Since Miss JuJu disappeared, Miss Pipa had been increasingly despondent. Cats are melodramatic by nature (when they feel like it,) and we were all concerned about her apparent depressive state. More and more in recent weeks we’d noticed her sitting on one of the posts for the railing on the third floor balcony. The only thing missing was “goodbye cruel world” floating above her head. The cat that used to lounge on the “Man Chair” with sensuous abandon had taken to imitating Will Ferrell in Everything Must Go (good movie if you ever want to watch it…Mr. Ferrell is quite pleasantly surprising although Christopher Jordan Wallace steals the movie.)
But I digress…
To summarize: Miss Pipa looked despondent and depressed, and J kept saying the word CAT.
Enter Zelda the Feline Hellion.
It’s all my fault. I admit this much. I’ve been admitting this much since yesterday afternoon when we, literally, let the cat out of its container and unleashed it on an unsuspecting world. J was still in school so Miss Pipa was the first one to become acquainted with the new member of the family. If cats could speak, I’m sure Miss Pipa’s facial expression would have been accompanied by “WHAT did you DO????? WHAT is THAT????? WHY do you HATE ME????”
Despondency flew out the window. Sadness was replaced with contempt for…well…ME! Everyone in this house knows who is the root of all cats. I cannot escape my reputation no matter how hard I try. Yesterday was no exception.
Miss Pipa, who had been receiving extra-doses of love and affection, was being pampered and petted almost constantly, still looked like we were not enough. Now it appears Zelda is too much… Even I am beginning to think Zelda is too much. Remember Snoopy’s next-door neighbor cat?
It’s kind of been like that…lots and lots and lots of antibiotic ointment has been dispensed since yesterday, and Zelda now sports a rather large bow (red with white polka dots) and a rather large jingle ball to announce her location. That we hear the jingle now in the kitchen, now in the garage, now on the stairs, now in the hallway, now in the bathroom, now in entryway, now in the kitchen, now in our bedroom, now in the dining room, now in the hallway…is beside the point. Zelda, like every other rescue animal, had been caged since early July… Dada now asks “didn’t it tell you something that no one had adopted this cat since over two months ago???”
Now, I told him, is NOT the time to mention this! At the adoption center this should have been mentioned. Did you notice, he interjects, that hers was the only cage that didn’t have a sheet with information? I glare. Didn’t the guy at the desk say she kept tearing it off??? NOW is not the time to bring this up, I grunt.
In the car, we told J “we have surprise for you at home! A new cat. A baby cat! Her name is Zelda!” And J was happy. Oh, CAT! Oh, BABY CAT! Oh, ZELDA! And he bounced out of the car and towards the door…joy and happiness emanating from him…
And then Zelda leapt out of the garage with her large bow and her large jingle. She is, I swear, the size of J’s foot. This cat is small and light as a feather…but she is also very furry and has, as you can see in the picture, big yellow eyes. And she’s black as if she’d rolled in coal dust.
Have I mentioned how light on his feet J can be? Yesterday he was even lighter. The idea of Zelda the Baby Cat was one thing, the experience of Zelda the Hellion Cat was entirely another. AH-AAAAAAH!!!! and dash!
Because J cannot speak clearly, all we heard from him was running commentary that we could not decipher, but that sounded quite a bit like an old man grumbling about how he can eat whatever he wants and when he wants and how he wants and he doesn’t need anyone to tell him what to do because he’s old and he’s earned it. This was the soundtrack of J’s emergence from his room, his egress towards the family room and his arrival at the couch where, looking at Miss Pipa on the Man Chair, he seemed to suddenly feel a tremendous sense of camaraderie with this particular feline. Stomp, stomp, stomp…AH-AAAAAH! and slam the door that leads to the basement…his steps back down there were muffled by the closed door.
By seven P.M. J was more willing to not be horrified by this new presence, but he still protested whenever the cat seemed to cross the line of where she was allowed to roam. For the record, Miss Pipa has the run of the house…the whole house…she’s not using it. We have sat her down and, while gently and lovingly petting her, told her quite clearly that she’s the alpha and this is her house. Zelda is limited to the kitchen level and the top level, but she’s not allowed in any bedroom other than ours (this simply because I spend more time in my room than anyone else does in theirs and I don’t want her to scratch at the door begging to be let in.
Last night, in an attempt to let them get acquainted with each other, we made both cats sleep in the garage. Both had pillows (on opposite sides of the room,) and we left water, food, a scratch post, the litter box and a radio playing AM news at a low volume. Miss Pipa was the one who asked to be let into the house early this morning; Zelda was more timid. Miss Pipa got to come in and circulate while J had not yet left for school; Zelda remained in the garage until J left.
Last night I worried briefly that J would want his boxing gloves. He hasn’t. I also worried that if he uses his Slinky like Indiana Jones uses his whip to prevent Zelda from approaching him, Zelda will think he’s playing…she hasn’t. Miss Pipa, well, she hisses and makes that deep internal roar that cats make when she sees her new companion do something that is not considered appropriate, but -so far- no blood other than mine has been drawn. (Yes, I am the recipient of the antibiotic ointment.)
I know what you’re going to say…how stupid am I? I am very stupid. Trust me, I have told myself this a million times over since yesterday, but I think it will eventually work itself out. If not, I’m sure there’s plenty of room for me to sleep in the garage also…