Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Let Me Tell You About Our Cats ...

There is one member of our family that gets more love and affection than all of the rest of us combined. Our cat - Andre.

Andre was tossed into our back yard one fall day about 11 years ago. A black, gangly 'teen-age' cat that purred like an engine and had the worst gas of any living being that I have ever known. That purr is what won our hearts.

Andre joined our family of three humans and two cats. He was a friend to all. He easily stepped into the family order.

Max - the alpha male cat was dominant and ruled the roost. Tanzia was a slightly insecure (dare I say 'neurotic'??) female cat that we adopted due to a cat allergy within her original human family.

Max overcame renal kidney failure and was destined to a life time of special cat food. This food cost an arm and a leg and was doled out in medically appropriate doses. Max thought that he got first go at the special food because he was the King of This Jungle.

The cat line-up in our kitchen at feeding time amused and entertained us. Max took up his place at the front of the line and ate to his heart's content. Tanzia awaited the second lick at the bowl. And last but not least, Andre took up the rear. Between the three of them, the plate was licked clean. Each of them knew their place. No one butted in line. No one challenged the rule.

This was the way the house ran. Each cat knew their place in the hierarchy of cats. Max had no trouble maintaining his royal status of King of the Household. Andre was a fun-loving guy and he loved to play. He enamored himself to the rest of his family and he was 'everybody's buddy'.

The years went on and our cat population dwindled.

Max was destroyed more furniture (three couches, one hide-a-bed and at least two chairs) during his reign than any other child, cat, dog or human that I have ever known. He was getting nastier by the year. His health food was expensive and he was getting little to no attention from anyone in the house. After the demise of our good living room furniture, I made the executive decision to give him away ...

Tanzia was a high-strung, nervous cat. I thought that her 'problems' were related to Max's dominance. But when (months after Max moved out), she was still urinating in random places other than her cat litter, we 'traded her in' for a new couch. This is no lie. We needed a new couch (see above), but I refused to buy anything as long as we had Tanzia. She was running a close second to ruining as much around the house as Max did. The sales clerk at the furniture store offered to adopt Tanzia and we bought a couch from her.

Andre became an 'only cat'. As much as he loved his brother and sister, he adapted very easily to his new role. One cat to three humans equals a lot of love and affection! It makes me wonder if perhaps this was his plan all along. Did he quietly and subtly frame the other cats into crimes that they may or may not have committed, so that he could take over the role as King of the House??

Years have passed and Andre continues to entertain and amuse us. He has a humorous way of demanding our attention. He lavishes us with his need for love and we reward him. He continues to be everybody's buddy. We have enough Andre Stories to fill a few chapters. I have one recent anecdote to add to the reams of stories that precede it.

Yesterday, Andre somehow knocked an empty box of cat litter into his litter box. Thus, he could not use his litter box when required. I can't imagine the angst that this would have created for him. This dilemma remained his and his alone (since no one happened to notice the problem right away) for the better part of the day.

He must have circled the location for a while, holding himself as he weighed his options. He solved his crisis using the tools that he had at hand. A litter box that he couldn't access. A dust pan sitting beside it. Guess where he peed? You got it. A quick and easy clean up for me, as I poured the contents of the dustpan into the toilet and flushed. Not so ideal, because the brush for the dustpan got in the way,but still a very creative solution for our adored kitty to come up with. Just one more little story for the archives ...

The new litter box??

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