Last week I wrote about our sweet, easygoing dog. Well, we also have a cat.
When Elsa was five weeks old, I picked her out of a feral litter born just outside the door of the rural office where I worked. Mama Cat had already produced a couple of litters with the resident playboy, Bobby – named for his bobtail.
Bobby liked his wandering lifestyle just fine, though it was after Elsa’s litter than he was scooped up, snipped, and returned to “the wild.” Mama Cat went home with a co-worker, and her kittens were given to carefully vetted friends. I chose Elsa because she was the tailless, quiet runt (a Manx).
First impressions are often deceiving. This fuzzy, sweet-faced, tiny kitten, who just barely filled my hands, was from hell.
Elsa scratched, bit, hissed and literally climbed the walls. She lunged from under the furniture to perforate ankles, and scrambled up the end of the mattress to make war on my hair. A few weeks later, I knew she was sick only because I could touch her bare-handed (turned out she had a fever of 102).
She has always been smart, learning to use her litterbox after a single training session, and years later figuring out to tip-toe through a room occupied by a movement-driven greyhound.
Elsa was NOT, however, lonely. She did not care for Moby, who I brought home when Elsa was two in hopes of cooling her temperament with feline companionship. Elsa greeted him with a battery of hisses, and when Mo grew to be twice her size his favorite pastime was, not surprisingly, sneak-attacking her every chance he got. Sadly, we lost Mo to uncontrollable diabetes about six years ago. Elsa was unconcerned by his sudden absence.
In fact, we started to see a lot more of Elsa. She had begun to mellow, and even started to sit on laps – but that does not necessarily mean that she wants to be touched (hard way = lesson learned). Reading? Eating? Working at the computer? Your lap belongs to Elsa. At all times. Until she decides she would rather rip off your arm than sit on you one second longer. Silly human – you will be notified of her change of mind exactly one nanosecond after she changes it.
You know that saying about dogs having owners and cats having staff? Hi, I’m Servant #1. For Elsa, it’s never enough.
Short version of her needs and demands:
- One litterbox, scooped daily and refreshed with new litter weekly? Not enough – she requires TWO such accommodations. Keep them spotless or she will find another place she alone deems acceptable.
- Fresh water? Yes, twice daily, in a clear glass loaf pan – preferred for some convoluted reason I can only guess at. Glass! Loaf! Pan! Or, be prepared to mop. A lot.
- Premium-priced kibble and twice-daily feedings of fresh boneless chicken breast? Lady, you better get in this kitchen and prepare my chicken or nobody, AND I MEAN NOBODY, gets a SECOND of peace!!
Dogs are about loving what they have. Cats are about having everything they love. It’s never enough.
But, sometimes, that does include cuddles. (Until she’s had enough.)
Elsa will be fifteen years old in August. She has the health and attitude of a cat half her age. Though, I am beginning to wonder if her incessant, bossy meowing might indicate hearing loss. Then again, every time we try to test her hearing, it’s hard to know whether or not she is just abiding her long-standing policy to ignore us.
Mostly, she looks at us with disdain, as if to say, “I’ve really had quite enough of you.”