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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Living with a Cat

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We have had our adopted Mexican street cat, Felix, for a month now.

“Has he bulked out?” I asked my husband, Peter, as we watched Felix, standing on his back legs and walloping the tattered mouse hanging from his sisal scratching post. Felix looked like a boxer, beating the remaining stuffing out of his helpless little toy mouse. Bits of fur and mouse innards were strewn around the kitchen. But the carnage was not limited to the kitchen.

Living with a cat, you start to eye gravity with suspicion. Small items that appeared to be securely in place must be scrutinized, as if living under the imminent threat of a major earthquake. Living with a cat is like living in a spaceship. Items cannot be expected to remain where they are put. Everything needs to be put inside something else to prevent it from floating away or, more accurately, being batted around the house at 3 a.m.

The sink stopper is missing. The spare tip to Peter’s hiking pole has mysteriously disappeared. Socks appear in surprising locations.

“What happened to my cough drops?” I asked Peter.

I keep a little bowl of cough drops on my bedside table. While all of Peter’s possessions were knocked to the ground in a perfunctory manner in the first few days of Felix taking residence, I was feeling somewhat smug because my personal items remained untouched. Until yesterday. There were cough drops beside the bed, under the bed, under the nightstand and under my desk in the next room.

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But all of this is small potatoes compared to the screen door.

Peter and I returned from a birthday party to discover our little El Chapo had made an escape through the screen door. We examined the cat-sized hole in horror.

“Where is he?” Peter asked.

“No idea!”

I scanned the tiny balcony outside the screen door. No Felix. We searched the apartment. We grabbed flashlights and headed outside. Our balcony is on the third floor, facing a courtyard. We could not imagine Felix could have leapt to the stairwell from the balcony—but what did we know? We never thought he could make it through the screen door.

We searched the courtyard in the dark, filled with potted plants and tables and chairs and a million places for a small cat to hide. No Felix.

I went back into the apartment, just in time to see Felix walking through what remained of the screen door.

“Where were you?!”

Felix waltzed in, appeared pleased to see us, and we closed the glass door behind him. The next morning, we confessed our cat’s evil deed to Jorge, our landlord, who found it very amusing, and sent a man out to replace the screen the next day.

“Can you make it strong?” I asked the repairman.

“I will make it stronger than the door!” he replied, which did not make sense to me, but I’m used to things not making perfect sense in Spanish.

The door arrived, and it was made of a fine steel mesh. It would have worked wonders at Alcatraz. Felix tried it, found it solid, and lost interest. Then he began begging for tuna.

“You are not negotiating from a position of strength!” Peter informed him.

I laughed because Felix is going to keep getting his tuna snacks, and Peter and I are going to continue tucking all our belongings into drawers, and Felix is going to remain convinced that we are the luckiest two people on Earth because we get to live with him.

And he’s right, of course.

Till next time,

Carrie

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