one little spark.
i have kind of a terrible cat. (not magically helpful. not utopian.) this morning he peed on my victorian paintings book. just a corner of it—but still. but, randomly peeing on things is kind of a hobby of is. (and…occasionally…in corners…worse than peeing.) one of his other big hobbies is sitting underneath things and growling.
i don’t mean this to be cat-shaming. and cats probably don’t feel shame. (cats have chosen the better part.) i’m just describing how figment (who i love very much) is kind of a terrible cat. i’ve had him since late last july—last july i filled in for a friend—(not even a friend, actually! just a friendly acquaintance)—cleaning cages at a cat shelter. every monday morning. which was as gross as it sounds, and which i am not sure why i agreed to do, but, i did it. and figment took a shine to me in a big way. he was sad and scrawny, with terrible ringworm, and all he wanted to do was to climb up my arms and sit on my shoulders like a parrot. every week i hoped he would be adopted. `he’s sweet, he’s young, i’m sure someone will have adopted him!’ i would say. but no one did, and the saintly saint-francis-y cat ladies talked me into adopting him myself. `it’ll be beautiful!’ `but, i already have two cats—and they’re litter mates, and they’re bros, and they’re older, and we all live together in a kind of magical world of love and cuddles and harmony—i’m not sure if i should disturb the equilibrium—‘ `oh, but he loves you. and he gets along with the cats here!’ `true….’ thus, figment. thus, i let myself imagine that things would go smoothly. things would be compelled to! by the laws of love and harmony!
fig had to spend the first month or so in quarantine because of his ringworm. and you’re supposed to keep cats isolated when you introduce them to a new home anyway—(i have read so much cat advice since i adopted figment!)—but figment didn’t quite serve out his full term in isolation because he escaped. of course he did! and since his escape, i’ve gone through distinct Stages. i have read lots of cat advice, and tried lots of things, but i have only recently arrived at Acceptance. (which sounds more positive than `Resignation’, which is what i’ve been calling it in my head.) i guess my other cats have gone through stages too—one of them resigned himself long before i did and has long suffered himself to be cuddled by figment. but the other one just hates him. and figment hates him right back! they can usually keep it together these days—but about once a week one or the other rediscovers his hatred and hissing and mayhem ensue.
figment himself has turned out to be about twice the size he was when i adopted him. (i thought he was just a small cat! but i guess he went through some hard times before he ended up at the cat shelter.) and he’s still crazy about me. i’m glad Resignation has set in. for a few weeks there i felt like i was incompetent or dirty or something and the only thing to do was to give figment back, i felt like it wasn’t compatible with adult respectability to have a surly cat who has a tendency to think outside the box. that delusion passed. i do what the cat books say—and the cat books all say that there isn’t any such thing as a `bad’ cat, because cats don’t willfully misbehave—all right, point taken—but surely it’s possible to end up with a `bad’ cat in the sense of `uh i think i got a lemon.’ (in the sense: `my cat is so contrary to all this received cat wisdom that i think it must be statistically significant…’) (or: ‘hmmm. perhaps there was a reason that this cat was abandoned….’) and now i just stock up on the nature’s miracle and remind myself that the ship of adult respectability has long since sailed and passed me by! (titanic, fare thee well.)
‘figment’s a good cat.’ `no he’s not!’ `well, he means well.’ `i’m not even sure if that’s true!’ ‘okay, well, he’s really soft.’