He: “‘It’s a dog’s life‘, huh?”
She: “That’s what they say.”
He: “Who’s they?”
She: “Not going there.”
He: “Riiight. So how long has this cat been curled up in this chair? On thirteen seat cushions?”
She: “Three. And for at least four hours. Ever since breakfast.”
He: “And this after being passed out in the living room all night?”
She: “Yup. So?”
He: “So I’m thinking there ain’t a dog anywhere that has a clue what ‘cushy’ and ‘lazy’ is. For that you need a cat. Hey … so maybe that’s why dogs chase cats all the time!”
She: “Because … ”
He: “They’re jealous! ‘Dang it, cat, you think you’re just gonna lie there while I’m busting my gut trying to make people happy, you’ve got another think coming! I’m gonna make you move!’”
So how did He and She wind up with a cat in the house? When there’s no cat on the lease? Ah, thereby hangs a …
Dude: “No, OC! Don’t do it!!”
(Dudes. Sheesh. Hang loose a second.) A feline caudal appendage.
Dude: “Um, whut?”
A tail, dude!
&Dude: “Walked right inta that one, dude. Idiot!”
Dude: “Shut. Up.”
(Apologies for the interruption.) [Ahem] So how did He and She wind up with a cat in the house?
Well, they moved into the place in Kailua Kona, Hawai‘i ’round about six years ago as this blog post is written (13 December 2021). And it wasn’t long before they began hearing things.
Hearing but not seeing, for whatever was meowing was not too keen on being seen by people who it obviously thought were not socially acceptable. Finally, one day, he caught a glimpse of the animal while it was sitting at the foot of the staircase leading to the upstairs apartment, as if expecting an invitation. A quick glimpse, because the cat – for cat it was – took off at the apparition of a mysterious stranger. And there was no convincing it, at this point, that the stranger was just a common garden variety Amoeba.
Over time, He and She found out snippets about the creature meowing about the house like “this is mine and who the [deleted] are you?” It apparently frequented several of the houses in the neighborhood, none of which claimed ownership. An adjacent house appeared to be ‘home base’, but several individuals and families passed through that house, renting it for shorter or longer periods of time, and none considered the cat “theirs”. Occupants seemed to pass on the tradition of “the cat”, including feeding it on a more or less regular basis.
As for its name, it seemed that every person with which it came in contact had a different one for it. (As a neutered male cat, the pronoun “it” is here considered appropriate. Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba is generally very pro nouns, pro verbs as well, as both are essential parts of speech, critically important for verbal and written communication among Homo sapiens conspecifics. He [sic] chooses to write no more on this subject in this space.) Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba chose to call it “Purple”, as it was clearly an orange tabby – and one that lived up to the reputation of orange tabbies as exceptionally and frequently vocal cats. This naming was not entirely random. Stare at the orange square for about twenty seconds, then close your eyes, wait maybe five seconds and … voilá!
This lasted until YFNA fell into conversation with neighbors who lived nearly half a mile away and were familiar with our
purple orange apparition. Mr. O’Malley, they called him, and this has become the definitive name (and pronoun). At least for He and She, aka YFNA and Dame Quilly.
This went on for awhile (years), and then, one fine day, He was messing in the front yard and, from the adjacent mock orange hedge,
He chose to sit down on the grass (a common trick for making oneself less threatening to children and animals) and called the cat. Which, somewhat to his surprise, came to him. And stayed for awhile, quite willing to accept the company. The cat proved to be clean and well-mannered, and, now that the ice was broken, became a progressively more frequent visitor to the lanai. He and She refused to feed the animal, or let it into the house, but Mr. O’Malley appeared to be willing to accept the company. But he mostly refused to be picked up, and any sudden noise would send him running. We would frequently hear him around the house at night, arguing with neighborhood cats.
One time, Mr. O’Malley determined to get into the house and damn the torpedoes. He rushed past our guard by the door and ran to the room that He was then using as a combined office and music room. He got there and uttered a wail of bitter disappointment. The room was clearly not outfitted as he expected. He and She inferred from this behavior that the previous tenant had (despite having the same landlady and lease terms as YFNA and Dame Amoeba) allowed the cat into the house, and allowed it to sleep on the bed in the room that He now used as an office.
A considerable interval passed between that episode and an orange cat sleeping on
thirteen three cushions in a chair in the living room. In that interval, two significant events took place. One of them was evidently a cat fight that Mr. O’Malley, unusually, lost, and caught a claw in his left eye for his trouble. The eye healed, but it is becoming progressively cloudier. Mr. O’Malley no longer wailed around the house at night, and spent progressively more time, instead, asleep on the lanai.
The second event was the Kona storm that hit Hawai‘i between the 5th and 7th of December, lashing the house that He and She live in with 50 mph wind gusts and more than an inch of rain. He and She watched 200-foot tall Cook pines bend almost double in the wind that howled almost louder than the cat, and finally She took pity and bundled Mr. O’Malley into the house and offered him some canned chicken – which he devoured as if starving. (The latest group of people in ‘his house’ next door had apparently broken the ‘feed the cat’ tradition.)
He has been here ever since, clean and well-mannered and perfectly well housebroken. One story in the neighborhood is that Mr. O’Malley’s original owner, who trained him well, died, and left the cat homeless. That person may have been in the habit of lying in bed, working on a laptop computer – for when She did the same, the cat joined her, at one point sitting on her back as if he was expected to be there, and watching while She worked on her latest novel. At last, He and She have finally been tamed sufficiently to be acceptable to the cat. Which is now spending all day, and all of the night, most nights, asleep on a chair. Or the bed. In the middle of the bed, of course. Where else?
As is usual in human affairs, not everyone is happy about the new arrangement.
Goiter the Gecko, who has been a house guest since He and She arrived despite having two growths around her [sic] neck that should have made her life both miserable and short, has seldom been seen since the noisy orange tabby joined the household. And when she has felt it safe to make an appearance, she has stared at He and She as if to ask, “What the [deleted] is the matter with you people?!?”
With all due respect to the longevity of our relationship, Ms Goiter, He and She candidly offer two suggestions that might bolster your status.
- Stop (ahem) marking the walls and the furniture.
- Learn to purr.
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