Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Here kitty, kitty

For the most part, my friends don't think I like cats. But, in fact, I do.

I just have a sordid history with cats. We grew up with all sorts of animals in my family and I enjoyed them all. Unless they did something horrendous to me. And, frankly, the cats we owned did a whole lot of horrendous things.

Two cats I remember clearly were: Kitty Callahan, named after a great-grandmother, and O.J., named for the color of orange juice. Kitty Callahan was a wild thing. Literally. It came out of the tall grass in an empty filed behind the grocery store. I was very young when it showed up to our house. And O.J. was basically pilfered from our next door neighbor. She tried to get her back by calling her name loudly from her front door (which wasn't O.J., but something sweet and fluffy I don't recall), but we fought back with big, huge, overflowing bowls of cat food. At the same time that we had these cats, we also had a dog. So, picture if you can, five wild kids, all under the age of twelve and a dog that just naturally chases cats. Pretty lame life for the cats, I know.

Now, when I was very young (Kitty Callahan pretty much ruled the roost at this point), I didn't like going to sleep with my bedroom door closed all the way. So, in the middle of the night, K. Callahan would tip toe on her little paws into my room and cozy on down at the end of my bed. That would have been fine, if she'd just slept there. But, anytime I would shift my legs or feet (which I was prone to do: I was an extremely squiggly sleeper as a kid), she took it upon herself to attack me with full claws out. Those dang claws dug into my feet and my legs no matter how slowly or how quickly I tried to get away. I would drag myself, very sloooowwwllly to the light switch, all the while she's jumping up in the air and landing, claws out and sharpened, onto my legs....I'm crying and whispering, "stop it! stop it!" and I finally make it to the light, my legs pulled up to my knees and it stops. Now, the light is shining down on us and she's sitting up straight, glaring at me with those glassy eyes, licking her lips and just baiting me to try and run out of the room. 'Cuz, really, where am I gonna go? It's the middle of the night, everyone else is asleep, in their closed-door bedrooms. I can't pick her up, she'll attack me. I can't chase her out of the room, she'll just run and hide under my bed. Night after night, I was screwed.

During the day, I felt pretty safe. I had all my siblings around who kept her busy with cat toys and belly scritches. Except this one day: I'd been practicing the plastic flute and wanted to show my brothers and sisters how good I'd gotten on this high-pitched little toy. I remember it so clearly, like it was yesterday. I was standing in the kitchen, all prepped to play, everyone was watching me, waiting to hear the first strains of some tune I hadn't named....and I started in. High screeches of unknown chords came squeaking out! Behind me, in the living room, on a side table, was Kitty Callahan. She was sitting there on her hind legs, her eyes half closed, and seemed to be enjoying it as much as the rest of us. Suddenly, she leapt like a cougar right onto my leg! She wrapped all four of her little legs all the way around my calf and dug those damn claws deep into my flesh! I dropped my little flute and screamed bloody murder, all the while my leg is straight out from my body, trying to shake this monster off of me! It took at least three hard shakes to get her to unfurl her claws and do a drop and run. Of course she didn't stick around to see how I was. And my brothers and sisters were laughing so hard I'm not sure they could have even blurted out a, "hey, you okay, molly?" Truly, they were doubled over in laughter, while I was doubled over in pain.

I've never lived with cats since then. But the ironic thing is, I babysit a lot of friend's cats. I like them well enough, but I never quite trust them. Problem is, they all have claws, and I never quite know what's gonna set them off.

*Thank you to Natatlie Dee, for her funny, funny comics and for getting it just right.


Christina said...

just for the record Jack would never do that to you. he likes you, he's just not sure how you feel about him yet.

Kaari Marie said...

johnny and boots like you too. sofia was wondering why johnny wasn't mentioned in this wonderful cat tale???

molly said...

and, i love jack, and i love boots, and i love johnny. i think you ladies misunderstood: I LIKE CATS! i didn't mention jack, boots or johnny cuz they're the coolest cats i know...and this tale was about a not so cool cat. dig?

Kaari Marie said...

"Who would believe such pleasure from a wee ball o' fur?"
-irish farmer

Ellen Zachos said...

I'm still laughing. Cats used to terrify me when I was little and now look at me. Wrapped around Sisko's little paw.

Christina said...

got it! i guess the first line of your post was true. anyway i explained it all to Jack and he said he wasn't ever worried you didn't like him, especailly after last friday night. phew. glad we got that one straightend out!

Anonymous said...

I wish I knew how to send you the photo of Kitty Callahan, to post here. Remember how he's sitting on that high chair, leaning his "elbow" on the table and looking like a drunken sailor!!