Last month, after more than three years of courtship, W. moved into my apartment. The problem is, we both have a cat. Where her mouser is a mild-mannered male calico mix named Simba, mine is a crazy, cross-eyed, Siamese female named Aunt Suzy.
As far as cats go, Simba is as good as it gets. Aunt Suzy, however, is something else. And she's not reacting well to the addition of a male feline into a domain that has belonged to only her for more than a decade.
So she has taken to pissing.
First, Suzy began urinating on the living room throw rug we had over the hardwood flooring. She did it so often we abandoned the idea of having throw rugs. With no more rugs to defile, Suzy micturated on any fabric that was left on the floor. Like, if you came home from a long night of bartending and just climbed out of your clothes and left them at the foot of the bed, Suzy would locate that article and leave a gift. So, we stopped leaving things on the floor. However, with no rugs or articles of clothing to pollute, she pulled the sliding closet door open with her claws and deflowered the towels that were on the bottom shelf. So we blockaded the closet door.
It was as if each adjustment we made only served to make her angrier and more and more bent on finding an even crueler place to deposit her residuum.
Yesterday, the Brother (who lives next door and does not own a cat) stormed over my house holding a hiking shoe in his left hand. “Smell it!” he said.
“Smell my shoe!” he demanded, eyes glaring. I knew he meant business. I took a slight whiff and instantly gagged on the putrid ammonium spewing from the opening like sewer locusts swarming up from a manhole cover.
“Somebody's gonna have to take that cat for a ride,” he spat and stormed off.
According to Encyclopedia Encarta, today's housecat (felis catus) is a descendant of a species of African wildcat called the Kaffir. The Kaffir cat was bred and domesticated by the ancient Egyptians circa 2500 B.C. to drive out the rodents and snakes that plagued the territory. The Egyptians loved their cats, considered them sacred animals and even had a Goddess assigned to them. Her name was Bastet and she had the body of a woman and the head of a lynx.
It wasn't until the Middle Ages that cats were finally treated with the contempt they had always deserved. Because of their peculiar nocturnal habits, they were believed to be in concert with the devil and were routinely tortured or butchered or lightly seasoned and pan fried-and I'm sitting here reading this information wondering what kind of cheese would go well in a Suzy asada burrito. W. and I have been living in a nightmarish litter box. Making daily trips to the laundry room with contaminated articles of clothing. Fighting off the noxious smog with all the latest anti-piss, repellent, protector, deodorizing, spray, pump technologies. Forced to perform an involved series of precautions before going to bed each night:
“Everything off the floor?”
“Shoes in the closet?”
“Check,” then switch off the light and snuggle in together, hoping against hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
Bizarre dreams then: I dreamt I was Pharaoh Khufu of the 3rd Dynasty. I was sitting on my throne, contemplating where to put the next pyramid, when Bastet, the Bronze Goddess of Cats, came unto me. “You must breed wildcats for domestication,” she said.
“But these beasts are filthy,” I said. “They make to froth in places where no beast should froth.”
“Bah!” the goddess bah'ed. “Do my bidding.”
“But they consort with the devil.” I added.
“Pish!” pished the goddess. “Do not defy me!”
“They have claws so sharp, they could slice a man in half and deposit a dead bird in his belly.”
“Repent, blasphemer!” she shouted, and anointed me with holy water from the Fountain of Isis: warm soothing water, all warmy warm from the hallowed heated fountain of lukewarm warmth... and my eyelids suddenly leap open. Confusion at first. Then I see her-the Terrible Secreting Sphinx-on the bed, scratching and acting peculiar. I feel the foul wetness of Aunt Suzy's felony seeping through the blankets and defiling my very soul.
“Why must you torture me, Bastet!” I scream, throwing off disgusting damp blankets in a rage.
And I am no longer me. The angst and the fury have morphed me into a different creature. Now I am Menthu, the hawk-headed Egyptian god of war, and I am flying through the air, talons extended, toward the terrible Sphinx beast. She sees me, releases a piercing screech, and leaps off the bed. I toss off the covers and swoop into the sitting room seeking to destroy she who makes to pee on all the places that pee should not be.
I see her shivering behind the couch. I'm diving in, seizing the cat with angry claws, tugging and tearing her into pieces with my beak and talons, turning her into a bloody mass of flesh and fur as Simba and W. cheer me on.
Writer's note: As much as I wanted to, I did not actually shred Suzy into Asada bits-meaning, the problem continues. So, please, please, please, please, please, send any feline potty-training tips to email@example.com. I beg of you, please. No joke. Can't live like this.