As some of you might know, my daughter “rescued” a cat this summer. [See? I warned you I was going to blog about the cat.] Her name is Cauliflower — the cat, not my daughter. I know, silly name, even for a white cat with green eyes, but someone had already named (and abandoned) her by the time my daughter came along. She seemed to know her name, so it stuck.
Anyway, Cauliflower came home from college with my daughter over winter break. I was a little nervous about this visit, partly because my daughter planned to leave the cat here with me while she went off to New Orleans for a week. But mostly because my experience with cats is that they’re rather psychotic and anti-social.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m not a cat person. I don’t dislike cats, exactly — I somehow ended up with one of my own and I love her dearly — they just aren’t my first choice in pets. I’m more of a black lab dog-type person. In spite of The Wonder Dog (who was, incidentally, visiting His Favourite Person during the time in question).
Well, it turns out Cauliflower is sweet and friendly and affectionate and calm. That is, when she’s not being wild ass crazy. This cat has more energy than a nuclear power plant.
There wasn’t an inch of the house she didn’t explore. She scaled bookcases, then got behind the books and pushed them onto the floor. She traversed the kitchen table and conquered the countertops. Weaved her way between perfume bottles and picture frames on the dresser and splashed in the toilets and attacked the pull cords for the window blinds. She checked out the wiring behind the TV and left delicate damp footprints in the shower.
Feeling somewhat frantic for a diversion that would occupy her attention while I was at work, I dusted off and filled the bird feeder and pulled a chair up to the window. She loved it. Especially when the spillage attracted other forms of wildlife. Here she is being all friendly with a squirrel:
It’s a good thing that’s a double-paned window or I swear she would have gone straight through it. She tried.
One of her favourite tricks was to wake me in the morning by jumping up onto my pillow and then walking on my hair. This is more painful than you might imagine. One morning I pried open my eyes to see her stalking me from the far side of the bed, charging at the last second and head-butting me in the middle of the forehead. The next morning she put a paw in my eye. But as soon as she determined I really was awake, she’d start purring and rubbing and snuggling and pretty much turned into Princess Charming. She was sweet and adorable.
I mentioned this highly unusual friendly cat behaviour during a phone call with one of my sisters (who also has cats) and she burst out laughing. “You know, ninety-nine percent of cats are friendly like that. Your cat is just weird.”
Yes, well. [ahem] It’s true. And my weird cat absolutely HATED this new Intruder Cat. She spent the entire winter break either hiding or, when subjected to close proximity, growling and spitting. She did not want to play and she was not interested in making friends. I didn’t realize she was still capable of being quite that fierce. Poor thing flat wore herself out with pure stubborn orneriness.
In her defense, she is quite elderly. But honestly, she has never been friendly. Her usual idea of snuggling is to sit at the far end of the couch and glare. Kind of like this:
Unless she’s cold. Then she decides I’m useful as a heat source and pretends she’s helping me write:
One night my son and his girlfriend and I were downstairs watching a movie when I heard odd noises from the upstairs bonus room.
“I think Cauliflower is playing pool,” I said.
My son shook his head. “No way. I put the cover on the pool table.”
“Well, she’s doing something up there.”
She had found some small object and was batting it up and down and off the walls of the back stairs, having a grand old time. At one point she came barreling through the family room and I noticed she wasn’t quite as white as she had been earlier. In fact, parts of her were rather . . . blue.
Once I stopped laughing, I sent a text message to my daughter, in New Orleans:
Me: Your cat is blue.
DD: Poor baby. 😦
Me: No, not sad. Blue.
Me: She’s playing with the pool chalk. And she’s blue.
DD: hahaha! Take a pic and send it to me!
Me: We can’t catch her. She’s wild.
So, of course, my son accepted the challenge and “caught” her — not much of a challenge, as this cat loves to be picked up. Here are her blue toes (picture cropped to edit out the taunting face my son made at his sister) [sigh] (he’s not hurting the cat; she was purring the entire time):
All in all, this cat-sitting nonsense was an interesting experience. I learned that not all cats are paranoid suspicious curmudgeons. And that my daughter would stay in New Orleans indefinitely, if she could. And that having an energetic curious cat in the house is just as exhausting as it was to have toddlers.
I am so not ready for grandkids. Neither is my cat.