Dignity, Always Dignity


My typical weekday begins with Ling yelling at me as I stumble blearily into the kitchen. She’s currently our oldest cat, and she’s on a special diet to fatten her up. I scoop some food out of a can, mix it with a splash of hot water, and try to set it down before she knocks it out of my hands. As soon as she’s done eating she trots after me and attempts to crawl into my cereal bowl.

I’m used to this, and if I fail to accept it with good grace I at least refrain from throwing her out. Her previous family tossed her into the snow and moved away, and while I would do anything to avoid having her butt in my face while I’m eating — well, like Meatloaf, I won’t do that. Besides, I’m not packing all my crap just to avoid a cat.

It helps that the other cats are usually still too groggy to join in the ritual begging. Wyeth tends to stay in bed after making sure Wendi gets up, and Bogart likes to savor his final moments of owning Wendi’s chair before she reclaims it for the morning. This leaves me with only one furry adversary taking advantage of my pre-caffeinated stupor. Once in a great while one of the boys breaks routine, and I have to balance cereal or coffee while playing a dangerous game of “Guess Where The Large One Will Step”. Even more rarely, and never with any warning,  I’m treated to a brand new game.

This week’s novel entertainment was brought to me by Bogart and the letters ‘P’ and ‘J’.

Bogart decided to get up while I was making my toast, and he checked on the dry food bowls. The bottom of one was visible through the kibble, which always sends him into a panic. He followed me to the refrigerator for butter and jam, winding around my legs. He tried again on my way back to the toaster, incredulous that I still wasn’t feeding him. As I pulled out the toast, he lost all patience and reached up to poke me.

When the nail trimmers come out Bogart turns into a free-roaming Cuisinart. We’ve come to a truce with him; in exchange for leaving the furniture unscathed, we make no attempt on his claws. The other cats aren’t happy with this special arrangement, but they don’t have Bogart’s strong bargaining position.

Bogart reached up and poked me in the seat of my pajamas. A claw stuck in the fabric, and he tried to pull it free. Having learned never to use my own hands to help free a claw, I lowered myself to give him a better angle to release himself. He responded by flopping on his side. My pajamas went with him, and the little bastard lay there purring in my pants. I buttered my toast in shame, defeated by a critter 1/20th of my size.

At least Wyeth wasn’t up.

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