Saturday, November 26, 2011

A benevolent ruler




One drizzly spring morning back in the day, I'm driving through our well-manicured middle class neighborhood.  Three Boy Scouts are smushed into the back seat of the Buick like Spam in a can. An appropriate analogy for this adolescent boy sensory experience - rich in both sight and smell. (Mrs. Sword, roll up the windows, please? We're cold.)

Ah boys, just a  necessary inconvenience. You see, we need the front passenger seat for a higher purpose than ordinary comfort. (Cold? Don't you guys tent camp in the winter or something? Cowboy up, gentlemen). I placate 'em by tossing a baggie of gummy worms into the back seat. The boys and I are on a mission this day. We're hitting the houses in the 'hood to retrieve bags of donated food for their Scouting for Food project.  The Scouts do the running from house to car, depositing the bags of non-perishables into the front seat.

Now this part of town is not all together familiar to me. So I'm enjoying the guilty pleasure of picking up on the local townie gossip from the boys. But when we pull up to a house on a corner lot, the boys don't get out of the car. Wassup, fellas? I ask.  A glance over tells me the house is a otherwise rather benign ranch style thing, but with  landscaping designed like a fortress. Tall shrubbery protects the front of the house obscuring every window and door from our viewpoint on the curb. Everything except the security camera posted above where the front door likely is.

Some crazy lady lives there, they say. She's totally whack. If we even go near her yard, she'll come running out in her nightgown with a shotgun, says one. That's nuthin', another says, I heard one time a Cub Scout went there trying to sell popcorn and an armed security guard answered the door and started yelling at him.  As many an urban legend has a basis of truth, I take in the aggressive landscaping job and security camera.  Uh huh. So what, no vicious pack of snarling guard dogs or shark filled moats? I ask.

No, they tell me, but she has a hundred cats in there.

And there, my friends, we have the neighborhood's Crazy Cat Lady. 

Now I've made the animal hoarding jokes in lightheartedness. With three dogs and a cat I've said we're only four paws away from being hoarders ourselves.  And being passionate about adopting from rescue groups, I do have a cautionary fear of taking on too many pets, local ordinances be damned. 

And we have harmony in this furry household. Everyone is getting along just dandy and all. The cat (adopted as an adult from the local humane society) moved herself into the basement in the fall of 2008 when we brought home the first CCI puppy and refuses to come back up. Domino insists she is very comfy down there, thank you very much, and is fat and happy. Her vocation these days is to be my little tuxedo kitty muse posted on the corner of the scrapbook table.

Domino, scrapbook muse and cellar cat.

So the question of the past week that's on everyone's minds as they see me . . .what made you decide to get another cat? 

[sigh] Oh why, indeed?  I've tried to form an answer, but profundity escapes me. After all, everybody knows I'm a dog person. Cats are quite nice, but let's face the truth of it, they're not dogs. But you know, I just liked this feline fella from the first time I met him. Bodine was one of the office cats at work that are up for home adoption. I work from this office location a few times over a month and Bodine would be there each time at the door to greet me and Yaxley. 

An affectionate, purring kitty that "kneads bread" when you hold him. Sure, there's lots of cats that have that delightful personality. But that's not enough to risk upsetting the household dynamics, however. Bodine took things a step further by being a dog cat.


Bodine watching over his keep on a rainy morning
Let me 'splain.  I'm a dog person, an appreciator of all things canine. Bodine is a dog cat.  A cat who likes dogs, an amazingly thing to witness.  With Yaxley in a down-stay, Bodine gives him the old head butt and then tosses his fuzzy self onto Yax's front legs to expose his cat belly for inspection. I observe this exchange with a sense of awe. 

And it becomes clear.  I gotta get me this dog cat.
We apply, and are approved, to adopt this confident kitty. Bodine is a seven year old domestic shorthair, white with patches of tiger striping and a cheshire cat tail. A chronic, but minor, health condition that we'll monitor with the vet. 

When one laptop isn't warm enough, it only makes
sense to sprawl across two.  Might as well open up some
new browser windows with that hind leg as well.


While the dogs were excited about this new furry family member, their real joy came with the discovery of cat box treats. With Domino in the basement, they were denied the decadent pleasure of kitty roca. You know, cat brownies. Pecan logs. Litter Snickers. Recycled cat food.

Pet food companies go through a lot of trouble to make dog food palatable and tasty when they should be considering something as simple as cat turd flavoring. Sure,I've got a covered litter box, but apparently the hole is big enough for a labrador head to fit through comfortably. This hooded litter box is like a buffet bar to them. The sneeze guard is a nice touch, Food Lady, they say, it does help to keep the brownies fresh
 
Well, that's just nasty, you say, but how's the household harmony these days? Not too bad, I'm pleased to report. A little of the expected drama at first until the dogs received their obligatory kitty smackdown and learned their new place in the hierarchy. The cat is the benevolent ruler of this realm and all will bow down to him. Micron provides a full face lick in agreement, Yaxley is sniffing feline nether regions and Jager is head and shoulder deep into the hooded litter box.

Ah, we have peace in the animal kingdom.


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