by Marc Cullison [mcullison.com]
During my daughter’s tour of duty grading AP exams in Salt Lake City a few weeks ago, my wife and I agreed to take in her cat, Cooper. We have had pets, dogs and cats, but this one is a particularly snooty little shit. He is part Siamese and part of some other kind of beast that must have had Satanic origins. Cooper is an exclusive indoors cat. He has never been outside. I know this is not unusual for a cat, but I truly believe that Cooper belongs outside.
His diet is tentative, at best. The poor thing is allergic to grains, so we must purchase grain-free food. And no matter how many varieties we have tried, he dislikes most of them. If he does eat one of them once, he may never eat it again. We constantly try to appease the little shit, but nothing seems to satisfy him for more than one or two feedings. He’s worse than any kid I have known.
Though only three years old, I have to wonder it he suffers from a feline form of bi-polar disorder. He can be the sweetest thing when he wants something, like food, and when he is napping. I have never known him to purr, like a normal cat. He merely rubs against me and makes that faint, pathetic meow sound, as if he really cares about me. I know better.
Playtime comes at his leisure, not mine. An arm chair is his favorite plaything. If I come within ten feet of it, he makes a beeline for it and lies in wait for my hand to play peek-a-boo over the top of the backrest, just before he launches himself at it. Over and over, this scenario is repeated. I’m not sure if the cat is mentally deranged or he is just practicing his hunting skills. Its hard to tell, since my hand usually winds up looking like it got caught in a meat grinder. He has the sharpest claws, in spite of my daughter’s attempts to keep them clipped. One of his favorite antics is to watch me walk by then lunge for my leg, wrapping his legs around it, usually accompanied by claws and teeth piercing my ankles.
One would think that with all of the practice this cat has had in attacking flesh, he would be adept at hunting things. Like mice. Well, that’s where notion that cats are hunters falls flat. Our house had been invaded by a mouse. At least one. It has been my experience that mice are nocturnal creatures by habit. This has been borne out by my wife, who a few days ago, was awakened one night by an unusual commotion in the living room. Cooper was running amuck over furniture, overturned items and anything else in his way, apparently chasing a mouse. My wife, seeing the furry little thing streak by the footstool, joined in the chase. It was all in vain. The mouse escaped.
I set a mouse trap the next night and caught the little bugger. I set the trap again the next night, expecting the mouse’s mate to show up. Sure enough, bingo. A second one caught. A few nights passed in peace until a third mouse showed up. After a ruckus ensued, it was caught. I felt certain that a fourth one was about because Cooper had staked out a space beneath the kitchen cabinets, as if waiting for something. That night, the little creature appeared and my wife and Cooper gave chase.
Being a cat, Cooper enjoyed an inherent advantage in hunting and cornered the mouse. However, the little shit had no idea what the hell to do with it. The mouse danced beneath his idle paws like a Can-can girl and actually attempted to climb one of his legs, Cooper watching it as if it were an troublesome offspring at play.
That’s right, the damned cat had no idea what to do with the mouse he had so adeptly caught. I have never been so ashamed of a pet. This certainly can’t be normal behavior for a feline. It has to be the result of being confined to the indoors, lacking the exposure to the natural order of things. Of course, now that I have had time to ponder his situation, with all of Cooper’s problem, jaunting about out of doors would only complicate his condition with other allergies and hapless encounters with other animals.
I still love him, though. At least I can rest contented knowing that my daughter did not spawn such a mischeivous creature. I can’t bear to think about the shame our family would have endured had we been endowed with unruly, disrespectful kids. There are too many of those little shits out there already.