22. October 2007 · Comments Off on The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth · Categories: Critters, Domestic, General, World

…or at least that portion of it encompassed by the inside of a small tract house in a north-side San Antonio tract house. Yes, the Meek-cat, whom Cpl/Sgt Blondie brought home from her workplace is adjusting to being a sheltered and protected indoors cat. His fur already seems to be thicker and plusher, thanks to a diet of premium cat kibble. He talks – that is, he is one of those cats who is responsive to remarks addressed to him, answering up with a variously pitched “meow”. I think of him as “Chatty-Catty”. Blondie calls him “Meow-mix”. He frequently curls up adjacent to Percival, and indulges in some mutual-ear washing, but is still a little wary of the dogs. Not total feline-claws-and-hissing-spazz-out whenever he happens to encounter Spike and Weevil in the very same room, more of a delicate unspoken negotiation not to try and occupy the same spot on the same chair at the same time. He is perfectly amiable about occupying different parts of the same chair at the same time, though. Usually when we are all watching TV of an evening: he and Sammy are lounging on the back of the sofa, Spike on my lap, Percy on the arm, and Weevil wedging herself onto the cushion next to me… TV watching in our house sometimes bears a close likeness to the stateroom scene in “A Night at the Opera”.

Yes, we have a lot of animals. Those people who see it as their life mission to find the perfect home for a dog and cat would doubtless look at us and curl their lips contemptuously. That is, if we would ever be demented enough to go to one of those oh-so-select shelters like the infamous Moms and Mutts and pay out a wad of money for the privilege of being condescended to, and having a couple of snoopy busy-bodies dictate the terms of pet-maintenance to us. Five cats, two dogs, erratic income and working hours… really, who do these people think they are?

A number of years ago, through no fault of my own, (other than not being able to afford the $500 vet bill that it would cost to neuter a female cat on the Spanish economy, or the long drive from Zaragoza to Torrejon to have Patchie neutered by the American vet there) I occasionally had litters of kittens to place with a suitable family. Since Patchie allowed Blondie and I to handle her kittens practically upon birth, they were always beautifully socialized as well as being very attractive kittens. (Damn that handsome orange tom!) Our home then was in Torre San Lamberto, just outside urban Zaragoza. It was a development of townhouses and four-unit garden apartments that were popular as summer rentals. Popular in a less savory way was the summer renter’s habit of abandoning their pets when they returned to their city apartment in the fall. There were always cats and dogs who had been abandoned by summer people, thrown upon the charity of those of us who were susceptible to appeals of our dumb chums; every one of them pathetically grateful to be taken to live indoors again, and fed properly.

So on this particular occasion, I had an ad on “swap shop” for two of the extraneous cats – one of Patchies’ get, and one of the strays. A listener called me at work and said she would take both the cats: her husband was going TDY to Germany, and by the time he returned she wanted to present him with a fiat accompli. “Cats – oh, those cats! I’ve had them for ages, darling – why do you ask?!” Could I bring the two of them to the base, and she would meet me at the station and take them home.
“B-b-b-but don’t you want to see them first?” I asked, somewhat boggled by how she had made up her mind already.
“No, I’ll just take them,” she answered, and explained that in her experience the cats which she had spent a great deal of time over choosing had never seemed to work out well. In fact, the cats which had been the most satisfactory were those who she had accepted on the spur of the moment, or which had just walked in and made themselves at home. Her husband had left the very day that she heard my swap shop ad for the cats; as far as she could see the timing was perfect. Those were the cats she was supposed to have. She showed up at the station with two carriers and took them away without any fuss at all. The powers that dictate such things had already ruled, and she had been chosen.

We do not choose our pets – they choose us. I just hope that there is no other cat out there, walking down the street, casting a businesslike eye on my house and deciding that yes, it would do very nicely. There isn’t much room left on the sofa….

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