My cat Callie lived to the ripe old age of 16, which means that in human age she was already the equivalent of a super crabby, frail, old lady, obviously near death, except that she still had all her teeth and wasn’t afraid to use them on you. There is wisdom in removing the teeth of the elderly. Hours of fun playing Hide and Go Teeth. Even though I might have been gently petting Callie, she would freak out at any moment and decide to use me as a hunted chew toy/scratch post. As much fun as this was for me, pain and scarring usually overrode and reminded me that my cat really was some evil demon spawn who was perhaps rabid or at least incredibly insane. I tried to placate her by bringing her good toys, couches and chairs were her favorites, but she seemed to like the taste of human blood better than polyfil. Her best periods of non-psychotic behavior were mostly when I came home at the end of the day, where she’d let me pet her for a few minutes in exchange for following her to the food bowl so I could fill it to overflowing. This was a joyful, if brief, moment. After that, it was pretty much Tourette’s Tooth Kitty.
I did love my cat, though. Callie, a name that is embarrassingly the most common for a calico, had been in our family since her early cathood, but didn’t come specifically to me until the great family diaspora a few years back (I named the previous family cat Gregoria, but she liked to play in the road. That didn‘t work out so well.). Callie’s acquirement was odd for me, since I have enough trouble taking care of myself on a cold and windy day (honestly, I’m much better). Growing up, she’d been a doll. Even in between the later cat crazies, she could actually be a real sweet little beast.
Callie and I had a good symbiotic relationship where I fed her and cleaned up after her vomitings and other digestive misfirings in return for someone to talk to other than the mean woman in my head that tells me I suck. If she was especially sick (the cat, not the mean woman), we’d play the exciting home game called “Guess Where I Puked”. I never really won that.
My brother Jay has decided that if he ever gets a cat, he’ll name her Pandora, so she can use Pandora’s box. He’s so clever. Of course, cleaning a cat’s litter box is like being on an archaeological dig or panning for gold, but it‘s never a pleasant excursion and you don’t really want the treasure. I’ve mostly overcome the gagging. These events and the abuse from the cat have even inspired me to write thoughtful odes such as “Kitten of Evil” and “Gata Sacrificia”, though she wouldn’t have been impressed even if she could have understood the thoughtful lyrics (the humans aren‘t so impressed either).
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