C. was so thin not merely because of competition for food, but because he had dental problems as well. It eventually started hurting him a lot to eat. Now, five pulled teeth later, at several hundred dollars per tooth, and various cleanings that are almost as expensive, he's having no problems chowing down; as his rapidly increasing girth proves. "You are the most expensive free cat, EVER!!" I complain after each dental appointment and purchase of the special and costly hypo-allergenic stuff he eats now. His response tends to be "Meal-time? Is that what you're saying, it's time to eat? Food, food, let's GO!!"

He's got a one track mind; and he can't understand English worth a darn.

Living - maybe - With Cats.

And as the third member of this triumvirate, I spend a lot of time cleaning out litter boxes, picking up things that got knocked over, and screaming at the two hairball horfers "WHY are you doing that? STOP it!!" This line applies to them dashing in front of me and then coming to a dead stop for no apparent reason while I'm walking, forcing terrific contortions on my part to avoid stepping on them; trying to weave between my feet as I go up and down stairs, even though I've warned them if they DO trip me I'll take them with me; demanding I feed them RIGHT NOW while dancing frantically around on the floor between me and their food bowls, making it impossible for me to do so; and numerous other situations. NUMEROUS numerous other occasions. It is a wonder I have not died of apoplexy, trying to deal with their shenanigans. Or actually fallen down the stairs yet thanks to their efforts. Which brings us back to the happy (?) chance that I'll die first.

Maybe they're trying to help with that.



Media Source
: Except for the pictures of C. and P., the source is Wikimedia Commons. But as to the pictures of my two furry room-mates, those - like the cats themselves - are mine. :)

Tags

Annoying Feline Behavior, Cat Food, Cats, Humor, Pet, Pets, Rescue Cat, Veterinarian

Meet the author

author avatar Jack Goblin
Was born. Haven't died yet. Don't intend to anytime soon.

Thank you much for reading my articles. I hope they brought you pleasure and enlightenment. :)

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
17th Aug 2014 (#)

It must be cat day, this is the second cat article I moderated this morning!

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author avatar Mariah
17th Aug 2014 (#)

You've really put me through my emotional paces with this one, firstly sadness at the loss of your cat, empathy with the C and then the P settling in stages, euphoria when they finally decided you were an okay guy, and hysterical laughter at some of your absolutely knock out comic dialogue...to highlight but one of the many crackers ''whoever in the Vatican is responsible for dealing with cat kidnapping potential Satanists' ...this stuff is awesome writing Jack, go on write the book..it's a best seller before it hits the shelves..trust me on that..thanks for another brilliant share!!

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author avatar Margaret Michel
19th Aug 2014 (#)

This was so great! Wonder if C. and P. know how lucky they were to land in such a great place!

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author avatar Jack Goblin
20th Aug 2014 (#)

I am sure, if C. and P. spoke English, they'd insist *I* was the lucky one, to be allowed to live in their house and serve them. Cats are such egotists...

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author avatar Mariah
20th Aug 2014 (#)

Had to come back for another read..the images are just great
too.

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author avatar Joyce Singha
22nd Aug 2014 (#)

Never read so much about cats. Phew! And I've never even had a cat or dog or any animal in my life. I write in a similar fashion but about my kids and teenagers. Do stop by at my Blog some time. Your cats remind me of my kids. Nonetheless, Jack Goblin, you are a great writer.

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