There’s this incorrigible black kitten in my life now. Over the holidays, he pissed under the Christmas tree right on the tree skirt not once but twice and both times with me staring right at him. I. Dare. You. To. Freak. Out. Woman. I did, in fact, freak out, having no tolerance for turf wars or any pissy acting out. He’s had more timeouts than all three of my kids combined and he still thinks it’s super cool to jump on Eesa, evoking yowls and hisses the likes of which the cauldrons of hell would cherish. Eesa waddles through the house, fat female cat, black with white chest and a huge trunk full of squatting rights perfect for kittens to transgress. I had no idea she could make some of the noises she now makes on a regular basis. My mornings are even more full now. Sipping coffee, relaxing into the routine and Slam! YOWWWWWWWLLL, hiss, pounce, hiss, sounds of claws scrambling on hardwood floor like Tom and Jerry running in place before bursting out of the room. Then all goes quiet. Sighs. Dumb cat. Deep breath, sip coffee, SLAM…mwwwwwwwwwwwwwOWwwwwww! hissssssssssss, snarl, silence. Chuckle. He doesn’t learn. In a span of 8 minutes I get to hear the pounce, yowl, hiss, silence routine 4 different times. Only after I scold the monster and put him in another timeout (his little room) does peace ensue. He does need to respect his elders even just a little bit.
Tootsie is so brilliant and willful it renders him completely and utterly stupid, a slave to his impulses, every rustle a challenge, every nook and cranny of bookshelves, cabinets and buffet offerings an invitation to trouble. Just when I think I’ve reached ultimate transcendence, he comes along and conjures murderous outbursts of anger the likes of which I’d forgotten existed anywhere in the darker domains of my psyche. Apparently, I’m still a real human being. Very. Real.
The fact that his adorability ranking is higher than any other aspect of his wide range of traits is rather fortunate. And I’m a card-carrying member of the cat-lovers club.
For one thing, he has this sweet habit of putting his paw on your cheek right before rubbing his whiskers, nose/cheek silky fur wonder hard against your face and then burrowing under the chin, purr-motor on so full blast the windows rattle. Try to put him down when he’s in cuddle mode, do it. See if you succeed. He’s mastered the art of defying gravity while scrambling for the back of your shoulder and continuing to purr full blast. Didn’t know there was a “back” of the shoulder? There is. Tootsie finds it on all people he loves, no matter how thin they are!
I’ve become pretty handy with a kitten on one shoulder and a water bottle in the other, standing over my stove, pouring the water into a pot while begging the little demon to be still.
I’m not known as a pushover. But Tootsie’s managed to turn me into exactly that with random outbursts of complete raving redheaded lunatic. And it’s a good thing. There’s something about chronic illness that puts the spirit in slumber-mode. Two steps forward, 3 back. After a while, the thought of raging against anything is fantasy. Even cuddling is effort. I’m doing well to go shopping and come home and unload groceries without falling over at this point. (There’s an “AND” in-between every one of those points because it’s that difficult.) Depression can be inevitable sometimes. But only for about 2 minutes because this black monster cat comes pouncing. Even if all he does is make me angry, he’s roused me beyond the discouragement zone and into a more stirred, active flash of spirit. It shifts, transmuting into a force for change: “There has GOT to be something I can do to improve my stamina.” And that’s no small challenge since the normal channels for increasing stamina make this particular illness worse. But that determination to get what he wants, it’s infectious. Some faint stirring of remembrance of that imp-force within comes bubbling up. He’s a gift from the darker gods of mischief and resilience, demanding I not forget my animal self, the layer of soul that unabashedly unfolds into life without too much concern for consequences, grabbing the goodies of comfort and fun whenever I’m able, purring ’til the windows rattle and shake and yowling at restriction.
After all, better days are coming…