I can’t buh-lieve it’s been three and a half years since I innerviewed my first cat. His name was Mr. Bugatti, an I was Extremely Nervous to meet him. I remembered that my daddy, a wise old dog, once told me that facing a challenge builds CHARACTER. So I faced it (nervously), an now that I’ve innerviewed quite a few felines, I ree-lize he was right. We’re all the same under the fur anyway, right?
So, this week, I had a fun yap-meow with a coupla rescue cats, Tiggy an Punkin Carson, who live with their Mom an Dad, Debbie and Keith, an their liddle human sisters, Megan an Paige.
Tiggy’s about 7, with short, several-shades-of-dark hair. He’s Really Big, too. He strolled right up for the feline version of the Wag-an-Sniff: the Haughty Sniff-an-Size Up. Punkin sized me up from the security of his Mom’s arms. He’s a liddle Himalayan, long, fluffy fur, round eyes, Real Old (13 in human, so, about, I think, something like, maybe 70ish in cat). An he can scrunch his fluffy liddle face into a Piercing Gaze or a Big Grumpy Glare, even though he’s not grumpy.
“I’m the Spokescat, Mr. Bonzo,” Tiggy said as we got situated in the living room. “Punkin’s a liddle more chill than me. Well, a LOT more. I, basically, rule the house.”
“He THINKS he rules the house,” said Punkin.
“How did you fellas get here?” I asked.
“Mom an Dad were workin’ in Tampa an a human who worked with ’em rescued me from Dire Straits in 2006,” said Punkin, from a nearby, inconspicuous location. “But I hadda be re-rescued cuz that human’s Resident Cat didn’t want any other animal in HIS SPACE. EVER. He instantly disliked me with the burning hot dislike of a thousand suns, and he pounced on me at every opportunity. I’m pretty sure he took at least 4 of my 9 lives. Maybe 5. So Mom an Dad’s co-worker bee-SEECHED them to re-rescue me. Thank Bastet, they did.”
“Soggy Dog Biscuits!” I blurted sympathetically. “How AWFUL!” (Soon as I returned to the office, I Googled Bastet. She was an ancient Egyptian cat goddess.)
“The soggiest,” Punkin agreed. “Mom an Dad already had a cat, Sneakers. We got along fine but, in 2012, after we had moved here, Sneakers went to Cat Heaven. I was dismal, so Mom an Dad went looking for another rescue cat for me.”
“o-KAY! o-KAY!” Tiggy piped up. “I’ll take it from here.”
“Go for it, Spokescat,” Punkin said.
“OK, so, first, my full name is Itty Bitty Iggy Tiggy.”
“Are you woofin’ me right now?”
“’Fraid not. But I only get called that when Mom is PEEVED.
“Anyway, when Mom an Dad were lookin’ for a friend for Punkin, I was livin’ at the Humane Society. Me an some other kittens were out front cuz of bein’ super cute, an Mom an Dad fell in love with me in about two seconds. After we spent time together in the Get-To-Know-Each-Other room, where Mom brushed me with a special brush, I got adopted. (I still have that brush an I still love it.)
“Me an Punkin got innerduced through the screen door at first, an we practiced the Haughty-Sniff-an-Size Up. It didn’t take long before we got to know each other. Now we’re Cool Catnip. We hang out on the sofa, stuff like that. But, occasionally, I do kinda Fall Outta My Tree, if you know what I mean.”
“I think I do,” I said with a gulp. With several cat acquaintances, I am familiar with The Zoomies, a feline phenomenon that can make us pooches a liddle edgy.
Tiggy continued. “Usually in the middle of the night, I’ll go galloping around the house, I don’t know why. An my voice gets all weird. Mom says I sound like a demented peacock. Scary.”
“Whaddya you guys do for fun?” I inquired.
“When Megan was liddle, I usta be her Baby Pillow. An we’d play Pattypaw. That was fun. I love playin’ with liddle kids. Now that Paige has started walkin,’ a lotta fun stuff that usta be on the floor is way up off the ground.
“Since we’re Total House Cats, we NEVER go Outside, but we spend lotsa time on the porch. I usta chase flies. Never caught one, though. I also chase squirrels through the screen. I usually bump my nose cuz I forget they’re outside an we’re inside, which is kinda embarrassin,’ bein’ a cat an all.
“Truth be told, Bonz, sometime it’s exhausting, bein’a cat. All that purrin’ an groomin.’ I don’t know whether you know this: us cats are ALWAYS s’pose to look like we know what we’re doing. Paragraph 16B, Cat Code of Behavior, for Garfield’s sake. Not like you pooches (no offense) who can go tumblin’ around, bumpin’ into stuff and lookin’ goofy all day long and humans think you’re cute. Us cats have a reputation to uphold.
“I totally hear ya, Tig,” I said. “I never thought of it that way. It must be quite a burden.”
“You bet your Hairball Greenies it is! Now Punkin, HE has that Aloof Cat Look. And he’s a total Purr-Meister. Sounds like a motorboat. He purrs so much he drools. Me, when I’m watching the mockingbirds in that bush out front, I chirp. I CHOOSE to chirp. I’m just not into purring.”
Heading home, I was thinking about the Cat Code, and feIt I could put myself in Tiggy’s paws: being a columnist an in the public eye a lot, I, too, have to conduct myself with a certain amount of decorum. I can’t just scratch any ol’ itch whenever I want. I can’t just go all puppy when I’m out in public. But after work I’m plain ol’ Bonzo. I couldn’t wait to get home and start munching on a Pupperoni, and maybe get a nice tummy rub.
Till next time,