I got a grey striped kitten for my 5th birthday. She, as all hateful animals do, lived basically forever. Eventually, she went on a hunger strike and evaporated into another plane of meanness altogether. At least I like to believe happens in the back room of vet’s offices to beloved, if not belove-ING, suffering pets. Victoria left me with one last parting hiss and scratch though. Charmer. This being my experience with cats, my relationship with the species in general is the same as my relationship with babies. They’re cute as long as they go home to their own people when it’s poopy-time. I don’t want one living with me. They poop where they live. So, somewhere else preferably, for all of that.
Then 2014 happened. I was homesick, weak from dog-starvation (dogs are my jam, my childhood dogs always loved me back). My coworkers, who seemed happy, were all cat people with convincingly chill cats. My little guy, Vlad (the Impaler), was inching dangerously close to the end of his little Hedghog life span and was never much for unconditional love. I had pet fever, and they make no antibiotics for furry cuteness. Once you catch it, it’s in your blood forever. Like Herpes.
You know that moment in horror movies? Where the sexy girl next door who lost all her chill when her boyfriend appeared is sneaking down the hall of the spooky house? And the ghost/demon/vampire/furby is right behind her, but she can’t hear it over her obnoxiously loud breathing and you yell at the deaf screen for her to run away, but your sound advice is ignored and she dies screaming suspiciously orgasmicaly? That’s how you should feel when I tell you that in that vulnerable state, I went to visit the shelter just to donate some treats and pet some cats.
I didn’t even have a chance.
And then, the pound visit equivalent of leaving the spooky house to hide alone in the mysterious tool shed, I went in the door marked “Discount Cats”*
Some aggressive suitors tried to clean my glasses with their foreheads; and from my blindspot a huge, limping, scruffy beast crept up behind me, sniffed my elbow, and promptly resumed his snooze near my thigh.
The bio on the wall told me he was 6 years old, and he’d been at the pound for three of them. He had been hit by a car, and someone turned him in. He was banged up, but functional, huge, scruffy and already been disarmed, er, declawed. By cruel trick of fate or morbid sense of humor, he was named “Otto”. After some shady dealings to circumvent the letter, but not the spirit, of Human Society and our apartment building’s law, Otto came home with us.
He took a victory lap around our plce, bad hip clicking, tail crooked but swishing. The sight of a sink sparked a memory. He expressed this by making an assortment of not dainty noises at us and darting into the bathroom. He must have thought we were total idiots. “MWUUUURRR (sink) MWOWER (on), BROWWWWWM (cat) BRRRUUUURRR (drink). I’m pointing right at it. Get it together Humans or this is never going to work.”
Two years Otto has me completely sink trained.
Every. Single. Day. I wake up, potty dance my way to the loo. When I reach the door, Otto bursts past and sits on the toilet. Always on the toilet. He looks at the sink, and I make it dribble. He doesn’t move. He looks at the tub. I make THAT dribble. He doesn’t move some more, while my eyeballs float deeper into my cranium. He considers both dribbles while I attempt to meld my knees into one single leak proof mer-limb. Eventually he chooses. If you put him in front of a dribble he yowls like his whiskers got caught in my mer-limb. Then he picks the other dribble.
Who rescued who indeed.
*The door did not say “Discount Cats” it said “The adoption fees these cats has been reduced from $100 to $25. They are spayed/neutered, and current on shots like any other adoptable animal.” For Real.