Cats: Stealthy, Enigmatic, Easily Insulted, Obsessive-Compulsive

It’s a sad commentary on one’s life when they can find nothing more exciting to write about than their pet cat. I should make a New Year’s resolution to become more exciting. Perhaps I’ll start a life of crime as a jewel thief, except that I’m terribly accident proned and not overly secretive. Maybe I’ll become a modern day Evil Kineivel (yes I know I misspelled his name, but you still know who I mean) I’ll start by pole vaulting across the creek in my backyard. Then I’ll work up to the Oconee River, Then the Strait of Gibralter. It’ll all be mapped out in my five year plan.

But tonight, with no pole in sight, I sit here quietly observing my cat, Anakin, a large silver long-haired male about eight months old, which makes him about 17 in cat age. (Yes, I know it’s only supposed to be seven cat years for every human year, but how does one account for the fact that they’re considered full grown at a year old? Seven year olds aren’t adults Don’t argue with me!.) Anakin has been meticulously bathing his left front paw for the past 15 minutes. He hasn’t touched the others. This specific limb doesn’t look particularly dirty. From the attention he’s giving it, one would think he needs a squirt of Spray n Wash and some Heavy Duty Tide. Maybe, like the three little kittens, he soiled this mitten eating pie. I don’t know, but if he keeps up this OCD behavior, he’ll need a real mitten because he’ll have no fur left on it.

Everyday or so, I run the pooper scooper through Anakin’s litter box. When I do, it never fails! He can be down by the creek disemboweling a squirrel. He could be in the top of a Live Oak. He could be wooing the calico female who’s been sending out mating signals. But as soon as he hears the scooper hit the sand, he’s magically standing there in front of the box, as if he’s been shot out of a rifle. He stands there staring at me, a sulky resentful sneer across his face. I’m sure if he were human, his arms would be folded and he’d be tapping his foot. The look he gives shows outrage, as if to say “I can’t believe you’re throwing that away! Do you know how long it took me to produce that! His face follows each drag, each scoop and each drop, back and forth until I’m done. His look shouts “You idiot, you’re throwing artwork into the garbage. All my efforts, all my best work is now garbage, because you can’t appreciate talent. If the DOG produced this, you’d have it bronzed, but who am I, just a lowly cat. There’ll be no more still-warm chipmunks left on YOUR doorstep. I’m going down to the Tate’s house to live.”

Even though Anakin is obviously smarter than Kelly, his canine counterpart, and he’s supposed to be afraid of her, he adores her. Even though she’s 110 pounds and could swallow Anakin like a piece of sushi, they’re best friends. They bathe each other, a nightly ritual. I wonder if he’ll show her the soiled left paw. Kelly doesn’t like any other cats, though. The rest of them are still fair game and definitely chase worthy. The longer she keeps them tree-ed, the better. Last week, Kelly began barking at the window, so I let her out where she took off after Silver-Bell Tate, a sweet gray and white male. As I walked out on the porch I could see that Kelly had him high up in the old elm tree. Jumping and barking, with her head tilted skyward, she was clearly having the time of her life threatening the poor neighbor kitty. Disturbed by all the commotion, Anakin left his napping locale and sauntered toward the tree to offer help or pass judgement. As he approached the elm, Kelly stopped barking long enough to acknowledge Anakin by touching her nose to his and quickly licking his head. Then, she proceeded to taunt poor Silver. What I found incredibly funny in the ironic sense, is that Anakin relaxed on his haunches, watching the whole spectacle as if it were a thrilling movie. I wonder what passers-by would think. Here’s a huge dog barking her lungs out at Cat #1-elm dwelling, terrified, potential dog dinner, while Cat#2- same color, same size, sat right next to the dog, unthreatened, unharmed and unafraid, entertained. I wonder what Silver Bell was thinking. “Hey, wait, Cat! You’re supposed to be on MY side!”

For more tales from the feline side, check back later. Or pray that I get a life soon.

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