I have had cause to mention in previous writings that I, as a general rule, am not a “Cat Person”. I bear them no ill will, in fact, cheerfully (Most of the time.), I share my domicile with three of them. One of them is a quiet but intensely needy female who expects to be the center of all attention for miles around. She is slowly and quietly ventilating my left thigh as I write this in order to remind me that my primary mission in life is to pet her. The blood leaking from my thigh means nothing to her. Otherwise, she is the soul of good nature, a beautiful animal and, well, kinda nice even though she’s a cat. She is also, however, clumsy as all Hell. We have two-foot deep windowsills in both the living room and dining room. The sills are eight feet long. One would assume that with a combined surface area of 32 square feet, she’d be able to maintain her balance. One would assume that incorrectly. She loses her balance more often than even I do, not a small achievement even when considering that I never use the sills as a walkway or sunning spot. She’s our young’un, about ten years old. She is remarkably inept not only with matters of balance but also eyesight.
Most people think that cats have excellent balance and superb night vision. I’m getting to be an old man (All of you, just shut up.) and my night vision is better than hers even if her balance might be better. I at least have the excuse of owning an artificial knee (That does not work properly at all and we’ll get to THAT story someday.) and an artificial hip. So, neither of us will ever compete in the Cat vs. Human Olympics. In any event, she is imperfectly nimble.
In a previous epistle, I have mentioned Aloysius, Beelzebub’s minion here on Earth. My facts regarding him were, however, incorrect. I had him pegged as being about 16 years old when in fact he’s nearly (Or past.) twenty. He remains as he was- ancient and immoderately grumpy. He might or might not have parted his moorings yet (With him, it’s hard to tell). But he still has some hop left on his fastball. His deep-seated need to be on the other side of every exterior door has only increased and I can now report with satisfaction, if imperfect English, that he now holds both the World Indoor and Outdoor Records for being indoors and outdoors and indoors and outdoors, etc., ad infinitum ad nauseam. I have been up twice, in the short span of time that it took to write this paragraph, to let him in and out. He’s finally tired, for the moment, of going in and out and in and out, etc. and decided to sleep by the wood stove. Our hearth has room for four (Count ‘em FOUR.) cats. We have but three cats. And, the best places to curl up for an overheated nap are, as follows, behind the stove, in front of the stove or to the left of the stove. The right side of the stove is where the loading door is. Any guesses where Aloysius is napping? Of course! He’s directly under the loading door. The excess heat occasioned by opening the loading door to add wood to the stove wakes him up and starts another round of in-again, out-again threshold crossings.
Which brings us to Satan. That was never intended to be his real name, he was Magilla and we called his sweet departed sister Ogee, both being names from a kids cartoon series of long ago. Magilla, the black cat that attempted to assassinate me on the night of the Perseid meteor shower as related in an earlier post, morphed into Satan long ago once we discovered his proclivity for breaking glass. In our last home, we had a porch, lined with windows and each sill had bottles of cobalt-blue glass (This description is required so that nobody says “Blue glass? Must be from Kentucky then!” Beatles fans may complain directly to me.) along their length. Until “Magilla” decided that the world sounded MUCH better with a background of tinkling, broken glass. For the record, it must be said that Magilla (Now Satan. Try to keep these things straight.) had an accomplice. Which explains how Aloysius came to have the middle name of “GODDAMNIT!” Fast forward to our current diggings where Magilla/Satan discovered that a LARGE glass container filled with glass beads and marbles and plants made for fun-filled and long-term enjoyment. He could upset the container and spill the contents onto the counter, then, at his leisure, push some broken glass or a marble or two off onto the floor. If done in the middle of the night (When else?), it might keep humans awake for HOURS.
He has now tired of that. (We also removed anything breakable from anywhere Satan could reach). He’s having a middle-age crisis. Which means that I am suffering the effects of it. He is diabetic but that never gets him down. His new hobby is called “Vomit-Fest”. Despite, quite literally, being fed the most expensive cat food in the USA, a food recommended by his vet, a food that, judging from its price is made up entirely of platinum and diamonds, a couple of times a week he decides that it’s time to cough up anything he’s eaten in the past day or so. He has also decided that I am to join him in his exercise regimen and, to that end, only barfs indoors. This works as follows- he pukes and I either notice right away and have to stop everything in my life and clean it up or, and this is the part he really likes, I don’t SEE his handiwork and slip in or on it. It has the consistency and lubricating properties of 40 weight motor oil.
I’m just now getting over our last training session. A few days ago, I was under full sail toward the laundry room and failed to notice that Satan had left a viscous present for me. Despite the surprise, I must say I gave it my all. I used the old but classic Charlie Brown Launch (Difficult, as I was tacking hard to starboard.), followed by a smooth full-layout-with-a-half-twist. I would have stuck the one point landing perfectly but smote my head on the formica countertop before coming to rest with what was left of my body on the laminate kitchen floor, which we installed directly over concrete.
If not for the Russian judge, I think my routine would have scored a perfect 10.0.