September 01, 2004

here kitty, kitty, kitty

At the risk of incurring the wrath of cat people everywhere, I'm going to just come right out and say it... I'm not a fan of the species. I'd even go so far as to say that I HATE THEM. That standoffish, sneaky air about them just doesn't sit right with me. I'm also somewhat allergic which I admittedly milk to mask the truth that I'm just plain scared. Granted, some of my friends have cats and I've managed to forge a relationship with them. And by forge a relationship, I mean that I refrain from kicking them. I KID!!! But seriously, I do get along with some cats. In fact, my friend Filomena's cat, Pumpkin, often camps out on my lap and nuzzles and purrs at me when I visit. I generously return her affection.

I dig Pumpkin because unlike some other felines I've encountered, she doesn't stare at me, scratch or hiss. These are good qualities in a cat. The staring really gets me, I have to say. When a cat glares at me, my blood runs cold. If it happens, I find myself nervously talking to the cat trying to get on its good side or at the very least, suppress its urge to unleash its inner psycho on my ass.

But because I'm a good friend, I agreed to look in on my friend's two cats this week. After greeting the little fellas, I filled up the automatic feeder, changed the water and even scooped numerous clumps of funk out of the litter box. I dry heaved and cursed with each scoop but I persevered. Those lucky cats have an immaculate place to poop for the time being.

Prior to my providing the grub, the older cat (Little Kitty) meowed at me and rubbed up against my leg to make nice. Once the food was out, she had no use for me. Her attention towards me was a means to an end. She got her goodies and then hit the bricks. Little Kitty is a slut.

The younger cat, Luigi, is a feisty kitten. Oh who am I kidding? Luigi is a prick. Like his whore of an older sister, he also had his way with me. I know he likes to be picked up and requires face time so after my chores were done, I hung out to service him. The little fucker had the audacity to nip me during some heavy petting. I realize he was just "being a kitten" but for a cat to playfully scratch or gnaw on me is the equivalent of shoving a claustrophobic into a closet, you know, just for fun. It's traumatic and scarring. I don't need that kind of stress. The rough-housing was getting a bit too much for my taste so I said, "Okay, Luigi, that's it. Stop or I'm going home." 'Cause, you know, he understands and respects ultimatums.

I had been warned that Luigi likes to make a break for the front door so I tried my best to get out of the apartment while strategically placing my hips, legs and belongings in such a way as to block all access to the hallway. Despite my best efforts to simultaneously barricade and exit, Luigi pulled a Houdini on me and escaped. He went down the first flight of stairs and looked up at me. I went down after him and tried picking him up but he fought me. I have to say that I didn't put up much of a fight because, again, I'm scared shitless of all cats, nevermind ones that actually bite. I somehow managed to get my hands on him and get back up the stairs before he wiggled free. And again, down the stairs little Luigi went. But this time he was armed with the knowledge that I was a pussy. And he totally capitalized on it. He ran down yet another flight of stairs and we resumed our game of I Chase/He Nips/I Surrender.

I really don't have a bag of tricks to dig into when it comes to handling a misbehaving cat so I really had to wing it. I tried herding him up the stairs with my foot. He paid no mind. I jingled keys. Nothing. I cursed at him. His response? Sprawling out on the tile and making himself comfy. There may have even been a yawn. As you can imagine, being mocked by a cat doesn't do much to improve one's ego and sense of worth. So I tried being firm with him: "Luigi, come on! I don't have time for this. Let's go!" while clapping my hands for emphasis. My attempts at being a disciplinarian once again were ignored. He descended yet another flight of stairs... and discovered an open window. He went as far as the ledge and managed to position himself in such a way that I couldn't reach out and pull him back in. I started to panic that he would either bolt or take a header off the ledge. Miraculously, he rethought his escape and joined me back inside. At this point, I had sweated through my clothes. Envisioning my friend's heartbreak over her lost/dead cat while running up and down stairs after it on a humid August night will do that to you.

I'm sharing the catsitting duties with another friend. I know she had a similar problem with Luigi on Sunday so I busted out the cell phone and called her seeking advice. She graciously agreed to come over and help me out. After I got off the phone, I noticed Luigi staring at it. He liked the blue light on it so I dangled it in front of him. I took full advantage of his curiosity and made him climb three flights of stairs to get a closer look. I felt like the Pied Piper. I mistakenly thought I could lure him all the way back into the apartment but he got wise to the ploy right outside of the apartment door and back down the stairs he went. I chased after him saying, "Luigi, you're a little fucker, do you know that?!" I knew it was pointless and that help was coming so I just resigned myself to defeat and hung out in the hall with him. Thankfully the friend came a few minutes later and she was able to subdue the obstinate little beast by throwing a towel on him and carrying him while I opened and shut the door. The tag team effort worked really well so we're going to combine forces again on Thursday to properly deal with him.

In recent months, I've had some major accomplishments at work. Things have been falling into place on several fronts. I've been feeling good and confident in my abilities to take on just about anything. Leave it to a fucking cat to come in and blow it all to shit by terrorizing me and holding me hostage in the lobby of a building in Downtown Brooklyn for an hour. Little bastard.