Friday, March 06, 2009

Survival of the kindness or How to stop a Fracas

Fracas : to argue, a brawl.

This was probably not the smartest thing to name our cat.
I am a dog person. There was one notable exception in my history with cats, a calico named Celimene who would sit on my shoulder while I weeded or picked vegetables (yes, I really used to weed and pick). She was an amazing cat. She proved the nine lives theory to be true as she was always coming close to death and then making a dramatic comeback. Once, I even found her surrounded by buzzards and was told by two vets that we should put her down but the third vet knew cat-acupuncture and she was brought back from the brink, yet again! Should I now assume that I have told this story nine times and lay it to rest? O.K.

I am a dog person who likes big, mostly barkless dogs. We always had german shepards growing up so I like them a lot but then there are the many fantastic mutts, like this one we've had for seven years.

Ah. Tuki! This is her favorite post, hips on the platform of our deck, front feet on the second step, waiting for Larry, the bachelor down the street, to take his daily walk. She always keeps both his house and ours in her vision. She is getting older now and usually barks at Larry (and at us) for a minute until, having come right upon us, she realizes that we are indeed from one of her two true family loves and wags her tail in embarrassment. This just makes her more adorable.

But cats? I'm discovering, yet again, that except for Celimene (and those cats that I visit in other people's home, where they do the litter cleaning) I am not a cat person. I want to be one. I want to be the kind of generous person who can take in all the needy children and animals. Unfortunaely, I can only keep up with the few.

Over a year ago, Fracas just showed up. She looked exactly like my mother's cat (the original Fracas) and was very sweet and lived happily outside. A year later it was brought to my unobservant attention that she has no front claws and should really be an indoor cat. We bought a litter box. For several months now, I have been waking up throughout the night to the sound of the Fracas derby - lots of running, lego batting, fierce thudding of her entire side and even of her spray (she is spayed, what's with the spraying?) against the walls. In our house, there is no getting away from this sound. Ear plugs could be an option but that wouldn't solve the other issues - that she walks on my head in the night and spreads her litter, deliberately, with her paw, all over the ground.

So, as of an hour ago, I have stopped fighting Nicolas' pleas to put her outside. She lived outside, happily, for a year. She is a survivor. The theory is that with the added hours of sleep and the reduced wall and floor cleaning, my kindness will remain intact. But I am feeling seriously challenged by the guilt, and by her unbelievably cute self through the window pane.

Later: She got back into the house in the night (after getting back in and hanging out with Nicolas and I for a while before that too). I am not the cold-hearted cat hater I want to be. I will learn to cat nap.

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