Friday, 11 October 2019 19:35

COLUMN: Tres gatos in our casa

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When our younger daughter moved back home a few months ago, we knew it was going to be a bit of an adjustment having her in the house when we had just gotten used to her being out on her own. 

A lot of it wasn't too bad, we just moved all the stuff we had been storing in her old room back to where it was not so artfully hidden before. We took all the clothes we had stored in her closet and shoved them back into our already crowded closet. 

Our little girl wasn't coming back, but a grown woman was. 

I remember asking where her cats were going to stay and she told me she had every intention of bringing them home with her. 

A lot of the readers of this column have become acquainted with Cooper, our cat and self-professed King Of All Media. Cooper was about to find out that he was going to have two roommates.

We weren't sure how he was going to deal with this, but we were going to find out pretty soon.

For a year or so, I had been bugging my wife to get Cooper a companion. Maybe a kitten, someone who he could mentor and guide into becoming a goofy pain in the butt like him. Each time, the answer was no. 

Cooper eats special food because of some medical issues and it would be expensive to feed two cats the prescription food. Cooper wouldn't just eat his food and leave the other cat's food alone. He's just not like that. He wants all the food. 

I tried asking once for a rabbit and my wife said she wasn't about to turn our house into “Watership Down.” I clarified that I had specified one rabbit and not a whole warren, but she was not going to budge. As it would turn out, our daughter would be coming home and she would be bringing her quirky duo of felines.

I had no issue with these cats. When we had gone to visit our daughter in her home, we got along wonderfully with her cats. They were friendly and clean cats. These clearly were not mangy alley cats, but loved domestic cats who got along with each other just fine. There was an older gray tabby and a sleek, young black cat that looked like the Pink Panther if he had fallen into an ink well. 

The female was named Eevee, apparently after a Pokemon character, but to me it looked like she got a raw deal on Scrabble tiles. She was the grey tabby, a gentle old woman of 11 who enjoys looking out the window and taking over my recliner when I am not home. 

The lean little black cat is named Severus, after a Harry Potter character. He's very sweet, but very shy and leaps and runs away at the slightest noise. I'm certain that a breeze would cause him anxiety.

My wife and I were not sure how they would interact with Cooper. We drove home from Alabama wondering what mayhem would occur when we got all three cats together. I had mental pictures of claws and fur and growling and hissing and blood and such. 

My daughter was sure they would get along. 

My wife was wondering where were were gonna put three cats in our little house. Sure, cats aren't very large unless you count lions and tigers and cheetahs and such. I don't think I would have brought three cheetahs home from Alabama though. I don't think cheetahs like long car rides.

To make a long story short, all was well. Eevee is kinda like Bea Arthur in a cat costume. She's clearly used to being the leader. She's headstrong and opinionated. She and Cooper have a love/hate relationship. They accept each other's existence. Occasionally, you can find them in the same area, usually near the food bowls. Cooper is sweet and friendly and Eevee just wants to be left alone so she can eat. 

Severus is close to Cooper's age, so they have developed a raucous friendship that reminds me of two frat boys with time to kill and a credit line at the liquor store. They play rough and loud and once in a great while I can see Cooper leading Severus along as if to show him the ropes on how things work around here.

They have been ganging up of late, staring my wife down and requesting treats. The boys will sit on the floor and Eevee will sit on the coffee table and they will look at the treats and then at my wife. I tell them all the time they have to work harder for the treats. My wife doesn't just hand out treats willy-nilly. Cooper and Severus have to promised not to knock over the water bowl when they are play fighting.

It's an empty promise, as the bowl always gets spilled. Eevee doesn't have to promise anything. She's 11 and has paid her dues, she's quick to tell you. Just give her the treats and leave her alone.

I've gotten used to having a house full of cats. I talk to them each morning before I leave for work. I say good night to them before going to bed. I don't know if they know what I am saying to them, but I talk to them anyway. I like them a bit. They, in turn, think I am the cat's meow.

Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he (usually) writes on the lighter side of family life.