Thursday, May 11, 2006

In Which I Am Mean to Grey Cat

Grey Cat does not believe he is a cat. Grey Cat believes he is people.

For example, when we stayed at my parents' for a few weeks in transit from North Carolina to Peoria (cheaper than renting a short-term apartment and food ever so much better), Grey Cat would come in with all the people in the evening to watch the news. My parents have a big sectional sofa. The normal cats would seek out human laps, or lounge over arm rests. Not Grey Cat. Grey Cat believed he was people. Grey Cat observed that each person had their own cushion on the sectional, so he would claim a cushion and lounge on it, looking in the general direction of the TV, and periodically sneaking looks at all the people to be sure we were still playing the staring game. (Grey Cat is not one of those cats who is interested in television; once he ascertained that the noisy football game could not ACTUALLY get to him, he never gave it a second look.) If you tried to move Grey Cat, he would bite you. That was his seat. What was hilarious was that he behaved like a 6-year-old in the back seat of a car: If you put a finger on his cushion, he'd bat it, or try to bite it. We could entertain ourselves for an hour at a time sneaking things onto his cushion and making him crazy about it. "Mom! He's on my side of the seat again!"

So Grey Cat believes he is people. Grey Cat is also more than a little neurotic about being left behind when people leave the house, as he was once abandoned and doesn't like to see the food-bringer leave. The first year I had him, he would fling himself - all 20 lbs of him - against the front door so I couldn't open it. I used to take a ball with me and throw it down the hallway so he'd chase it. He'd be thinking, "Can't ... leave ... doorstop position but ... must ... chase ... ball ... GAAAK!" and go after it.

He is the only cat I know who gets super-psyched when his carrier comes out because he gets to go somewhere. He totally doesn't care where. He just likes going with. If the suitcases are out and the carrier is NOT, he will keep packing himself in your suitcase and crying until you relent and get out the carrier, whereupon he will nap contentedly in it for hours on end, stopping only to periodically come get your attention with headbutts and cat-chatter, so that you will follow him to the room with the carrier, whereupon he will dart into it, poking his head back out to make sure you see that he is ready to go.

(What's totally mean is that when we're going without him, I put the carrier out just so he'll stay out of our suitcases while we pack and not cry for two straight days. Then I always feel rotten about tricking him.)

So life is tough for Grey Cat in the spring, for a variety of reasons. For starters, the sun gets up substantially before the foodbringers, and Grey Cat believes breakfast should appear with the sun, this being the only form of time he can tell. He is being starved - STARVED, I tell you! - and he is vocal in his unhappiness about this.

But worse than that, we go outside in the spring. To work in the yard, or just have a drink on the patio we laid last summer. Grey Cat cannot stand this. It drives him berserk that we are WITHIN VIEW and excluding him from something people. He goes from window to window bawling, and for a 20-pound male cat, he has a seriously girly meow.

"Dammit, someone snuck in the house and is torturing Grey Cat again," I told Mr. McGee as we weeded.

"Probably terrorists," he agreed.

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