|Jinny’s article will be written this week by her daughter, Adele Anderson
I have a cat who is absolutely convinced that she is the Queen of the Nile. I know that some people would say that all cats are like that, but I am convinced that my cat was reincarnated from some particularly haughty princess who was firmly convinced that she was descended from the Gods.
My cat is named Belle. My oldest son named her this because she is a strikingly beautiful animal. Let me tell you, she knows it, too. I swear, this cat can strike poses like a super model and seems to have an uncanny sense of background and dramatic lighting. Sometimes when she is being particularly diva-ish, I find myself looking around for paparazzi.
Belle is very particular about a great many things. Food must be fresh, water must be turned on in the sink so that she can sip it delicately directly from the faucet, favorite sleeping areas must be kept clear and neat. She even seems somewhat put-out if my bed is not made in time for her to recline gracefully for the day. She generally treats me as if my sole purpose in life is to serve her. As her handmaiden, I am required to see to her various needs with neither complaint, nor expectation of reward or affection. She makes this very clear to me on a daily basis and has for the past 6 years. Generally speaking, I have attempted to fulfill her every desire as demanded.
Last week, Belle decided to repay me for my years of devoted service by capturing a small field mouse living in the cellar and bringing it up into the house for summary execution. I believe her intent was to simultaneously demonstrate her benevolence as absolute ruler by graciously ridding my residence of vermin, and her legendary feline predatory skills which I was required to admire gushingly. Much to her surprise, it didn’t work out that way.
She brought the mouse to me while I was in the bathroom getting ready for work. Instead of falling all over myself with admiration and gratitude, I believe I screeched something about her being a ruthless serial killer. She was obviously offended, because she immediately dashed from the bathroom into the other room and parked herself under a chair. I followed her out, bellowing for my 10 year old, Chuck for assistance.
Chuck flew into the room and I explained the situation to him in urgent tones. In other words, I think I may have been screeching like a Hyena. Belle was sitting under the chair with one paw placed firmly on the mouse, who I assumed to be dead. Chuck, who was lying on his stomach, looking under the chair, informed me that the poor, hapless rodent was still alive. Oh goody.
I went to get a broom. The broom is an essential tool when dealing with cats who have captured, and are holding some small animal, hostage. My mother wielded the broom frequently, usually with a running commentary on the cat’s bad behavior. She was a firm believer in the Peaceable Kingdom and if the many animals we possessed were not on board with that, they had to deal with her. Unfortunately, at the urging of my technology obsessed son, I had abandoned my old fashioned straw broom for a modern version that looks like a small push broom with rubber teeth. It works well on floors and even carpets, but it stinks for chasing killer kitties.
I finally managed to separate Belle from her victim and chase her out the door. Chuck was keeping an eye on the mouse, which wasn’t too difficult, given that it was frozen in shock and probably close to having a fatal heart attack. I got a shoebox and put some Cheerios in it. It is common knowledge that all mammals like Cheerios. I have yet to find a one I have not been able to lure into a trap with them as bait. Chuck, bless him, was speaking sweetly to the poor idiot mouse, assuring him that our intent was only to save his miserable little life. Oddly, the mouse stayed relatively still and went happily into the shoebox to dine on Cheerios. Chuck must be more influential than I suspected.
We took the mouse in the box outside and attempted to release him into the wild. This was over Chuck’s protests. He wanted to keep him. I began to lecture him on the inadvisability of keeping wild animals. He cut me off.
“Come on, Mom.” He said. “The mouse has a lifespan of what, ten minutes? Let him live at least six of them in luxury.”
I nixed the victim as pet idea. It took some time to release the mouse. He didn’t seem to want to be free. Who knows what Chuck had promised him?
Belle, in the meantime, had come back in the house and was refusing to look at me. When I went in my bedroom she jumped off the bed and left the room. When I went in the living room, she jumped off the couch and left the room. We were running out of rooms for her to leave in a huff. Finally, after 3 days of being ignored and snubbed by my cat, I couldn’t take it anymore. I got on my knees and told her that I was a worthless ingrate and that she was the most magnificent predator on earth and I worshipped the very ground upon which her perfect little paws trod. She stared into space for awhile, and then cuffed me with her paw. I think she forgave me.
Do I have a cat? Not really. I think that it is more like the cat has me.