A Life of Servitude

After reading atleasthaveafrigginglass’ post https://atleastihaveafrigginglass.com/2022/03/10/training-myrtle/ about his cat, Myrtle, training him to do her bidding, I was quite gratified to realize that my cats are actually rather benevolent dictators. Unlike Myrtle, my feline overlords are reasonable in their demands and not too severe in meting out punishment.

Shola Ebola is our little sweetheart who sneaks into your lap before you realize you’ve been pinned to your chair. Any attempt to dislodge her is like moving a dead animal. She simply goes limp and gives you a look that says, “I’m quite comfortable right here, thank you.” She came from the neighbors, in heat, and refused to go home after we had her spayed.

Ava Braun is the take-no-prisoners, suffer-no-fools, female Hitler. The dogs are wary of her and the cats show due respect. We pet her cautiously when she demands it, watching carefully for that twitch of displeasure that says a bite will follow. Her elderly staff had died and we took her in when the surviving children threatened to euthanize her. Arriving at her new home, she stepped out of the carrier and was immediately in charge. There was none of the typical cowering under furniture or showing deference to the cats already in residence. She had witnessed her litter mates being devoured by coyotes and watched her beloved benefactor wither and die. Life held no terrors for her.

Jet Lee, our only male, tolerates the females, avoids the dogs, and shows up at meal time, which is about twenty times a day. He demands the costliest of manufactured cat foods, tries to bury the homemade chicken and liver pate that I make for the girls, and will only eat when his bowl is placed in the proper place. His name came from his youthful antics but he’s long since outgrown the moniker.

And last to join our crew is Cholla, so named for the jumping cactus she resembled. This cheeky kitten trotted out of the brush and joined our pack when she was about six weeks old. Too confident and inquisitive for her own good, she is the only one who is not allowed to go outside without a chaperone. Even with supervision, she went over the fence into the neighbor’s dog run. She believes she’s a dog but I doubt the dogs would have recognized her as such. Another time she escaped and came home with one of Mike’s beloved finches in her mouth. That went over like the proverbial turd in a punch bowl.

All things considered, the dogs are easier to please: they eat whatever is put into their bowls; they are happy to stay inside and happy to go out; they eagerly jump into the car even when I tell them we’re going to the vet; they go outside to do their business, though they don’t bury it. We’re working on that last bit. So far they have the hole digging down pat but they haven’t figured out the most important part of the operation.

15 thoughts on “A Life of Servitude

  1. Ok, a) I’m flattered to earn a ping in your post, b) FOUR cats?!? I could not have counted that correctly! And I feel like I’d be remiss in not adding a c) I don’t know why I thought you were a reader and didn’t put work out that you might post as well. Luckily, now that Stamper has put himself out to pasture, I have an opening on my reading roster! Just, please…don’t be a *daily* poster. So much work!

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  2. Hehe!! Although I have a mouse avatar, I’m a cat person at heart having grown up with cats and had cats until son#2 arrived with a full blown cat allergy (Sparky’s side of the family). I love the cat names and the descriptions of their personalities, it makes me miss my cats Fida Tovarisch (I cant type in Cyrillic script) his name translates to Faithful Comrade and Captain Garin. When Sparky and I married we ended up with 3 cats (he had Koshka which translates to cat). Captain Garin was placed with a family I knew who had children and he loved to play and was very energetic so it was a good match… With 4 cats I’m not surprised that the dogs are eager to get in the car – even for trips to the vet!!

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    1. Yeah, I think two cats would be the perfect number but when they show up at the chow line, what’s a person to do? I give them fair warning: eat here – lose your reproductive parts. I guess my homemade cat food is better than sex.

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  3. Sounds like you have your hands full, JRR. Homemade chicken and liver pate? Don’t let Peaches hear about that! Any “pate” he gets says Fancy Feast on the lid. The turd in the punch bowl thing put a pic in my mind I can’t seem to erase. The most cats I’ve ever had at one time is six. We have only one now (Peaches) and he is a combo of Ava Braun and Jet Lee, an alpha who enjoys being petted but abruptly moves into Fight Club mode, and meows plaintively for food every five minutes as if he were skin and bones rather than a strapping fella who got a Chubby Cat cat door last Christmas. He isn’t afraid of our dog, eats kibble out of her bowl while she’s watching. He loves being outside when it’s nice, but goes out in every kind of weather.

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    1. Sorry about the visual; it will probably put you off punch for a long time…or at the very least, make you examine it carefully in the future.
      I didn’t know they made Chubby Cat doors. I guess they’re kind of like the loveseat version of chairs in the cardiologist’s waiting room.

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      1. Exactly. I love those big chairs though, finally I have enough room for my big purse. Big cat doors are out there if you look. You don’t want the poor cat getting stuck, halfway in, halfway out. I’m not much of a punch drinker. But your expression, gross though it may be, makes me laugh whenever I think of it.

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  4. “So far they have the hole digging down pat but they haven’t figured out the most important part of the operation.” Oh yeah, they have that part down. I have the Neighborhood App. Almost daily someone is on there complaining about how some dog pooped in their yard. Never mind the coyotes we have running around. I read those posts, and I’d be overjoyed if, on their walk, my dogs decided to poop in someone else’s yard…

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  5. My neighbors had two little dogs who came over to poop on my lawn every morning. I didn’t complain because I could use it to stuff into gopher holes to discourage the little diggers. But when they chased my cats, I had to send them packing. I didn’t want the dogs to get hurt. I had some pretty badass cats at that time.

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  6. I believe there’s a subconscious yet tragic human-nature propensity to perceive the value of life (sometimes even human life in regularly war-torn or overpopulated famine-stricken global regions) in relation to the conditions enjoyed or suffered by that life. With the mindset of feline disposability, it might be: ‘Oh, there’s a lot more whence they came’.

    Therefore, only when overpopulations of unwanted cats are greatly reduced in number by responsible owners consistently spaying/neutering their felines might these beautiful animals’ presence be truly appreciated.

    Along with individual people, society collectively can also be quite cruel towards cats, especially ‘unwanted’ felines. For example, it was reported a few years ago that Surrey, B.C., had an estimated 36,000 feral cats, very many of which suffer severe malnourishment, debilitating injury and/or infection.

    Yet the municipal government, as well as aware yet uncaring residents, did little or nothing to help with the local non-profit Trap/Neuter/Release program, regardless of its (and others’) documented success in reducing the needlessly great suffering. And I was informed last autumn by Surrey Community Cat Foundation that, if anything, their “numbers would have increased, not decreased, in the last 5 years.”

    It’s the only charity to which I’ve ever donated, in no small part because of the plentiful human callousness towards the plight of those cats and the countless others elsewhere. These include the cats I too-often learn about, whose owners have allowed to wander the neighborhood at night only to be tortured to death by cat-haters procuring sick satisfaction. …

    At any rate, great piece!

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    1. I’m with you on the support of organizations that spay and neuter. One of the local animal placement shelters boasts an all-volunteer staff. 100% of my donation goes to the actual care of the animals. I know I can’t save them all, but I do what I can by spaying any cat that hangs around my door.

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      1. When I made the largest of my monetary donations ($500) to the T/N/R program, a lady volunteer left me a tearful voice mail expressing her appreciation, which to me suggested a scarcity of caring financial donors.

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  7. Ava has been through a lot of hardships in her short life which would explain her character.
    As for the male, he has the temperament of a man accustomed to luxury.
    The dogs are uneventful and always happy to be with you, Judy.
    Love ❤
    Michel

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