Sunday, April 1, 2012

Running with the big, er, cats

There is another entity in our home that can sometimes be a formidable opponent.  The entity displays indifference, disapproval, demandingness, and an inflated sense of importance.  The entity cares not whether I have worked 7 hours on a coulibiac, or 7 minutes on a chicken hash, it wants my attention NOW.  The entity does not seem to know that the kitchen is my domain and that lying in front of the sink can only mean that one of us is going to get hurt.  It does not seem to be bothered by the fact that my husband would like to sit where the entity is now sprawled, lounging, napping, opening one eye ever so slightly to deliver an indifferent, one-eyed stare.

This is what we have to contend with:

The entity is my husband's cat, Kiwi.  My husband (yes, the same husband from our mutual recent kitchen capers) has many pet names for his feline entity: Kitters, Kitty, Fatso (I don't like this name particularly, but the entity is, after all in excess of 18 lbs.).  My husband dotes on her, scoops her up like a baby, cuddles her, tickles her under her chin, tickles her belly, touches noses with her.  So you can see where the problem of her grandiose sense of entitlement has originated.  Of course, she is a cat, and cats are predisposed to act in an entitled manner.  But this cat seems have an extraordinary sense of her own importance.  In fact, it is ever-expanding, rather like our universe.  And somewhere along the way, this cat got the impression that she was Ruler of the Universe.

I decided to call her "Her Largeness" as a sardonic nod to her, well, largeness, and to her assumption that she is royalty.  I try to display the same sense of indifference to her as she does to me.  I certainly have become very adept at displaying my annoyance with her.  But it is hard to be indifferent and annoyed with a cat who has claimed your basket of silk scarves as her new daybed, and lazily bathes herself there in the morning sun, then sprawls out for a nap belly up, legs akimbo.  So I try to be bothered by her presumptuousness and sense of entitlement instead.

It's hard to maintain.  Because she has a personality that can be quite engaging when she's making an effort.  And she's a talker.  She will plant herself in front of you and begin chirping at you until you have made eye contact.  And when she has your attention, she will jump up onto the sofa next to you and will begin purring.  But that's not all.  Along with the purring comes drooling and the look of a sick sort of devotion.  And if you are scratching her behind her ears, she will eventually shake her head, which transforms cat drool into a projectile of amazing accuracy.  And when you express your dismay and disgust, she will look at you as if to say, "Huh?  You mean you didn't see that coming?"

We've had other problems with Her Largeness.  She has not been kind to the other animals in the house.  She's a bit of a bully and tends to do a lot of hissing and growling at the other cat who lives here.  This cat, Birdie, has been uber-tolerant of all kinds of things, including raccoons, possoms and other big, burly cats in the neighborhood eating from her food bowl in the garage.  But Her Largeness will not concede to petite little Birdie.  Her Largeness remains a bully, even though Her Largeness has complete domain of the inside of the house and Birdie is a streetwise outdoor kitty who sleeps in a comfy spot in the garage.

Occasionally Her Largeness and Birdie spy each other through a crack in the door leading to the garage and Her Largeness makes her displeasure known.  Her Largeness seems to believe that she should rule over all domains, inside and out.  Birdie, meanwhile, remains watchful, having had plenty of former experiences with other bullies.  Her Largeness even seems to be annoyed by my sweet, elderly dog Jezzie, who gets along with everybody.   I'm beginning to see that Her Largeness is mostly in a state of annoyance with everybody and everything that challenges her sense of entitlement and her notion of territorial rights.  Which appears to cover just about the whole universe.

So we try to maintain a tentative and servile existence with Her Largeness.  We heed her many feline demands, attempting, feebly, to set limits at times.  And we provide guidance and remonstrance when appropriate.  Her Largeness constantly reminds us, most demandingly, that our efforts are futile.

And so it goes.

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