Catitude: The Cat’s Domestication of Mankind

The Crank

I have cats, two. One is a fat old, crotchety female. The other, male, is a one-year-old walking bag of shedding-fur. I like cats, for one main reason: Steven Hawking couldn’t find the infinitesimal shit they give about anything. I love that. If I wanted some smelly drooly stupid animal to act as if it were a new appendage, I would get a dog. Dogs are for people who need that unconditional love. It’s like living with a two year old for twenty years. No thanx. Bad enough I have to deal with Zano visiting now and again.

Leave cats a box of sand, a bowl of water, a bowl of food, and they couldn’t care less where you are. You go away for three days and you come back and they still insist on an appointment to see them. Upon returning from vacation, my wife goes straight to the female’s favorite room when we get home. Then some time later she will emerge and announce, “The cat will see you now.” The old adage is true: dogs have masters, cats have staff.

These are my fourth and fifth cats, respectively. The only problem I see with cats is their friggin’ tiny lifespan. It’s getting harder to let them go. But for every one that passes, another one needs rescuing—to live a fat-assed Crank-lifestyle. My cats live good, too good. Many times I could swear I heard the theme from The Godfather when I would approach the female. She would be sitting there, looking like a large black furry turkey on Thanksgiving, always sarcastically purring, “Why come to me? What have I done to deserve such generosity?”

Many years ago we had a vet who espoused the use of a specific brand of food, which we adhered to religiously. We found out too late, how the cats expand on this stuff. It was like industrial strength Miracle-Gro-Nip. My other cats got so big, passing Bobcats were like, WTF? We keep them inside now. The bobcats, that is, they’re too scared of our cats in the yard. I had a salesman in the house once and my last cat, DJ, jumped up on the counter next to him. I thought he was gonna shit his pants. He asked what it was. I said, “just my cat.” He said it was a beast, unlike any cat he had ever seen. My cats also have a filtered flowing fresh water system, courtesy of my wife. Only the best for my fat-assed little friends.

Finding A Friend:

The way you meet your furbag may differ, but all of mine have been rescues. Some from the local pound and others find you. Many years ago, my son, then about nine, found a box of kittens in the woods. He came home with them and dumped them on the lounge I was on at the time. Four of them cried and sat, but one snuck his way up my leg, inserting micro-mini claws into my flesh along the way, finally circling himself on my shoulder and went to sleep. “Oh well,” I said, “I guess this one’s mine.” That was Bullitt. Little did I know that as he grew, and GREW, he would attempt to reunite with his favorite spot every evening. The problem being, now I had a three-foot long, fifteen pound cat on my chest. He made watching TV almost impossible. My wife’s longtime friend, Night, came to her from the pound, DJ from a litter of kittens from a relative, and our latest cat-ditions, Beeoch and Cannolli, also came from the pound.

BEEOCH:

The female is named something we never call her, some French name, Minette. My wife will use it occasionally. The cat ignores it. I call her Beeoch.. She will actually answer to this. She especially likes it when I belch her name…the cat, not my wife. My wife hates it when I belch, Beeoch. Sorry, but it’s like the perfect word to belch. Try it now. You will never belch another word again. Warm soda will help with this procedure.

The thing about Beeoch, she may be old but she remains incredibly powerful. She is Polydactyl, having like 14 front claws, some of which have no ‘fingers’ to retract into. So they are out at all times, making her sound like she’s wearing heels on tile. Just try to trim her nails. She will actually take the pose of a mini rhinoceros, head down, front legs bowed, snorting, while trying to knock your head off your neck. She makes frightening noises too. She is not above peeing on you if she is mad enough, so large towels are in order at trim time. Like Civil War surgeons, who got very quick at no anesthesia amputations, you get rather fast at nail trimming…especially, when it’s like trying to trim Linda Blair’s nails during the Exorcist.

She is also frightening when her ‘friend’ comes to see her. A neighborhood feline stops by nightly to piss her off by spraying the rock outside the back door while she is looking right at her. The sounds the Beeoch makes are absolutely otherworldly. I want to let her out just once, so I can see the other cat’s face, as she noticed Beeoch an inch from her face in full mini-rhino form. After the visitor shits her brains out, she would likely try running as Beeoch kicks her ass. My wife won’t let me, but agrees it would be fun. One day, perhaps…..I think my wife has that conference coming up. Hmmm.

When she wants me to pet her, she will come up to the arm on my chair, and alternately stare at me and the remote on my lap, until I move it out of her way. Even then, I only get her ass. She faces away so I can scratch her back. True Catitude.

CANNOLI:

The other cat is named after the popular Italian pastry. Why, you may ask? Well, the first time I picked him up at the shelter, he turned upside down in my hands and looked just like a cannoli, albeit a furry one. His coloring is toasty in the middle with white ends. He is long-haired, and almost too cute to be a male. I had just lost DJ and needed a new furball-hocking fur-shedding friend. Besides, he was gonna get wacked, so he came home with us. I thought it was cute the way he would come to me and lick my hand when I went to pet him. He would jump on the chair behind my wife and start to lick her hair. “Oh, isn’t that cute.” As time went by we realized he had a ‘licking’ thing. Totally uncontrollable. My wife won’t let him near her unless he stops it. I thought it was no big thing until one night, as I sat on my chair shirtless, he jumped up and started licking my chest hair. I grabbed his little face in my hands, gently closing his mouth, and said, “Do you need therapy?” His answer was to force his little tongue out from between his clenched teeth, extend it WAY over to the side, and lick my hand.

Eventually he moved onto other obsessive-compulsive cat-type behavior (OCCTB—there, I beat you to it, Mik). Like sharpening his claws on everything EXCEPT the expensive deluxe rope-covered carpeted base scratching post I bought. Luckily, he is terminally cute. He’s like the male model that can’t go by a window without looking at his reflection. So he’s really a Narcissistic, OCD Italian-pastry looking cat. Okay, I could use a little help with that acronym, Mick. I’d have to take an extra ADHD med to figure that one out.

USES:

Some cats make great pest control. As we have no rodent issues, little Cannoli has taken to making it his life’s work to rid my abode of all forms of tiny livestock. Mainly crickets. We had an issue last year where they were coming in to cool off when the ambient summer temperatures reached “melt” levels. They came from under the stove, which was also a great 50s sci-fi movie. After lights out, it was Cat Rodeo time. He would sit at the entrance to the kitchen in the dark and spring into action when he saw one. Crunch-belch-next. We no longer seem to have a problem with crickets. He also doesn’t seem to eat a lot of kibble that time of year. I would awake and walk in to see him on the kitchen floor, upside down, spread eagle, fast asleep, tongue hanging out—just like me thanksgiving evening.

Cats have another use in the desert. They seem to be immune to scorpions. Beeoch found one to play with one evening. As I watched her on a corner in the dark, I was concerned because, well, the fact is that Beeoch just doesn’t play. She sits eats, shits, pees, and sleeps, so this was aberrant behavior. So, as I got up and turned on the light, she came sauntering over to me holding up a front paw. At the end of one of her polydactyl claws she had centrally-impaled a small scorpion. She gave me the please-remove-this-fucking-thing, post-haste, as-I-am-no-longer-amused look.

FOOD:

Give a cat what it wants to eat. Try a few things. You’ll know which one it prefers. Namely, the one it doesn’t puke up on the carpet. When it’s all gone in a few seconds, that’s the one. The cool thing with cats is this: give a dog some cheap-assed dog food one evening. The dog will eat it, thinking, wow, what did I do wrong this time? It will look at you as it eats the food, the whole time feeling like it fucked up, big-time. Put cheap assed cat food in your cats dish one night and this is what you will see. The cat will walk over to the dish, look down, then look back up at you with a what-the-FUCK-is-this-shit-supposed-to-be? look. A look like you would get from a fat-assed boss sitting at his big desk while looking over your last report with his half-glasses hanging near the end of his nose. Yeah, that look. Total disdain. The cat will then go in front of it and flick her back paws as if she is trying to bury it, like she would do with any turd. You will feel totally beaten, as you should. Some cats eat table scraps, but I do not recommend it. Not only because it may not be the healthiest thing for them, but, if they don’t like the food, they just may let you know. Night did this one evening when he sniffed the scraps, then unceremoniously started to try to bury it. I laughed…er, until I saw the look on my wife’s face.

COMMUNICATION:

Cats do communicate with each other on a whole different level than humans. They seem to do it without making a sound. I have watched this phenomenon many times. My last cat DJ, as a youngster, loved to play hockey with milk bottle tops. When he couldn’t find any about, he knew where they were, in the recycle bin in the pantry cabinet. He also knew he never mastered the “open the cabinet door” thing. BUT, he also knew who had, my wife’s long time friend Night. Night, then pretty old, spent most of his life snoozing on our bed and avoiding me like the plague. There was just something about me that seemed to piss him off.

DJ would go to the cabinet door and see it was closed. He would then go down the hall, to the master bedroom. Once there, he would jump up on the bed and wake Night with a nudge. Without saying a word, he and Night would jump off the bed and go to the kitchen. DJ would sit and watch as Night shifted upside down under the edge of the door and with a flick of his paw, presto! Open! I would then see cat-ass as DJ dug for his treasure. Night, his work now done, would saunter back to bed. Next would be cat face with bottle top attached and then finally a hall hockey game would break out. If I threw one down the hall, DJ would actually fetch it and return it to the side of the couch where I was reclined. Weird dog-like behavior for a cat, but amusing.

UPKEEP:

Buy a Schticky. Buy a good comb/brush, and use it at least weekly. Get a big fucking litter box. Do not ever run out of litter. Ever. This goes for hairball formula and food, too. If you have ever heard one cough up a ball, it sounds like an old man who has been smoking Camels for 50 years, working up his morning lugee. Oh, and it’s called FUR-niture for a reason, don’t fight it, Schticky it. No cheap vacuums either. Cat hair eats vacuums as snacks.

Cats have improved the quality of life for me. I wouldn’t change any of it. I am convinced they help lower my blood pressure. When they seek you out, and fall asleep in your arms, it’s because they genuinely like you and trust you. It’s not because they ‘need’ you. They have their own little personalities. DJ would greet me every day by jumping up on the kitchen breakfast bar when I got home so he could greet me at my height, and would touch his forehead to mine, as equals. You do move on, but you never ever forget. If what they say about the Rainbow Bridge is true, my time there will be quite crowded.

Crank

Remembering Night, Bullitt, and DJ, and enjoying Beeoch and Cannoli

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