Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Reynaldo & Me, Life and Love with the World's Worst Cat

Reynaldo is 2.5 years old. This cat is no longer a kitten. Yet even though chronologically he should have left kittenhood behind, he remains a wild-eyed, destructive force who must be reckoned with, day in and day out. Like the Grogans in their book about Marley, I find my patience sorely tested.

Monday morning, at about 4:30 AM, he decided it would be fun to "let there be light." So he jumped onto my vanity, stretched, reached, and thoroughly amused himself by turning the switch on and off. I live alone. I cannot express how terrifying it is to be awakened by my bedroom light being switched on and off. I yelled at him as I threw my legs over the side of the bed. He looked at me with big, bright orange eyes, lit with excitement. "Oh, good," you could see him thinking, "We're going to play that game where she chases me and yells at me!" But I fooled him. I simply closed my bedroom door, turned off the light, and slept for another 90 minutes.

Chalk one up for the bi-ped with opposing thumbs, right? Not really.

I opened my bedroom door at 6:00 to the worst smell imaginable. Reynaldo had left a very fragrant, rather runny "gift" for me in my bathtub. (Props to whoever invented kitty litter; before Monday I don't think I fully realized how wretched that smell is without it.) I had forgotten that when I closed him out of my bedroom, I had closed him off from his box. Stifling a gag or two I cleaned and disinfected my tub (just what I want to do first thing Monday morning) and figured he had used up his quota of really bad morning behavior for the week.

Ah, but I'm just a dreamer.

This morning all was going well. Reynaldo was racing around happily, chasing the balls with the bells inside and tormenting my older, more sedate cat, Charlotte. (The torment is only perceived on her end; with him, it's all good fun, as in "We're going to play that game where she lays on her back and squeals like a monkey until I take my paws off her chest.") I was in the bathroom, applying just a little more hairspray to combat the humidity when I heard a CRASH! in the kitchen.

Charlotte raced past me, in the other direction, down the hall. Alone. Where was Rey? As I went to investigate I was filled with dread. Turning the corner to the dining room I saw him, scrunched down on his haunches, dragging his butt along the carpet. I saw a wet trail behind him. I was sure that he had fallen hard and broken something, damaging his internal organs so that he could no longer control his bladder. I tried gently to get him to stand on all fours. No way. That skinny little tom can he very strong when he wishes to be and he most emphatically was not going to stand on all fours.

It wasn't quite 8:00 AM yet. Emergency vet, I was thinking. But is it OK to bundle him up and put him in the carrier? How much can I handle him without doing more damage?

Then I looked past him to the kitchen. And it all became very clear. He had fallen or jumped from somewhere (the top of the new refrigerator, perhaps?) and had somehow landed ass first into his metal water bowl. And he wasn't crazy about the feeling of cold water on his anus, hence the scraping it along the carpet. I stood up and looked down at him. "You're fine, aren't you?" He sprung up and tried to herd me into the kitchen, hoping I would feed him again. I went into the kitchen to clean up the water spill and he circled me, trying to convince me that giving him more Friskies would be just thing to do right now.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Hell, I'm afraid for tonight.

He doesn't believe in framed artwork. He knocks it off the desk and bookshelves as well as stretching up and trying to remove it from walls. He likes to eat things -- mostly the handles on bags and purses. Every now and then, though, a nice umbrella hits the spot. (There are few things in life more useless than an umbrella covered with little pinprick-sized bite holes.) Glasses need to be spilled, as to cans. It's always more fun to spill cola than beer because the stain is so much darker. Hanging from the drapes is nice. As is trying to sneak between my legs and out the door at every given opportunity.

I'm tired.

But, like Marley in Grogan's book, Rey is not without his charms. He loooooves me. He enjoys sprawling across my lap while I'm reading. He submits merrily to "We're going to play the game where she cuts my nails." When we're en route to the vet, he comforts Charlotte by gently cleaning her ears. He is endlessly patient and gentle with the little boy next door and my nephew (as in, "We're going to play the game where he pulls my ears or yanks my tail"). Since he doesn't perceive any interaction as negative, he is utterly fearless. Reynaldo's world isn't filled with strangers, just playmates he hasn't met yet.

So I guess I should just accept it. After almost two years, Reynaldo is mine and I am his, and we simply have to find a way to peacefully co-exist.

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  1. Anonymous9:48 AM

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